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.

12 May 2020

This blog post by Caroline Grunewald of US think tank The Breakthrough Institute argues that a global food system offers greater resilience against local production failures than a local food system, contrary to narratives that the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the fragile nature of the global food system and that local food systems are more resilient.

12 May 2020

The average number of days that US farm workers spend working in dangerously hot conditions could double by mid-century and triple by the end of the century, according to this paper. Workplace adaptations such as longer rest breaks, working more slowly, switching to single-layer clothing and having cooled rest areas could tackle this problem, but would negatively affect farm productivity, worker earnings and labour costs.

5 May 2020

This opinion piece by Liz Specht of the US Good Food Institute argues that taking animals out of the global food system - for example by replacing animal products with plant-based or cultivated meat products - can reduce the risk of future pandemics. Specht notes that zoonotic diseases usually pass to humans during the hunting or slaughter of wild animals or livestock.

5 May 2020

This report describes the potential economic and environmental benefits of funding the national maintenance backlog for agricultural research facilities in the US as part of government responses to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute and is co-authored by FCRN member Dan Blaustein-Rejto.

5 May 2020

This policy guide from the US nonprofit Centre for Biological Diversity calls for US federal, state and municipal policymakers to take immediate steps to reduce beef consumption by up to 90% and consumption of all other animal products by 50%. It draws on the research Implications of Future US Diet Scenarios on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

29 April 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute, co-authored by FCRN member Dan Blaustein-Rejto, outlines over $500 billion in potential federal spending that could lower emissions, be included in upcoming post-COVID stimulus investments and has already been vetted and earned bipartisan support in Congress. The brief proposes an agricultural research funding increase, research facility maintenance, and biomethane tax credits in addition to many proposals regarding energy innovation and infrastructure.

29 April 2020

This paper by FCRN member Diego Rose estimates that 16% of adults in the United States might be receptive to changing their diet if national dietary guidance were to include information about environmental sustainability. It also estimates the impacts of a range of different dietary changes for those people on greenhouse gas emissions, dietary quality and dietary costs.

7 April 2020

This blog piece, by anthropologist Sarah Duignan of McMaster University, argues that a risk of cellular agriculture (i.e. lab-grown meat) is that some people may not benefit from the technology (despite its potential environmental benefits). For example, beef farmers may find themselves in similar difficulties to dairy farmers, who are struggling already because of decreased demand. 

31 March 2020

This systematic review looks at dietary patterns and food sustainability in the United States. It estimates that the healthy US-style diet recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is associated with similar or higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and water use compared to the current US diet.

24 March 2020

FCRN member Nicole Tichenor Blackstone has co-authored this paper, which compares the diets recommended by the EAT-Lancet Commission and by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). It finds areas of similarity as well as areas of divergence.

16 March 2020

The Florida-based Cellular Agriculture Society has just relaunched its website with the aim of building a home for cellular agriculture on the internet. The website sets out a vision of what a future with cellular agriculture could look like, and explains how the processes of tissue culture and protein fermentation work. 

16 March 2020

This paper finds that downplaying explicit statements of environmental benefits can be a more effective advertising strategy than prioritising the environmental aspects in product categories that are not normally seen as “green”. This is because consumers often perceive green products as performing less well than conventional products, according to the paper. 

10 March 2020

This article from Civil Eats examines how the rise of both plant-based diets and regenerative agriculture practices have encouraged more farmers in the United States to grow pulses such as lentils, peas and chickpeas. As pulses become more popular with US consumers, a smaller fraction of the US pulse harvest is exported to other countries.

10 March 2020

The Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium, an interdisciplinary group applying computing techniques to the cultivated meat sector, has released a white paper based on the Consortium’s first meeting. The paper sets out ways in which modelling might be able to optimise cultivated meat manufacturing, including assessing different bioreactor designs, designing experiments with different growth media, and generating databases of the characteristics of the cell types (e.g. animal species) that are most likely to be used in cultivated meat.

3 March 2020

This article in the San Francisco Chronicle discusses three synthetic (or “molecular”) alcoholic drinks produced by US startup Endless West: wine, whiskey and sake. The drinks are produced by mixing plain alcohol (from corn) with natural flavourings (e.g. from plants or yeasts) rather than traditional distillation methods (e.g. fermenting grapes to make wine). 

24 February 2020

This report from the John Hopkins Centre for a Livable Future reviews the most prominent publications on True Cost Accounting, i.e. assessment of the externalities caused by an industry. It looks at how various True Cost Accounting frameworks can be applied to the food system.

10 February 2020

This blog post, by Caroline Grunewald and Dan Blaustein-Rejto of the Breakthrough Institute (a US think tank), argues that the large scale of much American farming does not mean it is necessarily unsustainable - rather, when looking at the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water use per unit of output, dramatic improvements have been seen since 1961.

10 February 2020

This book uses a range of case studies to explore how food and immigration influence each other in North America, focusing on borders (e.g. geopolitical or cultural), labour and identities (including changing diets).

Pages