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.

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.

18 February 2020

The UK government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published a set of resources on “enabling a natural capital approach” (ENCA) to guide policymakers and decisionmakers. 

18 February 2020

This book explores the many factors influencing how land use decisions are made, including culture, values, ethics, trade, governance and pressure on farmland.

10 February 2020

This book sets out an accessible framework for understanding the role of agriculture in sustainable development, focusing on agriculture as a complex system with many tradeoffs and synergies.

20 January 2020

A new agriculture bill has been brought to the UK parliament, setting out food and farming policies for after the UK leaves the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. It includes support to help farmers preserve soil, a plan to regularly review food security in the UK, and paying farmers for purposes such as flood protection, climate mitigation or public access to the countryside.

13 January 2020

This report from international consultancy SYSTEMIQ sets out how farmers in different regions across Europe can transition profitably to regenerative agricultural practices. It estimates that soil degradation currently costs the European Union €97 billion per year, mostly in damage to human health. 

9 December 2019

This book describes the experiences of a growing minority of Latino/a immigrant farm owners in the United States. According to the book, many of these people use farming practices from their home countries, such as growing several crops at the same time or using integrated pest management.

25 November 2019

This book examines the socio-economic dimensions of food security, including drivers of food demand, determinants of food supply, coordinating supply and demand, and case studies of countries with both high and low food security.

25 November 2019

This book takes an interdisciplinary look at the pressures facing food systems in Southern Africa, covering topics such as economic drivers, population, climate change, water and soil fertility.

11 November 2019

This book describes how the system of capitalism affects the choices that fishers make at sea, including balancing profitability and human safety.

11 November 2019

This book shows how innovation in the European food system is contributing to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, and give recommendations for how various stakeholders can cooperate productively with startups and entrepreneurs.

9 October 2019

In an open letter, the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission urges the Secretaries of State in several UK government departments (including Defra, International Trade, Health, Business, and International Development) to consider the environmental implications of any future trade deals, in particular to avoid “offshoring” impacts to countries with weaker environmental standards.

9 October 2019

This discussion paper from the Food Research Collaboration examines “food hubs”, which it defines as “entities that sit between people who produce food and people who use it”, and asks what they are, what they are for and why we need them.

9 October 2019

The Food Ethics Council has published a report on food citizenship, which it defines as a growing movement of people acting as interdependent participants in our food systems, not just as producers or consumers in linear supply chains. 

2 October 2019

This book by Julian Cribb examines the links between food, conflict, hunger and ecological collapse, and develops recommendations for how to build a sustainable global food system that defuses tensions and avoids the mass displacement of people.

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). 

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