Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Europe

Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

Image: Monika Rut, Raffles City, a rooftop garden maintained by Edible Garden City Singapore
10 February 2020

The SHARECITY project, based at Trinity College Dublin, has launched SHARE IT, a free toolkit to help food sharing initiatives worldwide document and communicate the impact of their activities on the sustainability of food systems. 

10 February 2020

Dairy company Arla has commissioned this report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, which sets out a vision for how the European dairy sector can become more sustainable in the future, balancing environmental, economic and social considerations.

10 February 2020

This report from environmental campaign group Greenpeace UK examines how chicken consumption in the UK is linked to deforestation, through production of soy for animal feed. It sets out the “soya footprint” of supermarkets, fast food outlets and manufacturers, although figures are not available in all cases.

10 February 2020

This report, commissioned by the UK countryside charity CPRE, assesses the current state of “county farms” - i.e. farms owned by local authorities, sometimes let out at below-market rates to assist new entrants to farming. It finds that the area of county farms has halved in the past 40 years as a result of being sold off.

10 February 2020

This report from NGO Friends of the Earth Europe examines how European demand for beef, soy (as animal feed) and palm oil is linked to deforestation in the Global South. It outlines the limitations of sustainability certification schemes, and makes policy proposals that focus on food sovereignty.

3 February 2020

The European Commission has set out a European Green Deal, a plan to transform the European economy to net-zero emissions by 2050, and to decouple economic growth from resource use. The Green Deal will include a new “Farm to Fork” strategy (to be set out in full in the spring of 2020) to reward food producers for services such as storing carbon in the soil, improving water quality and reducing the use of pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics.

3 February 2020

This report by the European Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics assesses the antibiotics policies of ten leading British supermarkets. It finds that six out of the ten supermarkets ban their suppliers from routinely using antibiotics, with Waitrose having the most comprehensive antibiotic policies. 

Image: Oliver Macdonald Maccheek, Alopecurus myosuroides (Black-grass) in a barley crop, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
3 February 2020

This paper quantifies the economic impact of herbicide resistance developed by the weed Alopecurus myosuroides (black-grass). It finds that the annual cost of this resistance is £0.4 billion each year in England, based on lost profit from lower crop yields. The global cost of herbicide resistance could be much higher, as there are 253 known herbicide-resistant weeds. 

28 January 2020

This report sets out the Welsh Government’s plan for managing its seas for economic, social, cultural and environmental objectives, including sustainable fisheries management (p114 of the report) and aquaculture for finfish, shellfish and algae for food, energy and pharmaceuticals (p80).

28 January 2020

This report from the UK Soil Association’s Food for Life initiative explores the state of children’s food in England. It finds that 4 in 10 children leaving primary school will be overweight or obese by 2024, nine out of ten preschool children eat too much sugar and UK families eat the most ultra-processed diet in Europe.

28 January 2020

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has set out its policy recommendations on agriculture and land use, aiming to reduce the UK’s land-based emissions by 64% by 2050. The CCC estimates that its recommendations could produce £4 billion worth of benefits each year, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, recreational value of new woodland, better air quality and flood alleviation.

Image: rawpixel.com, Business people in a video call meeting, Pxhere, CC0 Public Domain
20 January 2020

Online conferences have the advantage of reducing carbon emissions from travel, particularly air travel, but they can be less convenient when it comes to networking and developing personal connections. The November meeting of the European Biological Rhythms Society tried to fix this by inviting psychologists to develop remote ways of encouraging networking.

Image: grassrootsgroundswell, Russet apples, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
20 January 2020

A new agriculture bill has been brought to the UK parliament, setting out food and farming policies for after the UK leaves the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. It includes support to help farmers preserve soil, a plan to regularly review food security in the UK, and paying farmers for purposes such as flood protection, climate mitigation or public access to the countryside.

20 January 2020

This progress report to the Scottish Parliament from the UK’s Committee on Climate Change shows that, while Scotland’s overall greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3% in 2017, the Scottish Parliament's 2030 target to reduce emissions by 75% will be extremely challenging to meet. 

Image: Marco Verch, Dried fruits and different nuts on white background, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
20 January 2020

According to this paper, most meat-eaters think that vegetarian and vegan diets are ethical, good for the environment, healthy and socially acceptable, but also tend to believe that these diets are difficult, not tasty, inconvenient and expensive. Vegetarian diets tend to be viewed more positively than vegan diets across all measures included in the survey, except for ethical considerations and the environment, where vegan and vegetarian diets are viewed equally.

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

Farmwel chief executive ffinlo Costain has launched a new podcast, Farm Gate, which focuses on practical solutions for climate and food security. The topics covered are relevant for everyone who eats food, but particularly intended for farmers, food chain professionals, and policy-makers. The FCRN’s Tara Garnett was interviewed in the episode Is 'vegan' a dirty word?

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