Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

9 September 2020

This book introduces readers without a background in law to the US laws and regulations that affect the food system, covering environmental, health and agricultural law.

27 August 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute suggests federal policy pathways to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of dairy farming in the United States. It estimates the potential job creation and climate mitigation potential of each proposal and finds that, together, the policy proposals could save and create tens of thousands of jobs, while also reducing dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

21 July 2020

FCRN member Allison Gacad has written this article on how epigenetic modification of plants could enhance food security by enabling crops to activate or deactivate certain genes depending on environmental conditions.

21 July 2020

This report from the European Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics notes that a no-deal Brexit could lead to an increase in the amount of meat imported to the UK from outside the European Union, in part because of possible tariff cuts and in part because food standards may change. The report finds that antibiotic use per tonne of livestock unit is five times higher in the US than in the UK and also higher than antibiotic use in most European countries.

21 July 2020

This report from the US nonprofit Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity looks at 40 multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) - voluntary standards set by civil society organisations and industry, such as Fairtrade International, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Marine Stewardship Council - and concludes that MSIs are not effective at holding corporations accountable for abuses or protecting human rights.

14 July 2020

This article by FoodPrint discusses the tension between the purported environmental benefits of kelp farming and consumers’ lack of familiarity with kelp as a food, and describes “regenerative” kelp farming systems that also produce oysters, clams and mussels. It sets out several ways in which kelp can be used, including in foods such as pesto or lasagne, as well as other uses such as bioplastics, fertiliser, biofuel and animal feed.

14 July 2020

FCRN member David Cleveland uses the University of California as a case study and finds that integrating climate and food policies could contribute substantially to reducing institutional greenhouse gas emissions by accounting for Scope 3 emissions (which would include emissions from food purchased by the institution).

8 July 2020

This book uses nine case studies to argue that promoting home-cooked meals as a solution to social and environmental food system problems risks placing a disproportionate burden on individual families, in particular mothers.

8 July 2020

US think tank The Breakthrough Institute has published a policy brief on how new federal funding for agricultural research and development in the United States could protect and generate tens of thousands of jobs while also helping roughly halve US agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

23 June 2020

This handbook by US think tank Brighter Green is a guide for chefs on how to promote change towards a “plant-forward” food system. It includes sections on key concepts in food systems, the social, economic and environmental implications of the food system, how chefs can help to change the food system, examples of sustainable food initiatives, and practical tips on using plant-based ingredients.

9 June 2020

This blog post from US think tank The Breakthrough Institute examines uncertainties around the environmental impacts of cultured meat. It points out that estimates of the carbon footprint of cultured meat are highly variable, and that the impacts of switching to cultured meat depend on what it is replacing in the diet (e.g. beef, poultry, plant-based meats or tofu).

26 May 2020

This policy briefing from US think tank The Breakthrough Institute lays out options for post-COVID-19 stimulus spending in the United States. It suggests funding farm conservation programmes that could improve farmer profitability, generate jobs, and improve environmental performance. It also proposes nationally scaling up farm machinery rebate systems, which exist in a few states, to encourage the purchase of efficient agricultural equipment.

20 May 2020

According to this article in the Guardian, slaughterhouses in several countries are being badly affected by COVID-19 outbreaks, with the US being particularly affected. The factors behind the outbreaks are thought to include crowded working conditions, a workforce who often live in shared houses, people working despite being ill because of economic insecurity, and the slaughterhouses not being shut down during the pandemic.

20 May 2020

According to this article by Civil Eats, some farmers in the Great Plains of the United States are sowing “chaos gardens” - fields of mixed fruit and vegetable plants such as peas, squash, radish, okra, melons and sweet corn - as cover crops between the soy and corn that are the dominant crops in the area. The produce is harvested by volunteers and donated to food banks or other community groups. 

19 May 2020

This book looks at how gentrification affects the urban food landscape in several American cities, and what activists are doing to resist it.

19 May 2020

This report from US climate NGO Carbon180 examines barriers that farmers in the United States face when moving towards agricultural practices that build soil health and sequester carbon. It finds that they include insufficient technical assistance, scientific knowledge gaps, and a lack of strong and reliable incentives.

19 May 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute lays out the economic and environmental case for expanding federal support for alternative protein research and industry expansion. COVID-19 is not only impacting the meat processing industry - many alternative protein startups are also closed or threatened by declines in investment funding. The report estimates that the alternative protein industry could generate over 200,000 US jobs in the long-term, but only if the government provides support to the nascent industry to ensure it does not collapse because of COVID-19. Support might include small business innovation programmes, loan guarantees, and research and development programmes.

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