Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Economic and political theories

Whether it comes to understanding consumer behaviour, socio-economic determinants of health and wellbeing or how businesses respond to new regulation, there are many different economic and political theories that try to make sense of the world. Different schools of thought provide different views of problems and ways to tackle food system sustainability challenges. One example is the contested concept of sustainable development, where there are several opposing theories on its meaning and mission. One of these argues that 'green growth' is both possible and necessary to sustain people and the planet, while another states that 'green growth' is in fact an oxymoron, and that sustainability is only possible if economic growth is constrained in recognition of fundamental environmental limits.

18 September 2019

FoodPrint, a project run by GRACE Communications Foundation, has produced an overview of the laws and regulations affecting food in the United States, including details of how food policy is made at different levels of government (federal, state and local). 

22 July 2019

The book Sustainability of the Food System: Sovereignty, Waste, and Nutrients Bioavailability addresses food sustainability through the lens of food sovereignty, environmentally friendly food processes, and food technologies that increase the bioavailability of bioactive compounds.

22 July 2019

This report from the US non-profit Croatan Institute quantifies the current US landscape of investments in regenerative agriculture, including in-depth analyses across asset classes (such as farmland and venture capital), and presents a series of recommendations for investors and stakeholders to build soil health and community wealth through regenerative agriculture.

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: Pxhere, Harvest carrot hand, CC0 Public Domain
9 July 2019

This paper describes four scenarios that reflect ways in which the food system might change in the near future, based on two main factors: dietary shifts and degree of globalisation. The paper suggests that such scenario analyses can be helpful in envisaging future paths beyond “business as usual”, even when the future of the food system is non-linear and hard to predict.

4 July 2019

This book presents a complete introduction to the political and institutional aspects of agroecology, covering the whole food system. It sets out a new concept known as political agroecology.

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 UK’s Triodos Bank calls for a radical overhaul of the food system with a focus on environmental sustainability, healthy diets, and fair pay for farmers.

11 June 2019

This open access book offers an analysis of urban food policies with reference to policy levers and food system sustainability issues.

11 June 2019

This briefing from the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London outlines the history and importance of food policies (such as mandatory health warning labels, dietary guidelines, or bans on destroying food waste) in influencing the food system.

3 June 2019

This briefing paper from the UK’s Food Research Collaboration, the latest in its Food Brexit Briefings series, reiterates the need for local authorities to create food plans for during and after the UK’s upcoming exit from the European Union.​

29 April 2019

This book by Darrin Qualman argues that, to avoid the collapse of civilisation, the global economy must reshape its material and energy flows away from linear, extractive patterns towards a circular model. The book includes a chapter on food production.

Image: kschneider2991, Money tower coins, Pixabay, Pixabay licence
29 April 2019

Decoupling of carbon emissions from economic growth is unlikely to happen quickly enough to meet the Paris climate targets of limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, according to this paper. Furthermore, both historical trends and model-based projections suggest there is no evidence that resource use and economic growth can be absolutely decoupled at the global scale in the context of continued economic growth.

16 April 2019

This report explains several trends and issues impacting the edible fats and oils system, including increasing demand, land use, public health, climate impacts, restrictions on trans fats, the search for alternatives to palm oil and soy, and supply chain transparency.

13 March 2019

The UK Government has released a summary of the likely impacts on business and trade if the UK leaves the European Union without a withdrawal agreement on 29 March 2019 (i.e. a ‘no deal’ Brexit). Several items are relevant to the food system. See also the draft of temporary rates of customs duty on imports that will apply to different goods in the event of a no deal Brexit.

12 March 2019

In this latest instalment of the Food Brexit Briefings series by the UK’s Food Research Collaboration, the authors argue that the UK’s upcoming departure from the European Union presents an opportunity for Wales to reform its food and farming system, making use of both grassroots food initiatives and new legislation.

4 March 2019

In this report, the UK think tank Green Alliance argues that land-based carbon credits could be incorporated into a ‘Natural Infrastructure Scheme’ (NIS), a scheme previously proposed by the Green Alliance.

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