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.

Image: Pxhere, Grass bird field, CC0 Public Domain
16 July 2019

This article in AgFunderNews explores how the “pasture-raised” label is used in poultry retail in the US. The label, which has not yet been officially defined by the USDA or the FDA, has attracted controversy from some food industry actors and animal welfare advocates, who say that some producers using the label do not have welfare standards as high as customers expect.

16 July 2019

New York public policy action tank Brighter Green has published this policy paper, which gives an overview of the state of the plant-based and cellular meat and dairy industries as well as a critique of the criticisms and an effort to reconcile competing concerns and values.

Image: Marco Verch, A glass of fresh orange juice with fruit oranges, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
16 July 2019

FCRN member Ujué Fresán has co-authored this paper, which calculates the environmental impacts associated with the packaging of several breakfast foods (including orange juice, cereals and peanut butter). For each food product, significant differences in carbon footprint were found, depending on packaging size, packaging materials and brand. Packaging consistently accounted for a lower carbon footprint than production of the food item itself.

Image: Comidacomafeto, Burger veggie vegetarian, Pixabay, Pixabay License
9 July 2019

This opinion piece in YES! Magazine, written by Stephanie Feldstein (population and sustainability director at the Centre for Biological Diversity), uses the case of plant-based burgers to explore the tensions between personal environmental actions, industry actions and systemic change.

4 July 2019

This annual report from Menus of Change, a joint initiative by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provides guidance for the foodservice sector on how to choose menus and select ingredients in ways that are beneficial to health and the environment.

Image: Max Pixel, Food Plant Wild Blueberries, CC0 Public Domain
3 July 2019

This book chapter questions the validity of viewing food primarily as a tradable commodity, noting that doing so encouraging policies based on markets, corporate profit and the private enclosure of resources that were previously freely available to all. The authors propose, instead, that food should be viewed as a commons, i.e. a shared resource. 

25 June 2019

This report from the US-based Breakthrough Institute suggests that increasing the productivity of grazing systems, particularly in lower-income countries, can help to shrink the area of land used as pasture.

Image: Amber, Cupcakes rock onesie, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
25 June 2019

This paper analysed thousands of items of children’s clothing and found that many feature images of food - particularly on girls’ clothing - and that those images often depict unhealthy food types.

Image: zuzyusa, Legumes nuts health, Pixabay, Pixabay License
25 June 2019

This perspective piece argues that the definition of protein quality should be updated to reflect both environmental and nutritional concerns. 

17 June 2019

This report from US management consultancy AT Kearney identifies trends in the cultured meat and meat replacement sectors. It estimates that, by 2040, cultured meat and novel vegan meat replacements will together account for a greater market share than conventional meat.

Image: Max Pixel, Pressure Industrial Pipe, Creative Commons CC0
17 June 2019

Methane emissions from ammonia fertiliser manufacturing plants (which use natural gas as a feedstock and energy source) in the United States are around one hundred times higher than currently reported levels, according to this study. Researchers used a Google Street View car equipped with methane analysers to take measurements downwind of six ammonia fertiliser plants (there are only 23 such plants in the US).

3 June 2019

In this research note, the US-based Open Philanthropy Project discusses whether animal welfare might be helped or hindered by climate-focused reductions in meat consumption. For example, the note points out that meat types with a relatively low carbon footprint (e.g. chicken) are often from smaller animals (compared to, say, cows) and thus require more animals to be farmed and killed.

3 June 2019

The US-based Good Food Institute, which promotes plant-based foods and lab-cultured meat, has produced two State of the Industry Reports on plant-based and cell-based foods. The report outline industry developments during 2018, list the main industry actors, discuss regulatory updates in the United States, and analyse investment trends.

Image: Marco Verch, Glass bowls with buckwheat, rice, lentils, wheat, beans, seeds and nuts, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
3 June 2019

College students who take a course on food and the environment reduce their reported ruminant meat consumption by 28% relative to their consumption prior to the course, according to this paper by FCRN member Jennifer Jay of UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Image: Pxhere, Restaurant dish meal, CC0 Public Domain
3 June 2019

According to this randomised controlled trial, people eat an average of 500 kcal more per day when offered ultra-processed food compared to unprocessed food (as defined by the NOVA system). Furthermore, the trial subjects gained weight on the ultra-processed diet and lost weight on the unprocessed diet.

Image: Naïo Technologies press kit, Robot DINO
29 May 2019

This feature in the New Food Economy explores how autonomous weed-picking robots could replace herbicides and tackle weeds that have become resistant to some herbicides. The robots use both GPS tracking and cameras to navigate fields and remove weeds.

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