Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Agricultural innovation

Image: Ruben Holthuijsen, CornField, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
3 February 2020

This paper used satellites to observe the effect on yield of conservation tillage practices, such as reducing soil disturbance and leaving crop residues in the field, in the United States Corn Belt. The researchers found that long-term conservation tillage (i.e. from 2008 to 2017) was associated with a 3.3% increase in maize yields and a 0.74% yield increase for soybeans.

Image: gailhampshire, Symphytum officinale blue-flowered Common Comfrey, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
28 January 2020

This Guardian article discusses farms that are growing crops organically without using animal manure or blood and bone meal, in contrast to most organic farms. This approach is not yet widespread, with only around 50 such farms in the United States. Relevant organisations include the Biocyclic Vegan Standard and the Vegan Organic Network.

13 January 2020

In the documentary Apocalypse Cow, environmentalist and writer George Monbiot argues that much of the current farming system (except for fruit and vegetable production) will be replaced by food from microbes, freeing up large areas of land for rewilding and carbon sequestration. He also calls for fruit and vegetable farming to be reformed, e.g. by using deep-rooted cover crops to build soil fertility.

13 January 2020

This report from international consultancy SYSTEMIQ sets out how farmers in different regions across Europe can transition profitably to regenerative agricultural practices. It estimates that soil degradation currently costs the European Union €97 billion per year, mostly in damage to human health. 

7 January 2020

In this piece for The Conversation, Dan Evans, PhD researcher in soil science at Lancaster University, explains his research on rates of soil formation and erosion. His measurements on a farm in Nottinghamshire, UK suggest that the top 30 cm of soil there could disappear within 138 years because the rate of erosion exceeds the rate of soil formation. 

7 January 2020

FCRN member Ken Giller, professor of Plant Production Systems at Wageningen University & Research, has contributed to the online magazine “The Story of N2Africa”, which tells stories from the last ten years of the project N2Africa: Putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers in Africa.

7 January 2020

This book explores how the design of new food products can contribute to healthy diets and discusses the role of the food industry and government in shaping health policies.

Image: Ian Ransley, Plantains, bananas, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
9 December 2019

This paper studies the impacts of several agricultural development projects (by USAID’s Feed the Future initiative) that aimed to tackle food loss and waste (FLW), finding that the interventions could reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of food produced.

2 December 2019

This book gives a holistic overview of both the impacts of climate change on agriculture and the contribution of agriculture to climate change, describes how to predict these interactions, and offers strategies for “climate-smart agriculture”.

25 November 2019

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food consortium has recently launched a podcast series, The Food Fight, which examines the biggest challenges facing the food system, and the innovations and entrepreneurs looking to solve them.

25 November 2019

FCRN member Anna Birgitte Milford has co-authored this report, which offers a case study of a proposed rooftop greenhouse project in Bergen, Norway. The report considers the opportunities and challenges associated with building rooftop greenhouses.

Image: Meena Kadri, Harvesting wheat #2, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
19 November 2019

This paper presents a study of wheat farmers in India. Low-cost data from small satellites helped to map the results of spreading fertiliser either by hand or with a new spreader device that allowed more even application of fertiliser. 

11 November 2019

According to this article from Civil Eats, several large food companies, including General Mills, Danone, Kellogg’s and Nestlé, plan to help farmers apply regenerative agricultural techniques to build organic matter in soils. The article questions whether the initiative will help to tackle climate change or only help the companies to sell more products.

11 November 2019

This book shows how innovation in the European food system is contributing to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, and give recommendations for how various stakeholders can cooperate productively with startups and entrepreneurs.

4 November 2019

This book gives examples of practices and tools that can help agriculture adapt to climate change, focusing on Japan and other nearby Asian countries.

29 October 2019

This book discusses how networks of wireless sensors could be used in African agriculture, e.g. to minimise conflicts between wildlife, people and livestock, or to monitor livestock health.

29 October 2019

The book Food for All in Africa: Sustainable Intensification for African Farmers argues that the way forward for African agriculture is to produce greater yields with fewer inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides.

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