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.

23 June 2020

This podcast by The Institute for Government, a UK think tank, explores how expert advice shapes decisions in government. It uses the COVID-19 pandemic as an example and also refers to other topics such as climate change.

 
26 May 2020

An amendment to guarantee that post-Brexit food imports meet the same standards required of British food producers has been dropped from the UK’s agriculture bill, to the dismay of several food, farming and nature organisations.

26 May 2020

This paper from the UK think tank International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) presents the results of research carried out together with women vendors in the dining areas of the Achumani and Obrajes markets in La Paz, Bolivia. The research is guided by the principle of “citizen agency” - involving non-scientists in the research process - which the paper argues is important for avoiding mismatches between public policy and local realities.

26 May 2020

FCRN member Bálint Balázs of the Environmental Social Science Research Group, Budapest, Hungary has co-authored this paper, which argues that Eastern European food practices have been overlooked or their importance downgraded in much of the contemporary academic literature. The paper uses three examples to illustrate how evidence from Eastern Europe is often represented by deploying the terminology and concepts developed in West European food scholarship.

20 May 2020

FCRN member Mark Driscoll has written this blog post, which argues that sustainable, healthy diets are key to building back better food systems after the COVID-19 pandemic. Driscoll points to three opportunities for rebuilding resilience in the food system: shorter supply chains and the decentralisation of food production; introducing more diversity of “visions, approaches, actors, crops, and culinary diversity” into the food system; and schemes that give citizens more agency over food systems.

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.

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

This report from the UK’s Food Ethics Council reviews the electoral manifestos of the Conservative, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties in 2015 and 2019 to see how each party’s food policies have changed over time.

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 report from UK food waste organisation Feedback makes a case for the end of industrial animal agriculture and calls for divestment from large livestock companies, arguing that the business model of “Big Livestock” is incompatible with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

29 April 2020

This report from the International Institute for Environment and Development explores the potential to use “biocredits” to protect biodiversity. Biocredits are an economic instrument that allows the creation and trade of “biodiversity units”. Biocredits would be bought by people or institutions that want to invest in protecting biodiversity, and the money from their initial sale would fund conservation activities that increase biodiversity above a baseline level. The report distinguishes between biocredits and biodiversity offsets, which are used to compensate for habitats that have been destroyed, e.g. because of construction projects.

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 report by Science Advice for Policy by European Academies sets out evidence on effective policies for sustainably transforming the European food system in an inclusive, just and timely way. It concludes that the complexity of food systems means that transformations rely on coordinated action between many actors, including different levels of governance.

29 April 2020

This paper studies the relationship between food system drivers and sustainability for a sample of low-, middle- and high-income countries. The aim of the research is to provide a clearer understanding of what drives food system sustainability, in order to better target interventions and investments to transform the food system.

29 April 2020

This paper models the production of six food crops, and finds that only 11-28% of the world’s population (depending on crop) would be able to meet their demands for those crops by using only food produced within a 100 km radius, based on current production and consumption patterns. The aim of the paper is to assess the physical constraints that limit the extent to which food supply can become localised and thus inform the ongoing debates around local food and food sovereignty.

24 February 2020

This blog post by Joe Herbert, PhD student in Human Geography at Newcastle University and editor for Degrowth.info, argues that the degrowth movement (which advocates for shrinking economic activity) has not sufficiently considered the role of animals in its vision of a “just and redistributive downscaling of material and energetic throughput in wealthy countries as a means to achieve ecological sustainability”.

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.

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