Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Global

While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

24 March 2020

UK food waste NGO Feedback has curated a list of recommended reading on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is linked to food systems, including the origins of the pandemic and the effects it is having on food supply chains. 

24 March 2020

This book provides technical information on food safety and quality in developing countries, using case studies of various types of food including spices, cassava, fruits and vegetables and beverages.

24 March 2020

This report from global network Future Earth identifies the risks perceived by scientists to be most likely to lead to a global systemic crisis. Most of the scientists interviewed mentioned at least four of the five following risks: food, climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss and water. 

Image: Marco Verch, Raw salmon fillets on dark background, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
24 March 2020

FCRN member Lukas Paul Fesenfeld has co-authored this paper, which surveys people from China, Germany and the United States to assess levels of public support for various types of policy aimed at reducing meat and fish consumption. It explores how “packaging” several policies together can increase acceptance among voters.

Image: Smaack, Members of an organic community supported agriculture farm near Rostock, Germany, support the farmer by plugging weeds from the beet root field, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
24 March 2020

FCRN member Hayo van der Werf has co-authored this perspective paper, which argues that current Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies tend to favour intensive farming systems and misrepresent organic and agroecological systems.

16 March 2020

Our World in Data has published this piece, which breaks down the extent to which the differences in carbon footprints of food categories can be attributed to methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas which has attracted controversy over how its climate impact is measured. 

16 March 2020

This e-book from the international climate nonprofit Project Drawdown reviews the world’s options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The top solutions related to food and land (see section 1.2 of the book) are reducing food waste, shifting to plant-rich diets, protecting ecosystems such as peatland and forests, and shifting agricultural practices (e.g. improving rice production).

10 March 2020

This book describes Lume, a method for analysing the economic and ecological impacts of agroecological farming systems. It includes a case study of family farms in a region of Brazil affected by droughts.

Image: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, An NRCS employee takes a soil sample on a farm that has incorporated many conservation practices to protect and enhance natural resources, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
10 March 2020

According to this meta-analysis of 60 studies, cover crops on agricultural land can increase soil microbial abundance, activity, and diversity relative to land left bare between crops, with the effect varying with climate and how the farm is managed (e.g. tilling). The paper does not discuss the extent to which this change in soil microbiome affects crop yields.

Image: smilingscot, A flooded office, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
10 March 2020

This paper sets out how far different sources of methane (both agricultural and non-agricultural) can be reduced by 2050, via technical changes. It argues that since methane accounts for about 40% of the warming effect of all greenhouse gases in the short term (because of its high Global Warming Potential but short atmospheric lifetime), reducing methane emissions is therefore useful for mitigating climate change between now and 2050.

Image: Mike Pennington, Forage crop for bees, Moss Side Farm, Rufford, Geograph, Creative commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
10 March 2020

This paper reviews initiatives for conserving insects and argues that they must be expanded globally to protect insect populations. It also argues that the value of insects to society must be better communicated to people, e.g. through focusing on the benefits of iconic insect species or particular landscapes. 

3 March 2020

This book examines a variety of regenerative farming systems, including agroecology, indigenous food systems, small-scale fisheries, food sharing, coffee micro-mills, foraging and reuse of food waste.

Image: Oregon State University, Microplastic, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
3 March 2020

Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic formed as larger pieces break down in the environment, or else intentionally manufactured (e.g. as microbeads for cleaning products or pellets for industrial use). This paper reviews the current state of knowledge on their human health implications and effects on ecosystems. 

Image: Iam Paterson, The seeds of flax are used to make linseed oil, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
3 March 2020

This paper reviews literature on the effects of environmental factors on the yields and nutritional qualities of fruit, nuts and seeds. In general, yields are expected to decrease under conditions of reduced water availability, higher ozone concentrations, temperatures above 28°C and higher water salinity. Berry and peanut yields respond positively to higher carbon dioxide levels, but this effect is reduced when temperatures also rise.

Image: cookbookman17, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
3 March 2020

This paper gives an overview of the potential public health impacts of dairy production and consumption across the globe. It notes that dairy production is projected to increase by a quarter between 2014 and 2025, driven by both a rising global population and increases in the amount of dairy consumed per person.

24 February 2020

This explainer from Carbon Brief outlines nine interlinked “tipping points” where climate warming could trigger an abrupt change. They include disintegration of ice sheets, changes in ocean circulation, thawing of permafrost, and dieback of ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest and coral reefs.

24 February 2020

This book addresses food waste from a variety of perspectives, including agriculture, food science, industrial ecology, history, economics, consumer behaviour, geography, theology, planning, sociology, and environmental policy.

24 February 2020

This report from the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development draws on the experiences of Brazil, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico and New Zealand to examine how land use policy can be aligned with climate, biodiversity and food objectives.

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