Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Issues

Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.

23 September 2020

An recording of the launch event for the UK’s National Food Strategy, held on 29 July 2020, is now available online. The National Food Strategy is a year-long review of the UK’s food system. Read more about the review here and read the FCRN’s summary of Part One of the review here.

23 September 2020

The FCRN’s Tara Garnett took part in a webinar titled “Do we need to stop eating meat and dairy to tackle climate change?” organised by Carbon Brief. The panel also included Prof Pete Smith of the University of Aberdeen, Dr Helen Harwatt of Chatham House and Dr Modi Mwatsama of the Wellcome Trust. The webinar covered the climate impacts of different food types, carbon sequestration through restoration of native vegetation, health impacts of animal products and the cultural and economic factors influencing dietary patterns. 

23 September 2020

US retailer Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue, has announced a goal to become a “regenerative company”. Specific targets include protecting, managing or restoring at least 50 million acres of land (which is equivalent to around 2% of the United States’ land area) and one million square miles of ocean (<1% of the global ocean area) by 2030, and achieving net zero emissions by 2040. The net zero target appears to cover only Walmart’s direct emissions, not food and product supply chain emissions.

23 September 2020

In this book, farmer and writer James Rebanks describes how the landscape and community that his family farm is part of has changed over the past few decades as farming methods have become more intensive.

23 September 2020

This book by FCRN member Paul Behrens uses paired chapters of pessimism and hope to show how much needs to be done to achieve a hopeful future, but how this would involve actively building a healthier and more fulfilling world. The book covers subjects including food, energy, climate and economics.

23 September 2020

In this report, UK food waste NGO Feedback critically assesses the narrative that anaerobic digestion (AD) is a viable solution for producing renewable gas from organic matter such as crops and wastes. The report argues that preventing food waste in the first place is more effective than generating biogas from waste food, particularly if trees were to be planted on the land spared.

23 September 2020

This report from the UK charity the Soil Association examines how disruption to the nitrogen cycle can damage the climate, biodiversity and human health. It proposes replacing widespread use of synthetic fertilisers with agroecological use of nitrogen-fixing legumes and manure from grass-fed livestock. 

23 September 2020

This report from the Convention on Biological Diversity summarises the most recent information on trends in biodiversity. It finds that none of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets - the deadline for most of which is 2020 - have been fully met, although six of the targets have been partially met. It also describes the areas of the targets where progress has been made.

23 September 2020

This paper reports that reforesting areas of land in the UK currently used for sheep grazing could be an economically viable strategy for farmers, using payments for carbon sequestration from people or businesses who want to offset their emissions The paper argues that sheep farming in the UK is not profitable without subsidies, which currently account for over 90% of sheep farm income. 

23 September 2020

This paper, co-authored by FCRN member David Cleveland, aims to quantify the animal welfare and environmental implications of replacing egg-based mayonnaise with plant-based mayonnaise and replacing eggs with tofu, using a case study from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

9 September 2020

The UK government has proposed a new law that would require large businesses to prove that their supply chains for commodities (including beef, cocoa, palm oil and soya) do not contain products that have been produced on illegally deforested land. The proposals would cover commodities embedded within other products, such as animals fed on soy or palm oil used as an ingredient.

9 September 2020

This book introduces readers without a background in law to the US laws and regulations that affect the food system, covering environmental, health and agricultural law.

9 September 2020

This report from WWF, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), EAT and Climate Focus finds that by integrating food system interventions into their climate plans, policymakers can improve their chances of meeting their Nationally Determined Contributions as part of the Paris Agreement.

9 September 2020

According to this report by UK NGO Eating Better, the proportion of UK supermarket ready meals that is plant-based has increased significantly, from 3% in 2018 to 16% in March 2020, with another 9% being vegetarian but not wholly plant-based. Morrisons, Asda and Aldi doubled the size of their meat free range in the last two years. 

9 September 2020

This study sets out the health impacts and environmental footprints of diets that meet the UK government’s Eatwell Guide recommendations, based on observational data from the UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey. 

27 August 2020

According to this article from POLITICO, dairy farmers in West Africa are being undercut by exports of “fat-filled milk powder” from the European Union. This product is a blend of dairy whey left over from processes such as butter manufacture and vegetable fats such as palm oil. 

27 August 2020

On July 16, 2020, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Foresight4Food co-hosted the first of a series of eDialogues on the future of small-scale farming. The first session gave an overview of the challenges smallholders face and opportunities for improvement in yields and standards of living. A video recording and written summary (PDF link) of the event are now available online.

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