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.

12 September 2018

Fishers increase their fishing activity prior to the establishment of a new marine reserve, a new paper claims. The study used satellite data to study one particular marine reserve, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA). While fishing effort dropped to almost zero after the marine reserve was established, fishing effort prior to the reserve’s establishment was 130% higher than in a control region (where no reserve was planned).

4 September 2018

This book, by Jonathan Coppess, explores the history of agricultural policies in the United States.

4 September 2018

This book, written by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition and edited by Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank, discusses how the global food system can produce sustainable, healthy food for everyone. Topics include soil degradation, water use, barriers to accessing food, corporate influence on dietary choices, and food waste.

4 September 2018

The Adam Smith Institute, a UK-based free-market think tank, has published a briefing paper in which it argues in favour of lab-grown meat (also known as cultured meat). The authors say that the potentially lower land use of lab-grown meat, compared to conventional meat, could allow some farmland to be rewilded, managed in less intensive ways, or used to build more houses.

4 September 2018

A recent paper argues that the global food system needs to become both more sustainable and more resilient to environmental and economic shocks. Defining resilience as “the resistance or rapid recovery of system interrelationships and functions after perturbation”, the paper points to existing examples of “undesirable” resilience, which inhibit the transformation of the food system to a more sustainable state.

20 August 2018

This book, by Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, examines peasants and peasant farming, particularly how globalisation creates new forms of peasantry.

17 July 2018

Irish social enterprise foodture has produced a podcast about food citizenship, featuring Anna Cura of the Food Ethics Council. Anna describes the concept of food citizenship as being a mindset where people to think about themselves as engaged citizens, not just consumers, when making food purchase choices.

10 July 2018

This book, by Raquel Ajates Gonzalez, uses a multidisciplinary approach to study the contribution of farmers’ cooperatives in the European Union towards sustainable food systems.

26 June 2018

FCRN member Sylvie Bonny of the INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research), France, has written a paper on corporate consolidation and technological change in the global seed industry. The paper examines the views that different types of stakeholders have about current trends towards concentration, including concerns about the consequences on seed prices and diversity.

11 June 2018

This book, edited by Alessandro Isoni, Michele Troisi and Maurizia Pierri, uses the concept of “food diversity” - diversity in many different factors in the food system, including crops and culture - as an overarching theme to gather work on many aspects of food, including genetic modification, promotion of local foods, food security, ethical purchasing and legal regulation.

11 June 2018

This book, by Robert Hafner, explores the factors influencing soy agribusinesses and local people in soy-producing town in Northwest Argentina.

11 June 2018

This paper examines the role that agricultural research and innovation has in changing the food systems of developing regions, including urbanisation, decline in the importance of cereals in the diet, rise in processed foods, and shift in types of grains produced. Ways in which research affects the food system include: new breeds and varieties that are suited to small farms and/or ease of processing; cheaper inputs such as irrigation, fertilisers, herbicides and tractors; and introduction of motorised transport and temperature controlled storage. The authors call for more investment in the post-farm stages of the food system, such as processing, logistics, and wholesale, because these stages add significant value to food products.

26 May 2018

In this IFSTAL blog post, Harley Pope of the University of Reading addresses some of the challenges of thinking about food systems that are too complex for any one person to understand fully.

26 May 2018

The European Public Health Alliance have published a study of ten EU policies on sustainable food and farming. The report finds that the policies lack a systemic perspective and are particularly weak on the health, governance and resilience aspects of sustainability. The report recommends a mix of supply- and demand-side interventions and points out the importance of considering the “food environment” when devising policies.

21 May 2018

The report “Brexit: food prices and availability” from the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee of the UK House of Lords examines the potential impacts of Brexit on the UK food supply. 30% of the UK food supply is currently imported from the EU and a further 11% from non-EU countries under terms set by EU trade deals.

15 May 2018

Large, powerful companies control much of the US food supply chain, with detrimental effects on consumer choice, food safety and food system resilience, according to a recent paper by researchers from NGO Food & Water Watch. The paper discusses the current “nearly unprecedented wave of food megamergers”, impacts on consumers of grocery consolidation and different types of mergers throughout the food supply chain.

9 May 2018

This paper looks at how trade liberalisation could impact the effectiveness of climate mitigation policies for non-CO2 emissions in the EU agricultural sector. Three scenarios are modelled: free trade agreements (FTA) alone; an EU carbon tax; and the combination of both.

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