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.

8 May 2019

This paper calculates the environmental impacts (climate change, acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use) caused by either making a meal by using a meal kit (which contains pre-portioned ingredients for cooking a meal) or by buying the ingredients from a grocery store.

29 April 2019

This podcast, “Shrinking agriculture's footprint”, is part of the Breakthrough Dialogues series from California-based environmental research centre The Breakthrough Institute. The episode explores which farming practices are most sustainable and discusses land sharing versus land sparing.

8 April 2019

In this Food Talk podcast by US think-tank Food Tank, Dr. Mariame Maiga (Regional Gender and Social Development Advisor for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development) discusses the role that gender plays in agricultural and sustainable development.

1 April 2019

This blog post in Foodprint (part of US food advocacy group GRACE Communications) explores how food safety scares and recalls can cause food waste. In addition to the disposal of contaminated food items, other items of the same type are often disposed of to be sure of removing all affected items. New supply chain traceability technologies could reduce the amount of food disposed of during recalls.

1 April 2019

This report by the US non-profit Environmental Working Group analyses pesticide residue data from the US Department of Agriculture. It concludes that around 70% of produce in the US is sold with pesticide residues, with particularly high levels in strawberries, spinach and kale and relatively low levels in avocados, sweetcorn and pineapples.

13 March 2019

Over half a million acres of irrigated farmland may have to be permanently taken out of agricultural use in the San Joaquin valley in California in order to conserve groundwater, according to this report by the non-profit Public Policy Institute of California. The report suggests using the land for generating solar energy, restoring ecosystems or managing flood risk by restoring floodplains.

18 February 2019

Switching to an organic diet for six days significantly reduced the levels of several pesticides and pesticide metabolites found in the urine of the 16 participants of this study.

11 February 2019

This piece from the New Food Economy interviews several researchers across the United States who have felt pressure from food industry bodies and funders.

11 February 2019

The World Resources Institute has published its early findings on research into language that appeals to British and US consumers when describing plant-based foods.

11 February 2019

This life cycle assessment of beef cattle production in the United States calculates greenhouse gas emissions, fossil energy use, blue water consumption and reactive nitrogen loss per kg of carcass weight.

4 February 2019

FCRN member Diego Rose has written a paper on the links between dietary choices in the United States (based on real dietary data), environmental impacts, and nutrition quality, finding that the diets with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per calorie generally scored better on the US Healthy Eating Index.

29 January 2019

Canada’s new dietary guidelines include environmental considerations as well as health, suggesting that diets higher in plant-based foods generally help to conserve “soil, water and air”.

22 January 2019

The ongoing government shutdown in the United States means that several databases and websites with agricultural and climate data are currently unavailable. Gro Intelligence is offering free subscriptions to its web app during the shutdown. The web app provides global food and agriculture data.

22 January 2019

This book, by the academic Marion Nestle, describes how the food industry uses nutritional claims to promote sales of particular types of food.

22 January 2019

This paper surveyed food shoppers in Toronto to find the links between socioeconomic status and food preferences. It finds that the shoppers with the highest socioeconomic status tend to be motivated by both aesthetic and ethical concerns when choosing food.

15 January 2019

Some businesses no longer accept cash and instead prefer card or other digital payments. This piece in The Spoon explores the ways in which cashless businesses might exclude some people, following legislation in New York City that could, if passed, force restaurants, coffee shops and stores to accept cash.

15 January 2019

People tend to underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions and energy use associated with different food types, according to this paper, but are likely to buy lower-emission food types when provided with information on greenhouse gas emissions.

10 December 2018

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations has taken legal action against 30 fossil fuel companies, arguing that the crab fishing industry is being harmed by climate change. Algal blooms, made more likely by warming ocean waters, have cut short crab fishing seasons.

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