Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Governance and policy

Policy on food incorporates a wide range of direct legislation on, for example, food safety regulation, farming methods, chemical use, production techniques and packaging. Governance of the food system takes place at multiple levels from the international (e.g. international trade agreements) through to the local (e.g. local authority planning policies influencing the siting of food businesses). Governance can encompass both 'hard' and ‘soft’ measures. The former commonly refers to legislation involving mandatory standards, caps, or bans, and economic instruments such as taxes and subsidies. 'Softer' approaches are usually taken to include voluntary standards, encouragement of voluntary industry action, and public education campaigns. In addition to the state, non-state actors including corporations and nongovernmental organisations also make policies that influence the future direction of the food system. To achieve progress towards a more sustainable food system it is essential to have effective and joined up governance of the food system at multiple levels, and across geographic borders and sectors.

8 July 2020

US think tank The Breakthrough Institute has published a policy brief on how new federal funding for agricultural research and development in the United States could protect and generate tens of thousands of jobs while also helping roughly halve US agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

23 June 2020

This podcast by The Institute for Government, a UK think tank, explores how expert advice shapes decisions in government. It uses the COVID-19 pandemic as an example and also refers to other topics such as climate change.

 
23 June 2020

This explanatory note from the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology defines food system resilience, gives examples of threats to the food system, outlines some questions to consider when visualising a more resilient food system, and describes recent policy developments on food system resilience.

17 June 2020

This report from charity Pesticide Action Network UK compares current UK pesticide regulations with those of the US and Australia - both countries are a priority for post-Brexit trade deals - as well as with those of India. It finds that food sold in the UK could soon be allowed to contain significantly higher levels of hazardous pesticides, if the UK agrees to weaken its pesticide standards during trade negotiations.

26 May 2020

An amendment to guarantee that post-Brexit food imports meet the same standards required of British food producers has been dropped from the UK’s agriculture bill, to the dismay of several food, farming and nature organisations.

26 May 2020

This policy briefing from US think tank The Breakthrough Institute lays out options for post-COVID-19 stimulus spending in the United States. It suggests funding farm conservation programmes that could improve farmer profitability, generate jobs, and improve environmental performance. It also proposes nationally scaling up farm machinery rebate systems, which exist in a few states, to encourage the purchase of efficient agricultural equipment.

26 May 2020

FCRN member Bálint Balázs of the Environmental Social Science Research Group, Budapest, Hungary has co-authored this paper, which argues that Eastern European food practices have been overlooked or their importance downgraded in much of the contemporary academic literature. The paper uses three examples to illustrate how evidence from Eastern Europe is often represented by deploying the terminology and concepts developed in West European food scholarship.

19 May 2020

This report from US climate NGO Carbon180 examines barriers that farmers in the United States face when moving towards agricultural practices that build soil health and sequester carbon. It finds that they include insufficient technical assistance, scientific knowledge gaps, and a lack of strong and reliable incentives.

19 May 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute lays out the economic and environmental case for expanding federal support for alternative protein research and industry expansion. COVID-19 is not only impacting the meat processing industry - many alternative protein startups are also closed or threatened by declines in investment funding. The report estimates that the alternative protein industry could generate over 200,000 US jobs in the long-term, but only if the government provides support to the nascent industry to ensure it does not collapse because of COVID-19. Support might include small business innovation programmes, loan guarantees, and research and development programmes.

19 May 2020

FCRN member Sander Biesbroek of Wageningen University & Research has co-authored this paper, which is the first modelling study to include and monetise social costs and benefits of a 15% or 30% meat tax or a 10% fruit and vegetables subsidy in the Netherlands. It finds that all three interventions could lead to a net benefit to society over a 30 year time frame.

12 May 2020

This report from the UK’s Food Ethics Council reviews the electoral manifestos of the Conservative, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties in 2015 and 2019 to see how each party’s food policies have changed over time.

12 May 2020

The UK’s Food Research Collaboration has published a guidance note and a report on how food policy is currently made in England. It calls for more coordination between different decision-making bodies in the response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food system.

5 May 2020

This report describes the potential economic and environmental benefits of funding the national maintenance backlog for agricultural research facilities in the US as part of government responses to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute and is co-authored by FCRN member Dan Blaustein-Rejto.

5 May 2020

The 2020 edition of the Global Food Policy Report from the International Food Policy Research Institute looks at how to make food systems inclusive of smallholders, women, and people affected by poverty or conflict.

5 May 2020

This policy guide from the US nonprofit Centre for Biological Diversity calls for US federal, state and municipal policymakers to take immediate steps to reduce beef consumption by up to 90% and consumption of all other animal products by 50%. It draws on the research Implications of Future US Diet Scenarios on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

29 April 2020

This podcast by the Green Alliance (a UK charity) is an interview with Professor Tim Lang about his new book Feeding Britain. The book was written before the coronavirus crisis, but the interview explores how the crisis is affecting the UK’s food system. The podcast also discusses food rationing, inequality and the links between food policy and the economy, defence, risk, nature and biodiversity.

29 April 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute, co-authored by FCRN member Dan Blaustein-Rejto, outlines over $500 billion in potential federal spending that could lower emissions, be included in upcoming post-COVID stimulus investments and has already been vetted and earned bipartisan support in Congress. The brief proposes an agricultural research funding increase, research facility maintenance, and biomethane tax credits in addition to many proposals regarding energy innovation and infrastructure.

29 April 2020

This report by Science Advice for Policy by European Academies sets out evidence on effective policies for sustainably transforming the European food system in an inclusive, just and timely way. It concludes that the complexity of food systems means that transformations rely on coordinated action between many actors, including different levels of governance.

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