Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Production efficiency/intensity

26 May 2017

This research from USDA’s Economic Research Service looks at trends in consumer demand for organic food since the 1990s and developments in organic production.

Photo: Yoshihide Nomura, Fried vegetables, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
25 April 2017

This comment article in The Lancet Planetary Health emphasises that food systems research, addressing sustainability and human health, needs to combine three factors equally to inform comprehensive improvement strategies. 

12 April 2017

This Data Science Insights talk hosted by Thomson Reuters sees presentations from Professor Nilay Shah from Imperial College, Judith Batchelar, Director of Brand at UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, and Derek Scuffell, Head of R&D Information Systems at Syngenta, who share insights on how their supply chains are driven by data.  They discuss how advances in genetically modified foods and in agricultural technology could help prevent food shortages and price fluctuations and help the world feed itself by 2025.

Photo: djfrantic, Bees on our Boysenberries, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
12 April 2017

This paper in Biological Conservation argues that the role of pesticides in driving biodiversity loss deserves renewed emphasis, quantification and amelioration. The authors present their views on how conservationists should support integrated approaches, for sustainable agriculture and rural development planning, that simultaneously address food security, pesticide use and biodiversity conservation.

Photo: Erik Edgren, Root, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
4 April 2017

In this post in the Conversation, crop scientist Matthew Wallenstein, Associate Professor and Director at the Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Colorado State University, discusses the potential of natural microbes to improve agriculture and make it more sustainable. 

4 April 2017

In the latest in a series of articles seeking to shake up the conversation about food production and its trade-offs (see for example our previous summary of Elena Bennett’s Nature commentary, and the subsequent FCRN discussion forum), this opinion piece seeks to shift the focus of the discourse away from food production as the goal of agriculture, and towards food security, incorporating biodiversity outcomes.

Photo: jbloom, plate scraping, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic.
29 March 2017

This paper looks at how we can achieve greater food and nutrition security in a sustainable manner by reducing waste and it also analyses how losses impact overall food system efficiency.  It quantifies the food wasted throughout the food chain (10 stages) from primary production to human food consumption and also looks at the impact of livestock production on both food system biomass efficiency and feed crop losses. The paper defines wasted food energy of livestock production in terms of its poor efficiency in feed conversion ratios (ie. only some of the feed livestock consume end up as meat and dairy, with the rest loss via respiration, dung and urine). 

 
Photo: muffinn, Hallow – muck spreading, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic.
29 March 2017

This review assesses the performance of organic cropping systems as an approach to sustainable agriculture, and seeks to identify the contextual considerations (such as type of cropping system) that may affect this performance. The scope of the review is constrained to the level of the farming system (i.e. excludes considerations of other components of the food system, such as packaging or transport). In order to provide an unbiased assessment of organic farming as a means of sustainable agriculture, rather than approaching the question from the usual “What does organic farming do well/badly?” angle, the authors ask “What constitutes successful sustainable agriculture?” then measure organic farming against this yardstick.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Pesticide Spraying, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0.
15 March 2017

This Nature Plants paper by researchers from agroecological and agronomical research institutions in France used a statistical modelling approach to predict the effects of reducing pesticide use on the productivity and profitability of French arable farms.

Photo: Chafer machineries, Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0
8 March 2017

A recent paper published in BioScience articulates the need for a new vision and new goals for the sustainable intensification of agriculture, moving away from the often cited statement that food production must double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population.

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