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.

17 June 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic, mitigation measures and the emerging global recession could cause food disruption on a scale not seen for more than half a century, according to this policy brief from the United Nations. The UN calls for large-scale coordinated action to protect health and nutrition.

17 June 2020

This systematic review examines the effects of anthropogenic land use change (such as deforestation, urbanisation and agricultural intensification) on the transmission of zoonotic diseases from mammals to humans. 

17 June 2020

This paper models how integrating crop production - specifically maize, wheat and rice - into global land restoration efforts could impact food security, carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. The paper’s scenarios look at how to achieve the Bonn Challenge, which is a global agreement to restore 350 million hectares of deforested or degraded land by 2030. 

9 June 2020

This working paper from the World Resources Institute compares the carbon footprint of dairy from 13 different countries and pork from 11 countries. It uses a carbon opportunity cost approach to carbon footprinting, i.e. it accounts for carbon that is not stored in vegetation or soils because the land is being used to produce dairy or pork. 

9 June 2020

This perspective piece assesses the technological readiness of a variety of food system innovations, such as artificial meat, drones and vertical farming. It also suggests eight ways in which food system innovation can be accelerated by incentives and regulation. 

27 May 2020

This paper finds that global cropland use could be almost halved while maintaining current output levels by optimising fertiliser inputs and re-allocating the production location of 16 major crops. Co-benefits would include reduced emissions from fertilisers and rice paddies, lower irrigation water requirements, and land being freed up for sequestering carbon through restoring natural vegetation.

26 May 2020

The international initiative Foresight4Food is offering several online resources on COVID-19, food systems and rural poverty.

26 May 2020

This book provides an overview of peatlands and their importance around the world, including chapters on peatland destruction and restoration projects.

19 May 2020

This blog post John Lynch of Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People programme asks whether we can keep farming cows and sheep without dangerously warming the planet. He points out that it is possible to maintain stable temperatures without eliminating methane emissions entirely (in contrast to CO2 where emissions have to fall to net zero to tackle climate change). However, ruminant methane emissions are currently increasing. Furthermore, ruminants use a lot of land, some of which could be used for other purposes that might sequester more carbon.

19 May 2020

The 2020 edition of the Global Nutrition Report uses the concept of nutrition equity to examine multiple forms of malnutrition, including undernutrition and obesity. The report stresses that poor diets and malnutrition are not simply the result of personal choices - rather, the problem is systemic, with the vast majority of people being unable to access or afford a healthy diet. It calls for coordinated action between stakeholders to build equitable, resilient and sustainable food and health systems.

12 May 2020

This book discusses long-term experiments in agriculture, including their history, the insights they have produced, and the relationship of the experiments to agriculture’s environmental and social implications.

12 May 2020

This book presents recent developments, trends and challenges in turning food waste into products such as biofuel, enzymes, biopolymers and animal feed. 

12 May 2020

This opinion paper calls for organisers of scientific meetings to adhere to 12 principles to minimise the environmental impacts of the meetings, as outlined in the Cercedilla Manifesto. The principles cover food, transport and careful planning of remote meetings so that they are effective for all participants. The paper emphasises that nitrogen pollution is an often-neglected aspect of food sustainability.

12 May 2020

This paper examines the effectiveness of different forms of ecological compensation schemes - i.e. offsetting biodiversity lost to developments such as oil palm plantations or mines - in achieving “No Net Loss” of biodiversity. Using simulations of four case studies, it finds that none of the 18 ecological compensation policy designs studied would achieve No Net Loss of native vegetation extent. 

5 May 2020

FCRN member Damian Maye of the University of Gloucestershire has put together a list of academic and non-academic resources on COVID-19 and sustainable food systems. It is organised into categories including agricultural labour, food access and security, local food networks, food waste and food system commentaries.

5 May 2020

This book examines the material properties and sustainability of various polymers that can be used for food packaging, such as bioplastics and edible food packaging.

5 May 2020

The 2020 edition of the Global Food Policy Report from the International Food Policy Research Institute looks at how to make food systems inclusive of smallholders, women, and people affected by poverty or conflict.

Pages