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.

15 October 2020

In this blog post, Dan Blaustein-Rejto of US think-tank the Breakthrough Institute explains that agriculture produces half of air pollution in the United States, mostly through ammonia emissions from livestock and fertilisers. He argues that reducing air pollution from farming - for example through storing manure in covered pits and applying fertiliser more efficiently - would be beneficial for both human health and climate mitigation.

15 October 2020

This book (published 25 September 2020) explores the lives of people who grow, rear, hunt or gather their own food in the United States, with a focus on Chicago. It examines the implications of these activities for society and sustainability.

15 October 2020

This report from sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future presents findings from a pilot project with ten US school districts and food manufacturers, which aimed to increase consumption of plant-based food options by high school students. 

6 October 2020

In this report, international non-profit Forum for the Future calls for “a just transition to a regenerative agriculture system” in the United States. The report, funded by the Walmart Foundation, identifies opportunities and barriers to scaling regenerative agriculture in the US.

6 October 2020

This report from the non-profit Good Food Institute reviews the current status of fermentation technologies in the alternative protein industry. It covers traditional fermentation (e.g. tempeh, cheese, yoghurt), biomass fermentation (where microbial biomass is used as an ingredient, e.g. the filamentous fungi in Quorn) and precision fermentation (where a specific component is extracted from the biomass, e.g. Perfect Day’s dairy proteins and Impossible Foods’ heme protein).

6 October 2020

This paper examines how localised the US food system could become by calculating theoretical minimum foodshed sizes (i.e. average distance travelled by food) for 378 urban areas under seven different dietary scenarios. It finds that (on average) foodsheds can be smaller for the low-meat diets compared to high-meat diets.

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

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

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.

27 August 2020

This report from US thinktank The Breakthrough Institute suggests federal policy pathways to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of dairy farming in the United States. It estimates the potential job creation and climate mitigation potential of each proposal and finds that, together, the policy proposals could save and create tens of thousands of jobs, while also reducing dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

21 July 2020

FCRN member Allison Gacad has written this article on how epigenetic modification of plants could enhance food security by enabling crops to activate or deactivate certain genes depending on environmental conditions.

21 July 2020

This report from the European Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics notes that a no-deal Brexit could lead to an increase in the amount of meat imported to the UK from outside the European Union, in part because of possible tariff cuts and in part because food standards may change. The report finds that antibiotic use per tonne of livestock unit is five times higher in the US than in the UK and also higher than antibiotic use in most European countries.

21 July 2020

This report from the US nonprofit Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity looks at 40 multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) - voluntary standards set by civil society organisations and industry, such as Fairtrade International, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Marine Stewardship Council - and concludes that MSIs are not effective at holding corporations accountable for abuses or protecting human rights.

14 July 2020

This article by FoodPrint discusses the tension between the purported environmental benefits of kelp farming and consumers’ lack of familiarity with kelp as a food, and describes “regenerative” kelp farming systems that also produce oysters, clams and mussels. It sets out several ways in which kelp can be used, including in foods such as pesto or lasagne, as well as other uses such as bioplastics, fertiliser, biofuel and animal feed.

14 July 2020

FCRN member David Cleveland uses the University of California as a case study and finds that integrating climate and food policies could contribute substantially to reducing institutional greenhouse gas emissions by accounting for Scope 3 emissions (which would include emissions from food purchased by the institution).

8 July 2020

This book uses nine case studies to argue that promoting home-cooked meals as a solution to social and environmental food system problems risks placing a disproportionate burden on individual families, in particular mothers.

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.

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