Knowledge for better food systems

Fodder: The FCRN Newsletter

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Network updates

We wish you a very happy new year, and welcome back to Fodder.

This week’s Fodder has several items from FCRN members:

Research library

Image: NEON_ja, Chlorella vulgaris Beijerinck NIES-2170 / Olympus IX71+DP72, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Insects, seaweed, microalgae, cultured meat, mycoprotein and mussels are among the nine ‘future foods’ discussed in this paper, co-authored by FCRN member Hanna Tuomisto, which compares the nutritional profiles and environmental impacts of these foods with conventional plant- and animal-sourced foods.

Image: Pixabay, Burger meat bread, CC0 Public Domain

In this paper, FCRN member Hanna Tuomisto gives an overview of the process of growing cultured meat, current developments, its environmental impacts, technical challenges, and consumer perceptions.

Image: Red apple fruits, Pixabay, CC0 license

People tend to underestimate the greenhouse gas emissions and energy use associated with different food types, according to this paper, but are likely to buy lower-emission food types when provided with information on greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Isiwal, Ostuni olive grove, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

This paper, co-authored by FCRN member Monika Zurek, provides a process for assessing food system sustainability in the European Union across different dimensions and scales. The approach was developed as part of the Horizon2020 SUSFANS project.

The EAT-Lancet Commission sets out a “universal healthy reference diet” that it argues will allow the food system to remain within the planetary boundaries while feeding 10 billion people by 2050. The suggested diet includes a variety of plant-based foods and low amounts of animal-based foods.

In this report, the Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition uses findings from the Food Sustainability Index to investigate best practices in food sustainability, focusing on sustainable agriculture, nutritional challenges, and food loss and waste.

RaboResearch reviews the state of the global animal protein industry, predicting that production will grow in 2019 (albeit at a lower rate than 2018), except in China where production is expected to decline due to African swine fever.

This policy briefing, by FCRN member Peter Stevenson of Compassion in World Farming, argues that industrial animal agriculture will make it difficult to reach several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UK government has set out a waste and resources strategy for England, aiming to eliminate all avoidable waste by 2050 and promote a circular economy. Proposed measures include taxing plastic that contains less than 30% recycled material and providing food waste collection to all householders and relevant businesses.

This book, edited by Rachid Serraj and Prabhu Pingali, explores the threats and opportunities that global agricultural and food systems are likely to face between now and 2050. Chapter topics include global drivers and megatrends, urbanisation, technological innovation and intensification of agriculture.

Image: charlesricardo, soybeans harvester grains Brazil, Pixabay, Pixabay license

Bolsonaro, the new far-right president of Brazil, has given the Agriculture Ministry responsibility for “identification, delimitation, demarcation and registration of lands traditionally occupied by indigenous people”, according to Reuters. Environmentalists are concerned that the Amazon rainforest will be opened to greater commercial exploitation.

The latest issue of The Land magazine, of which FCRN member Simon Fairlie is an editor, has a 40-page section on meat-eating and veganism, with about 20 articles and short features representing a variety of viewpoints.

Some businesses no longer accept cash and instead prefer card or other digital payments. This piece in The Spoon explores the ways in which cashless businesses might exclude some people, following legislation in New York City that could, if passed, force restaurants, coffee shops and stores to accept cash.


The London Honey Company is advertising an apprentice beekeeper opportunity. The contract will last three years and the successful candidate will follow the Beefarmers Association Apprenticeship Scheme. The role is open to those aged 16 to 24 and will involve working on sites across the South East of England, including the rooftop of Fortnum & Mason.

For more details, see here. The deadline is 18 January 2019.

The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh has a PhD vacancy on the topic of modelling climate change adaptation in Brazilian livestock systems. Specifically, the project will develop climate change vulnerability analysis and cost-effectiveness adaptation analysis for the Brazilian livestock sector through stochastic optimisation modelling.

For more details, see here. The deadline is 20 January 2019.

PhD students and other young professionals are invited to submit short papers for a workshop on the role of the city as a food actor.

The workshop will be held on 27 March 2019 in Almere, Netherlands, organised by the Association of European Schools of Planning’s Sustainable Food Planning group and AERES University of Applied Sciences. It will address questions such as:

  • Can cities feed themselves?
  • Are cities places that can feed their surrounding environment through experimentation and alternative, sustainable practices?
  • Or are cities places that feed themselves on their hinterland and on the social sphere, leading to an unequal division of benefits and costs of environmental problems?

