Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

23 June 2020

This handbook by US think tank Brighter Green is a guide for chefs on how to promote change towards a “plant-forward” food system. It includes sections on key concepts in food systems, the social, economic and environmental implications of the food system, how chefs can help to change the food system, examples of sustainable food initiatives, and practical tips on using plant-based ingredients.

9 June 2020

This blog post from US think tank The Breakthrough Institute examines uncertainties around the environmental impacts of cultured meat. It points out that estimates of the carbon footprint of cultured meat are highly variable, and that the impacts of switching to cultured meat depend on what it is replacing in the diet (e.g. beef, poultry, plant-based meats or tofu).

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.

20 May 2020

According to this article in the Guardian, slaughterhouses in several countries are being badly affected by COVID-19 outbreaks, with the US being particularly affected. The factors behind the outbreaks are thought to include crowded working conditions, a workforce who often live in shared houses, people working despite being ill because of economic insecurity, and the slaughterhouses not being shut down during the pandemic.

20 May 2020

According to this article by Civil Eats, some farmers in the Great Plains of the United States are sowing “chaos gardens” - fields of mixed fruit and vegetable plants such as peas, squash, radish, okra, melons and sweet corn - as cover crops between the soy and corn that are the dominant crops in the area. The produce is harvested by volunteers and donated to food banks or other community groups. 

19 May 2020

This book looks at how gentrification affects the urban food landscape in several American cities, and what activists are doing to resist it.

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.

12 May 2020

This piece from nonprofit food media outlet The Counter explains why some farmers in the US have been dumping surplus food during the COVID-19 pandemic, at the same time that food banks are struggling to source enough food.

12 May 2020

This blog post by Caroline Grunewald of US think tank The Breakthrough Institute argues that a global food system offers greater resilience against local production failures than a local food system, contrary to narratives that the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the fragile nature of the global food system and that local food systems are more resilient.

12 May 2020

The average number of days that US farm workers spend working in dangerously hot conditions could double by mid-century and triple by the end of the century, according to this paper. Workplace adaptations such as longer rest breaks, working more slowly, switching to single-layer clothing and having cooled rest areas could tackle this problem, but would negatively affect farm productivity, worker earnings and labour costs.

5 May 2020

This opinion piece by Liz Specht of the US Good Food Institute argues that taking animals out of the global food system - for example by replacing animal products with plant-based or cultivated meat products - can reduce the risk of future pandemics. Specht notes that zoonotic diseases usually pass to humans during the hunting or slaughter of wild animals or livestock.

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

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 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 paper by FCRN member Diego Rose estimates that 16% of adults in the United States might be receptive to changing their diet if national dietary guidance were to include information about environmental sustainability. It also estimates the impacts of a range of different dietary changes for those people on greenhouse gas emissions, dietary quality and dietary costs.

7 April 2020

This blog piece, by anthropologist Sarah Duignan of McMaster University, argues that a risk of cellular agriculture (i.e. lab-grown meat) is that some people may not benefit from the technology (despite its potential environmental benefits). For example, beef farmers may find themselves in similar difficulties to dairy farmers, who are struggling already because of decreased demand. 

Pages