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.

4 March 2019

This report from the FAO reviews the state of ‘biodiversity for food and agriculture’, i.e. any biodiversity that contributes in some way to food production. It finds that 26% of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction. Crop diversity is declining, with only 9 crop species accounting for 66% of crop production. One third of fish stocks are overfished, and a further 60% are being fished at their maximum sustainable capacity.

Image: marissat1330, Italy vineyard grapes, Pixabay, Pixabay licence
4 March 2019

Research literature, policy indicators, and assessment tools use many different variables to assess sustainable agricultural land systems in Europe (for example soil loss, landscape diversity and food quality). Out of 239 of these variables identified in this paper, 32 have been covered by all three perspectives (i.e. research, policy and practice) while the remainder have only been considered by one or two perspectives.

Image: Neil Palmer (CIAT), 2DU Kenya 92, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
4 March 2019

Climate mitigation policies rarely account for the time lags associated with land-based greenhouse gas mitigation policies such as reforestation, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or reduction of agricultural emissions, argues this paper, making it unlikely that commitments under the Paris Agreement will be met.

Image: USAF, AEHF (Advanced Extremely High Frequency) Satellite, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
26 February 2019

The 2019 Green Alliance Annual Debate discusses the ways in which earth observation and data science can improve our understanding of and ability to address environmental issues - for example, monitoring deforestation or water levels in reservoirs in real time through satellite images.

26 February 2019

This book explores how climate change will affect food security and availability, and outlines ways of adapting agriculture to cope under a different climate.

26 February 2019

This booklet, by FCRN member Imke de Boer, sets out the scientific basis for the 2018 Mansholt lecture by Louise Fresco, President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board. The lecture discussed how the concept of circularity can be applied to agricultural production.

26 February 2019

The National Farmers’ Union, which represents agriculture and horticulture in England and Wales, reports on the trends that might influence food production, diets and food retail in the UK over the next two decades, including edible insects, robots, vertical farming and nanoencapsulation.

26 February 2019

This report, originally published in French by policy research institute IDDRI and translated to English by the UK organic charity Soil Association, models the impacts of the European farming system transitioning to agroecological principles.

26 February 2019

This report from the UK think-tank Chatham House explores the challenges of scaling up production and consumption of realistic plant-based meat replacements and laboratory-grown meat, both of which are intended to be indistinguishable from meat.

Image: PublicDomainImages, Soil tilling farmer, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
26 February 2019

This paper uses long-term studies from Europe and China to examine the effects on soil quality of organic matter addition, no-till practices, crop rotation and organic farming. It finds that yields are lower under no-till and organic practices, but that these practices are associated with higher soil organic matter.

Image: Oregon State University, A mature grass plant is composed of leaves, a root system, stems and a seed head, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
19 February 2019

This commentary in Nature Sustainability discusses governance and initiatives for conserving and increasing soil organic carbon. Through a multi-stakeholder discussion group, the authors developed a global agenda for action on soil organic carbon.

Image: Illuvis, Moth Lepidoptera, Pixabay, Pixabay License
19 February 2019

Over 40% of insect species are at risk of extinction over the next few decades and 75% to 98% of insect biomass has already been lost, according to this review of the current state of knowledge about insect declines, with habitat loss through conversion to intensive agriculture being the main driver. Agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change are also driving insect declines.

Image: Max Pixel, Bee bees honey, CC0 Public Domain
18 February 2019

Students at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have created a machine learning algorithm to automatically count Varroa mites in beehives. The algorithm could help beekeepers monitor bee health more quickly and accurately.

18 February 2019

This book discusses options for sustainable weed control for a variety of crops. Topics covered include the impacts of herbicides on people, soils and ecosystems, integrated weed management, and herbicide resistance.

18 February 2019

This book, by William D. Schanbacher, addresses ethical issues around access to food, outlines how the global food system works, and offers suggestions on how people can engage their communities and learn more about the foods they eat.

18 February 2019

This report from The Climate Coalition (a UK-based association of organisations with an interest in climate change) outlines how production of fruit and vegetables in the UK is threatened by extreme weather events made more likely by climate change.

18 February 2019

This report from IPES Food argues for a new approach to governing food systems in Europe, where sustainability goals are integrated across policies for different sectors, including agriculture, trade, food safety, environment and research.

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