Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Issues

Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.

Image: Pixnio, Hen poultry bird, Public domain
16 April 2019

This paper traces mass, energy flows and emissions in the beef, poultry and pork supply chains in Germany (including all emissions from the animal production stages, and emissions from energy use at subsequent stages). It outlines the potential of different strategies to reduce consumption-based emissions. It finds that the greatest emissions reductions could come from dietary change, i.e. replacing some meat consumption with consumption of soybeans and nuts, or replacing some meat consumption with offal consumption.

Image: Charles Knowles, Eastern Washington wheat harvest, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
16 April 2019

This paper reviews studies where changes in both productivity and species richness have been tracked at the same location, following changes in the intensity of land use. On average, intensifying land use leads to a 20% gain in output and a 9% decrease in species richness, but there is considerable variation between different contexts.

8 April 2019

Cellular Agriculture UK - a hub for the cultured meat sector in the UK - has created a database of people who are based in the UK and who have a professional interest in cellular agriculture.

8 April 2019

Former FCRN volunteer Milorad Plavsic now works at the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), part of UK Research and Innovation. He has provided some information for FCRN readers on the funding opportunities available through the GCRF.

8 April 2019

In this Food Talk podcast by US think-tank Food Tank, Dr. Mariame Maiga (Regional Gender and Social Development Advisor for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development) discusses the role that gender plays in agricultural and sustainable development.

Image: Alasdair MacDonald, Wet peat land, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
8 April 2019

Schools strike climate activist Greta Thunberg, along with several scientists, authors and campaigners, has called for “natural climate solutions” to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss simultaneously.

8 April 2019

This book, edited by Mette Vaarst and Stephen Roderick, reviews key challenges and solutions in improving the health and welfare of organic farm animals, including case studies from organic farming of dairy and beef cattle, sheep and goats, pig and poultry.

8 April 2019

This report from the UK’s Office for National Statistics estimates the value of ten ecosystems services provided by natural capital in Scotland. Information on agricultural biomass (including fish capture) and carbon sequestration may be of particular interest to FCRN readers.

8 April 2019

This short guide by the UK food and farming alliance Sustain offers advice on drafting and delivering local food poverty action plans. The guide discusses several case studies from around the UK.

8 April 2019

This policy briefing from EU food waste research project REFRESH outlines how ‘Voluntary Agreements’ between stakeholders throughout the supply chain can be used to reduce food waste, and makes policy suggestions to favour the creation of such agreements.

Image: Виталий Смолыгин, Structure of DNA, Public Domain Pictures, CC0 Public Domain
8 April 2019

This perspective piece argues that new plant breeding technologies such as CRISPR-Cas could contribute to global food security and poverty reduction by increasing agricultural yields and smallholder incomes. The authors note that careful regulation, field testing and communication will be necessary for successful implementation, along with royalty-free access for smallholders.

Image: Jing, Soybeans Beans Soy, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
8 April 2019

This commentary argues that the recent imposition of trade tariffs between China and the United States could lead to increased tropical deforestation as other suppliers make up for the 50% fall in exports of soybeans from the US to China seen during 2018.

Image: NASA, Deforestation in the state of Rondônia in western Brazil, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
8 April 2019

Around 15% of the carbon dioxide emissions from food consumption in the European Union are due to deforestation, according to this paper, which traces the links between final consumers and the expansion of agriculture (including both crops and pasture) and tree plantations into tropical forests. Depending on the model used, 29% to 39% of tropical deforestation emissions were attributed to the production of goods for export.

Image: Mercedes, Crunchy Romaine Lettuce, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
1 April 2019

This blog post in Foodprint (part of US food advocacy group GRACE Communications) explores how food safety scares and recalls can cause food waste. In addition to the disposal of contaminated food items, other items of the same type are often disposed of to be sure of removing all affected items. New supply chain traceability technologies could reduce the amount of food disposed of during recalls.

Image: Libreshot, Milk is poured into a glass, Public domain
1 April 2019

This feature in the UK’s Guardian newspaper examines the environmental implications of China’s promotion of milk consumption. Dairy consumption in China has grown from very little to around 30 kg per year within the last few decades, and government guidelines recommend that people triple their current dairy consumption.

1 April 2019

This open access book by Prabhu Pingali, Anaka Aiyar, Mathew Abraham and Andaleeb Rahman uses a food systems lens to explore issues of food security in India and to set policy goals for 2030 and 2050.

1 April 2019

This report by the US non-profit Environmental Working Group analyses pesticide residue data from the US Department of Agriculture. It concludes that around 70% of produce in the US is sold with pesticide residues, with particularly high levels in strawberries, spinach and kale and relatively low levels in avocados, sweetcorn and pineapples.

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