Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Theory, methods and tools

There are different ways to analyse and evaluate impacts from food production and consumption. This section highlights papers that introduce specific methodologies, tools and theories that can be used as a guide or reference when developing a research or policy approach.

13 January 2020

This report from FoodPrint, part of the GRACE Communications Foundation, describes the problems associated with plastic, metal and paper/fibre food packaging. It also sets out potential solutions, including reusable food containers, plastics that can be more easily recycled, compostable packaging materials, and bans on certain types of packaging (e.g. plastic straws).

13 January 2020

This report from the UK’s Internet of Food Things Network Plus discusses how digital technologies can help food system actors to collaborate on addressing food system challenges such as traceability, food safety, efficiency, sustainability, health and waste.

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. 

Image: Yuvraj Shingate, Dagadi Jowar, Aatpadi (Sorghum bicolor), Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
13 January 2020

This paper finds that replacing some rice cultivation in India with other cereals such as sorghum and millet could improve nutrient supply, decrease carbon emissions and water use, and increase the resilience of India’s food system to extreme weather events. 

Image: Aqua Mechanical, Crop irrigation, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
13 January 2020

FCRN member Francesca Harris has co-authored this paper, which systematically reviews the water footprint of different types of diets around the world. The paper distinguishes between the use of blue water (ground and surface) and green water (rain). 

Image: Pxhere, Tsukiji Sushi Dai restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, CC0 Public Domain
7 January 2020

FCRN member Christian Reynolds has co-authored this paper, which finds that in Japan, differences in the carbon footprint of household food consumption are driven by what the paper describes as “unexpected” food categories: the households with higher food carbon footprints spend more on restaurant food, fish, vegetables, alcohol and confectionary.

9 December 2019

The US think tank Breakthrough Institute has created an interactive series of graphs to visualise how the environmental impact of farming in the United States has changed over time, covering land use, nitrogen loss, water, herbicides, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions and spending on research and development.

9 December 2019

This book reframes the debate around water and food security, focusing on the rights of marginalised people instead of only discussing irrigated agriculture.

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.

9 December 2019

This report from the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University examines how farming in China can move away from a dependence on “industrial agriculture” (defined here as excessive and inefficient use of fertilisers and pesticides) towards agroecological systems (including practices such as lower stocking densities, using manure instead of synthetic fertilisers, growing diverse crops and using soil-building techniques). 

9 December 2019

This briefing from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) notes that demand for five cereals in sub-Saharan Africa is set to almost triple by 2050. It argues that it is possible for the region to be self-sufficient in cereals by 2050 using only the current area of cereal farmland, but that this requires significantly higher fertiliser use. To keep greenhouse gas emissions to the minimum possible will require suitable crop varieties, careful nutrient management, optimum planting densities and protection of crops against weeds, pests and diseases.

2 December 2019

This podcast, part of the BBC programme The Food Chain, explores initiatives that hope to change how palm oil is produced. It outlines some of the environmental and social issues associated with conventional palm oil production, and discusses a smallholder certification scheme in the Sabah region of Malaysian Borneo.

2 December 2019

This book, originally published as a special issue of Water International, explores how the concept of “virtual water” is relevant to agriculture, trade and sustainability.

2 December 2019

This report by the Environmental Investigation Agency and NGO Greenpeace studies how UK supermarkets have taken action on plastic packaging. It finds that overall plastic packaging used by UK supermarkets has risen by 2% between 2017 and 2018, mainly driven by sales of branded products. Waitrose and Morrisons have made the most progress in reducing plastic packaging.

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.

25 November 2019

FCRN member Anna Birgitte Milford has co-authored this report, which offers a case study of a proposed rooftop greenhouse project in Bergen, Norway. The report considers the opportunities and challenges associated with building rooftop greenhouses.

19 November 2019

This book looks at how the food industry and the environment interact, describes how the industry has developed over the past decade, and sets out suggestions to improve the food industry’s future environmental performance.

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