For more details, see here. Note that the deadline for paper submissions has been extended to 25 January.

Environmental charity Hubbub is hiring a Food Project Lead to work across a variety of projects, with responsibilities including proposal writing, pitching, design and development, delivery and monitoring, reflecting on project performance and suggesting developments for the future.

Candidates should have significant project management experience and knowledge of environmental and food system issues.

For more details, see here. The application deadline is 27 January 2019.

The Valuing Nature programme and the Sustainable Intensification Research Network invite early-career researchers to a three day workshop, which aims to help researchers work across the diverse disciplines needed to link Sustainable Intensification and Natural Capital frameworks.

The workshop will include:

  • Presentations from experts in Sustainable Intensification, Natural Capital and interdisciplinary working
  • Interactive sessions where attendees work in groups to consider research evidence and  prioritise research needs and opportunities
  • Networking opportunities to build connections with researchers from other disciplines
  • Experience of cross-disciplinary working in groups, each developing the outline of an output to be completed after the meeting (e.g. a research bid, a policy and practice impact paper, a “thought-piece” or a peer-reviewed journal paper). Each group will be supported by a mentor with experience in the area.

For more details and eligibility, see here. The free workshop will be held on 5 to 7 March 2019. Apply by 10 am on 28 January 2019.

East London social enterprise Growing Communities is recruiting for two new roles.

  1. A highly organised, energetic and creative senior manager to run the tech, sales and distribution side of the business, overseeing the teams who run the organic fruit and veg scheme, weekly organic farmers’ market and marketing. This role is based in Hackney and is for three days a week. The deadline is 29 January 2019.
  2. A confident, dynamic project leader to drive forward the Better Food Traders network, recruit new members and help it grow into a successful and nationally-known scheme. This role is based mainly in Hackney and is for four or five days a week. The deadline is 4 February 2019.

For more details of the jobs and how to apply, see here.

Unilever is hiring an environmental sustainability scientist to identify opportunities to manage environmental impacts of Unilever products, technologies and portfolios, influence Unilever’s innovation, supply chain, marketing and Corporate sustainability strategies and ambitions, lead research projects, and develop and maintain collaborations.

Candidates should have a PhD or Masters with several years of experience, the ability to apply Life Cycle Assessment, and good networking, communicating and influencing skills.

For more details, see here. The deadline is 31 January.

Environmental NGO Friends of the Earth is hiring a senior campaigner for its Climate-Friendly Food Campaign, focusing primarily on the school food sector. Responsibilities will include strategy and policy development, information dissemination and technical support, organisation, policy and advocacy, and communications and fundraising.

For more details, see here. The position will remain open until filled.


This workshop on 19 January 2019, hosted by the Technical University of Kenya as part of the Net Impact network, aims to help students develop climate-friendly cold storage solutions to reduce food loss in sub-Saharan Africa.

For more details, see here.

In this free webinar on 28 January 2019, Sigrid Wertheim-Heck of AERES University and Wageningen University will discuss her fieldwork from Hanoi, Vietnam and Almere, the Netherlands, in the context of providing safe, healthy and sustainable food to urban populations.

Find out more here.

The Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London will host a talk on 23 January 2019 in London, UK. The speaker will be Charlie Clutterbuck, who will address the role of human labour in the food system in relation to the UK’s upcoming departure from the European Union.

For more details, see here.

This free conference, hosted by the Royal Agricultural University on 7 February 2019, will address the importance of soil to food security, ask whether soil is necessary for food production and explore whether vertical farming is a viable solution.

For more details and to register, see here.

This conference, hosted by SCI (Society of Chemical Industry), will give an overview of the impacts of climate change on agriculture and the range of options available to cope with the changes. It will also address the impacts agriculture has on the climate and the options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For more details, see here. The conference will be held on 6 March 2019.

The Global Food Summit will be held in Munich on 20 and 21 March 2019, on the theme “Foodtropolis - Will Cities Shape our Perception of Food and Nature?”

Topics of discussion will include balancing different sustainability goals, urban agriculture, the circular economy in relation to food, rooftop farming, and cultured meat.

For details of the programme and to buy a ticket, see here.