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.

Image: Solar Foods Pic 1, Solar Foods produces an entirely new kind of nutrient-rich protein using only air and electricity, https://solarfoods.fi/about/
12 November 2018

In a column for the Guardian, George Monbiot writes about the potential to create food without plants, animals or soil, using instead bacteria that feed on hydrogen (generated by solar-powered electrolysis of water) and carbon dioxide from the air. Monbiot argues that this form of food production could eventually drastically reduce the amount of land needed for the global food supply chain, and suggests that the new foodstuff could be used as an ingredient in processed foods.

12 November 2018

In the book The End of Animal Farming, author Jacy Reese examines the social forces, technologies and activism that he argues will lead to the end of animal agriculture.

12 November 2018

The Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research has produced an online compendium of methods for assessing agrobiodiversity, including diversity of crops, livestock, pollinators and harvested wild plants.

Image: Maia Valenzuela, translucent squid, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 November 2018

This paper assesses the possibility that cephalopods, such as squid, octopus and cuttlefish, could become a more important source of food in the future. In contrast to many fish population, cephalopod populations have been rising over the last few decades, possibly due to warmer ocean temperatures. The paper gives an overviews of the nutrients provided by cephalopods and the ways that they can be used as food. The authors also note that some cephalopods, including the octopus, are intelligent and possibly sentient, raising ethical issues over their use as food.

Image: Jon Sullivan, Fresh meat, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
12 November 2018

Optimal taxation levels would cause the price of processed meat to increase by 25% and the price of red meat to increase by 4%, on average, according to this paper. The calculations are based on the additional healthcare costs incurred by one additional serving, as opposed to the total healthcare costs associated with all meat consumption. The paper concludes that such a tax on red and processed meats could reduce the deaths associated with consumption of these products by 9% and reduce associated healthcare costs by 14%.

6 November 2018

The book “Food, Politics, and Society: Social Theory and the Modern Food System”, by Alejandro Colas, Jason Edwards, Jane Levi, and Sami Zubaida, surveys how social theory has shaped our understanding of the food system.

6 November 2018

WWF’s 2018 Living Planet Report finds that population sizes of thousands of vertebrate species have declined by 60%, on average, between 1970 and 2014, land degradation seriously impacts 75% of terrestrial ecosystems, and current species extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times higher than the background rate. The report attributes these impacts to rising demand for land, water and energy, and explores the impacts of agriculture, fisheries and deforestation.

Image: Akarsh Simha, Spraying pesticide, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
6 November 2018

Researchers have called for governments to phase out organophosphate pesticides in agriculture, ban their non-agricultural uses, and take steps to reduce human exposure to organophosphates. The researchers’ argument is based on systematic reviews that link foetal organophosphate exposure to adverse effects on the development of children’s brain and nervous system.

29 October 2018

A recording of the launch of the report “Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration: A Research Agenda” can be viewed here, hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The video is around one hour long and includes an overview of the report’s findings and a question-and-answer session.

29 October 2018

The book “Narratives of Hunger in International Law: Feeding the World in Times of Climate Change”, by Anne Saab, explores two different views of hunger in the context of climate change (neoliberal vs. the food sovereignty movement) and how international law affects these narratives.

29 October 2018

Government policies are not doing enough to support the transition to a lower-carbon foods sector, according to a report by the Changing Markets Foundation. Specifically, the report argues in favour of policies to shift the food system away from animal agriculture and towards plant-based foods.

Image: Garry Knight, Fruit and veg, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
29 October 2018

The global agricultural system doesn’t produce enough fruit, vegetables and protein to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s population, according to this paper. Meanwhile, grains, fats and sugars are overproduced, relative to what is needed for a healthy diet (defined in this paper as a diet in accordance with the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate (HHEP)).

22 October 2018

The book “Food and sustainability”, edited by Paul Behrens, Thijs Bosker and David Ehrhardt, is a textbook that addresses food sustainability from a multidisciplinary perspective.

22 October 2018

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has released the report “Transforming the livestock sector through the Sustainable Development Goals”, which examines how the livestock sector interacts with each of the Sustainable Development Goals, including synergies, trade-offs and complex interlinkages.

22 October 2018

The report “Missing pathways to 1.5°C: The role of the land sector in ambitious climate action”, by the Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance, assesses greenhouse gas mitigation pathways that use “low-risk” land-based solutions that protect natural ecosystems and respect human rights. The report aims to provide an alternative to the IPCC’s mitigation pathways, many of which rely on mitigation approaches such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

22 October 2018

The report “Transformation is feasible - How to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals within Planetary Boundaries”, produced by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, identifies five measures to reach the most Sustainable Development Goals within the planetary boundaries.

Image: ChriKo, Male Locusta migratoria migratorioides photographed in Katavi National Park, Tanzania, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
22 October 2018

Losses of wheat, rice and maize to insects could increase by 10 to 25% per degree Celsius of climate warming, according to this paper. This is due to two main factors: insects have faster metabolisms at higher temperatures and therefore need to eat more; and insect population growth rates will also change with temperature.

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