Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Agricultural innovation

Image: Francish7, Tasty seasonal African Plums - known locally as Safu - in Basankusu, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
26 May 2018

A recent paper by FCRN member Roger Leakey of the International Tree Foundation explores the possibility of smallholder farms in Africa using trees and indigenous crops to provide many environmental, social and economic benefits.

15 May 2018

The Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) has launched a weekly review of food sustainability news, as well as fortnightly in-depth analyses of specific themes such as women farmers and global water management.

Image: Mali Maeder, Red Meat With Chili Pepper and Green Spies, Pexels, Creative Commons CC0
15 May 2018

Creating realistic 3D structure for laboratory-grown meat has been a technical challenge, partly because of the difficulty in getting oxygen to the cells in the middle of a piece of cultured tissue. However, Israeli startup Aleph Farms says it may have the solution.

15 May 2018

The book “Agricultural Development and Sustainable Intensification: Technology and Policy Challenges in the Face of Climate Change”, edited by Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, examines different approaches to sustainable intensification and presents case studies from around the world.

15 May 2018

FCRN member Gary Bentrup, of the USDA National Agroforestry Centre, has co-authored a report on how agroforestry can be used to help agriculture both mitigate and adapt to climate change. The report defines agroforestry as “the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into crop and animal production systems”, which it further categorises into silvopasture, alley cropping, forest farming (or multi-storey cropping), windbreaks and riparian forest buffers. Topics covered include ecosystems services provided by agroforestry, the relationship of agroforestry to greenhouse gas emissions, economic and sociocultural considerations and an overview of agroforestry in different US regions, Canada and Mexico.

9 May 2018

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are developing edible plant cell cultures. They hope that cell cultures of plants such as cloudberry, lingonberry and strawberry could provide health benefits when the conventionally-grown berries are out-of-season or expensive to import. The researchers have experimented with blending the cells into a “jam” to release the flavour, and have designed a prototype of a bioreactor that could be used in the home.

30 April 2018

The Nature Friendly Farming Network connects farmers who want to farm sustainably and seek positive changes in policy. You can sign up for newsletter from the network: join as a farmer here, or as a member of the public here.

Image: Kimberly Vardeman, Cotton Harvest, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
30 April 2018

Several companies are using microbes to improve crop performance. One of them is Indigo, which uses machine learning to identify the microbes associated with healthy plants and then coats seedlings with these microbes. Indigo’s method has increased wheat yields by 15% and cotton yields by 14% in trials.

Image: A C Moraes, Gado, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
30 April 2018

FCRN member Erasmus zu Ermgassen of the University of Cambridge has surveyed six NGO initiatives that are promoting sustainable cattle ranching in the Brazilian Amazon by using intensified pasture production to avoid deforestation. He finds that high-productivity cattle ranching is possible, requiring investment of US$410–2180/ha with payback times of 2.5–8.5 years. However, several barriers exist, including knowledge transfer, financial support and transparency in cattle supply chains.

Image: Raffa be, Seawater Greenhouse in Tenerife two years after being installed, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
24 April 2018

Wired explores the Seawater Greenhouse, which uses solar power to desalinate seawater for irrigating greenhouses, and inventor Charlie Paton’s quest to bring the technology to regions suffering drought and food insecurity.

24 April 2018

This book, edited by Fabien Girard and Christine Frison, shows how innovative legal frameworks could better support the need for diversity in crop varieties while maintaining incentives for agricultural innovation, with a particular focus on the concept of the commons.

24 April 2018

A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine summarises a webinar and workshop that addressed the current state of knowledge on managing land to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the research needed for predicting the relevant impacts of land use change and management practices and the state of knowledge on policies, incentives, and socio-economic constraints on terrestrial carbon sequestration activities.

10 April 2018

A information site about clean meat and cellular agriculture has been launched by the Cellular Agriculture Society. It discusses applications of cellular agriculture including lab-grown meat, leather and silk and introduces terminology such as “neomnivore”, i.e. a person who only eats cellular agriculture products.

Image: Ruth Hartnup, Smoked salmon, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
10 April 2018

Start-up Wild Type have raised $3.5 million towards the development of a platform and set of technologies that they hope could allow any type of meat to be cultured in the laboratory.

10 April 2018

This book, by agronomist and political scientist Marie-Hélène Schwoob, provides a multidisciplinary overview of China’s farming and food issues and presents the results of the author’s fieldwork.

Image: Winniepix, The ploughing match-19.jpg, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
10 April 2018

This article evaluates the “4 per 1000” initiative’s potential to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) by assessing 16 long-term soil experiments conducted by the UK based Rothamsted Research, involving 114 different soil treatments (including addition of farmyard manure (FYM), nitrogen fertilisers, pasture leys, conversion of arable land into woodland and residue incorporation) over 7–157 years.

Image: kaibara87, Cell Culture in a tiny Petri dish, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
10 April 2018

Cultured meat, also known as in vitro, clean, lab-grown or synthetic meat, is meat grown as muscle tissue in the laboratory. This paper reviews the state of cultured meat technology, analyses social concerns and examines some of the issues that start-ups in the industry face.

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