Knowledge for better food systems

Fodder: The FCRN Newsletter

We send out a weekly newsletter which provides an essential round-up of food sustainability-relevant publications, articles, jobs and events. Sign up to receive it, or better still join as an FCRN member and connect with our diverse network of members.

Research library

Journals and Journal Articles

The planetary boundaries concept provides a theoretical upper limit on human activity which the planet is able to sustain without major perturbation to the current ‘Earth system’. Previously, nine planetary boundaries (PBs) have been proposed and recently Steffen et al. (2015) have updated these boundary definitions and assessed the current state of the position of human activity with respect to each boundary. In this article, researchers from a number of food, climate change, agricultural and environmental research institutions around the world build on this work by assessing the impact of agriculture on each PB status, based on a detailed literature review of the available research.


Scientists from national academies across Europe are calling for urgent action on food and nutrition in a new independent report published by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC). This analysis can be relevant for policy-makers working on food, nutrition, health, the environment, climate change, and agriculture.


This new book, edited by Michel. P. Pimbert, Director at the Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience in the U.K., critically examines the kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing needed for food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity.

This Research Handbook, edited by Mary Jane Angelo, Fredric G. Levin and Anél Du Plessis, brings together scholars from across disciplines and across the globe (including FCRN member Jonathan Verschuuren) to untangle the climate-food web and critically explore the nexus between climate change, agriculture and law, upon which food security and climate resilient development depends. It is a useful introduction to the research which is being undertaken in the area of climate change and agricultural law.

Member research

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture, How much do fruits and vegetables cost, Flickr, CC by 2.0

This new study by FCRN member Paul Behrens and colleagues investigates the environmental impacts of a nationally recommended diet when compared to the national average diet for 37 nations across the world, including 9 middle income nations.

Photo: Linda N., New crops, Flickr, CC by 2.0

Targetting the food-energy-water nexus, this review by FCRN members Eugene Mohareb and Martin Heller and colleagues summarises the energy implications of various types of urban agriculture. The goal of their research is to identify resource efficiency opportunities while increasing urban food production.


The Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School, partnering with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, has released an update to the toolkit Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities. The toolkit is intended as a guide for advocates who seek to influence food law and policy in their local communities in the US.

Photo: Marco Verch, Tofu-Würfel mit Soße, Reis und Brechbohnen, Flickr, CC by 2.0

This piece by the international NGO Futures Centre highlights the emergence of some innovative solutions that could help the transition to a sustainable protein consumption and production system.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a worldwide map that details croplands in high resolution in an ongoing effort to monitor croplands and water use.


Eating Better is a growing UK-based alliance that is working together to help people move towards eating less and better meat. It is now seeking an experienced part-time campaigns & communications manager (maternity cover for a period of up to twelve months).

The purpose of this role is to deliver communication strategies to underpin Eating Better’s campaigns and projects to develop Eating Better’s reach and impact with key audiences.

The role will suit someone who has experience of campaigning for change and using communications to support campaigns (including social media), is able to work effectively in a small team, and has an active interest in food and farming issues.

You can find more information on the position here.

The European Innovation Partnership ‘Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability’ (EIP-AGRI) network has released a brochure that highlights all the new calls that are related to agriculture and forestry within the EU research funding framework Horizon 2020 (H2020) and the specific 2018 calls.

There is a total of €1.3 bn of new funding opportunities under Societal Challenge 2 'Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the Bioeconomy' for 2018-2020.

The H2020 calls are open to all organisations and individuals, including applicants from outside the EU. You can find the brochure here.

The School of Sustainable Food Service has launched its online training resouce in food sustainability for chefs, hospitality professionals, and food & beverage managers.

The school specialises in training courses that focus on how to create sustainable menus, how to reduce food waste, and how to communicate sustainability. Will Nicholson, main author of the course, has worked as a chef for over 15 years, run his own restaurants, and since 2010 has worked in food sustainability with both large and small caterers, hotels and restaurants. He has an MSc in Green Economy and is on the advisory board for the FCRN’s Foodsource.

To celebrate the launch of the courses, the school is offering more than a 30% discount on the courses Food & environment essentials and How to create & sell menu plans that are sustainable and profitable until 15th January 2018.

You can read an interview with Will Nicholson about the motivation behind and content of the courses here.


This seminar will bring together key policymakers and stakeholders to discuss policy priorities for the food and farming sectors, as the government negotiates the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Areas for discussion include:

  • The future policy landscape for the food and farming industry - and key sector perspectives on the UK’s exit from the Common Agricultural Policy;
  • Challenges for delivering a ‘Green Brexit’ and safeguarding food standards;
  • Next steps for research - with discussion on funding and opportunities to promote collaboration with industry;
  • Skills development and meeting the demand for labour across the supply chain;
  • Promoting exports internationally and opportunities to access new markets; and
  • Post-Brexit scenarios for UK agri-food trade policy, and their implications for the sector.

The agenda includes a keynote address from Sally Warren, Director of Food, Defra.

For more information and to register, see here.

With the UK Environment Secretary due to introduce a 25-year Environment Plan by the start of 2018, this seminar is organised to discuss policy priorities for further conserving natural capital.

The seminar will focus on measures to protect the environment, including the funding mechanisms and access to capital for new schemes; the potential impact of additional government support such as the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund aimed at encouraging farmers and organisations to implement environmentally-friendly measures; and further options for policy.

For more information and to register, see here.

This conference is bringing together stakeholders with policymakers to assess the key issues and next steps for tackling obesity in Scotland, with the Scottish Government consulting on the strategy’s proposals. It will be an opportunity to discuss the recently published draft diet and obesity strategy, A healthier future - action and ambitions on diet, activity and healthy weight, and its potential implications for the food and drink industry, health practitioners and consumers.

To read more and register, see here.