Working viral: open forum for remote working support
In case you missed it, the FCRN has set up an open forum in which we can share our experiences of remote working. The aim is to test and evolve the new ways of collaborating virtually that will be needed in a 1.5°C world.
In Fodder this week
The Royal Society synthesises the evidence linking soil structure to biodiversity, agricultural productivity, clean water/flood prevention and climate change mitigation; a new paper uses simple emissions scenarios to illustrate how GWP* works in predicting climate warming from methane; and a paper offers a hopeful vision of how ocean health can recover if given the chance.
Conserving and building soil carbon could mitigate around 7% of annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions; urban horticulture could provide a significant proportion of fruit and vegetables for city residents, based on a case study of Sheffield; and England spends relatively little on monitoring the quality of soil, compared to water and air.
Working viral: sustainability by necessity - a new forum
As a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many of us are now forced to work from home. While the circumstances are tragic, the current situation nevertheless provides an opportunity to test and evolve the new ways of collaborating virtually that will be needed in a 1.5°C world.
We have set up an open forum for us all to share our ideas and experiences of how we've tried to adapt to the new circumstances and to working remotely, and for exchanging views on which forms of online collaborative activities work and which don't.
Taking part in the forum is very simple - you only need a Google account. We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts, whether detailed or very informal.
In Fodder this week
FCRN member Hayo van der Werf calls for better life cycle assessment of organic and agroecological farming; Nicole Tichenor Blackstone compares the EAT-Lancet diet to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; Lukas Paul Fesenfeld explores how “packaging” several food policies together can increase acceptance among voters.
FCRN member Margareta Lelea uses the pineapple supply chain in Uganda as an example to argue that understanding local uses of waste streams is vital when trying to reduce post-harvest losses; Elin Röös assesses the environmental performance of the Swedish diet relative to global environmental boundaries; Our World in Data finds that the hierarchy of carbon footprints between food categories does not change much depending on whether methane is included or not; and Action on Salt finds that many healthy-sounding plant-based meals being served in restaurants, fast food outlets and cafés contain high levels of salt.
UK supermarkets are only reporting patchily on their efforts to promote healthy diets and improve the nutritional profiles of their products; solutions for conserving insects on agricultural land; and an overview of the global opportunities for reducing methane emissions.
Eating Better argues that chicken - often recommended as a replacement for red meat - comes with costs to health and the environment, including through the links between soy feed production for chicken farming and deforestation; a review paper finds that we don’t yet know the details of how people might be exposed to microplastics through food, water and air; and a report looks at the growing and varied alternative protein sector in Asia.
Climate change could cause the areas suitable for certain crops to expand to new regions, with implications for soil carbon loss, water use and biodiversity; zero deforestation commitments in the Brazilian soy sector have limited effects in protecting the Cerrado biome; consumers might be wasting more than double the amount of food previously estimated; and a blog post questions whether the degrowth movement gives enough attention to animals.
Human uses of the ocean are growing rapidly and interacting with each other; guidance from WRAP on when to use compostable plastic packaging; Oxford’s Livestock, Environment and People project has published a new series of blog posts exploring controversies in the food system; and Veg Power estimates that its “Eat them to defeat them” advertising campaign persuaded 650,000 children to eat more vegetables.
A report calls for a revival of “county farms” in the UK - farms owned by local authorities - to promote social and environmental benefits; a new online toolkit, SHARE IT, allows food sharing initiatives to document and communicate the impact of their activities; soil erosion rates can be highly discontinuous between neighbouring countries.
New Foodsource Building Block: What is feed-food competition?
Should grains and other edible crops ever be fed to livestock, rather than directly to people?
This is the question at the heart of the debate on feed-food competition - the tensions and trade-offs between using resources to feed people or livestock - which we explore in our new explainer piece published last week:
A paper compares the nutrient content of plant-based meat analogues and traditional meat products, finding that the nutritional composition varies by brand and no general comparative conclusions can be drawn; the top five most likely global risks all relate to the environment, according to the World Economic Forum; and the World Resources Institute gives tips to food service outlets on nudging customers towards plant-based dishes.