Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Theory, methods and tools

There are different ways to analyse and evaluate impacts from food production and consumption. This section highlights papers that introduce specific methodologies, tools and theories that can be used as a guide or reference when developing a research or policy approach.

31 March 2020

This book by Sarah Bridle provides an accessible outline of the links between climate change and food: both the climate impacts of producing food, and the impacts of climate change on farming.

31 March 2020

This systematic review looks at dietary patterns and food sustainability in the United States. It estimates that the healthy US-style diet recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is associated with similar or higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and water use compared to the current US diet.

24 March 2020

FCRN member Hayo van der Werf has co-authored this perspective paper, which argues that current Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies tend to favour intensive farming systems and misrepresent organic and agroecological systems.

16 March 2020

Our World in Data has published this piece, which breaks down the extent to which the differences in carbon footprints of food categories can be attributed to methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas which has attracted controversy over how its climate impact is measured. 

16 March 2020

This e-book, which has been translated into English, sets out the carbon, water and ecological footprints of foods and culinary preparations (items composed of more than one ingredient) consumed in Brazil. 

16 March 2020

FCRN member Elin Röös has co-authored this paper, which finds that the average Swedish diet far exceeds the planetary boundaries (scaled to the per capita level) suggested by the EAT-Lancet Commission for greenhouse gas emissions, cropland use, application of nutrients and biodiversity. The diet is within the boundary for freshwater use.

10 March 2020

This book describes Lume, a method for analysing the economic and ecological impacts of agroecological farming systems. It includes a case study of family farms in a region of Brazil affected by droughts.

10 March 2020

The Cultivated Meat Modeling Consortium, an interdisciplinary group applying computing techniques to the cultivated meat sector, has released a white paper based on the Consortium’s first meeting. The paper sets out ways in which modelling might be able to optimise cultivated meat manufacturing, including assessing different bioreactor designs, designing experiments with different growth media, and generating databases of the characteristics of the cell types (e.g. animal species) that are most likely to be used in cultivated meat.

3 March 2020

In this podcast, FCRN member ffinlo Costain interviews Jenny Packwood (Director of Responsibility & Reputation for KFC UK & Ireland) and Annie Rayner and Kelly Watson (experts in broiler systems and behaviour, working at FAI Farms) to find out how the European Chicken Commitment is changing the welfare of chickens and to discuss the practical implications of delivering the requirements of the commitment.

24 February 2020

This blog post by Joe Herbert, PhD student in Human Geography at Newcastle University and editor for Degrowth.info, argues that the degrowth movement (which advocates for shrinking economic activity) has not sufficiently considered the role of animals in its vision of a “just and redistributive downscaling of material and energetic throughput in wealthy countries as a means to achieve ecological sustainability”.

24 February 2020

This report from the John Hopkins Centre for a Livable Future reviews the most prominent publications on True Cost Accounting, i.e. assessment of the externalities caused by an industry. It looks at how various True Cost Accounting frameworks can be applied to the food system.

24 February 2020

This paper addresses the concept of co-production of actionable knowledge - where researchers and decision makers interact iteratively to produce knowledge that can be acted on, instead of a one-way flow of information from researchers to decision makers - in relation to research on environmental sustainability. 

24 February 2020

In this paper, FCRN member Erasmus zu Ermgassen finds that voluntary zero deforestation commitments (ZDCs) cover more than 90% of the soy exported from the Brazilian Amazon, but only 47% of soy exported from the Brazilian Cerrado biome (a type of wooded savannah). 

18 February 2020

The UK government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published a set of resources on “enabling a natural capital approach” (ENCA) to guide policymakers and decisionmakers. 

18 February 2020

This book explores the many factors influencing how land use decisions are made, including culture, values, ethics, trade, governance and pressure on farmland.

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

This book sets out an accessible framework for understanding the role of agriculture in sustainable development, focusing on agriculture as a complex system with many tradeoffs and synergies.

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