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.

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.

10 February 2020

This book uses a range of case studies to explore how food and immigration influence each other in North America, focusing on borders (e.g. geopolitical or cultural), labour and identities (including changing diets).

3 February 2020

In this podcast from the World Resources Institute, Andika Putraditama (sustainable commodities and business manager at WRI Indonesia) discusses how buyers have responded to certified sustainable palm oil. Some prefer to avoid palm oil altogether. Putraditama argues that encouraging certified palm oil would incentivise the palm oil industry to change its practices.

28 January 2020

This paper reviews abundance and catch levels in around half of global fisheries (those for which information is available). It finds that, on average, fish stocks are increasing in these regions. Fisheries that are managed intensively tend to have more fish than those that are not. Management intensity is defined by a “fishery management index”, and refers to whether levels of fishing are kept below a certain target for each fishery.

28 January 2020

This paper finds that over ten billion people could be fed within the constraints of four planetary boundaries (biosphere integrity, land-system change, freshwater use, and nitrogen flows), if the food system undergoes a “technological-cultural U-turn”.

20 January 2020

This article by Caroline Grunewald and Dan Blaustein-Rejto, both of of the US Breakthrough Institute think-tank, argues that the environmental movement fails to appreciate the environmental benefits that can result from free trade, by enabling producer countries with lower environmental impacts per unit of food to displace products from countries with higher environmental impacts.

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.

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 book gives details of methods for detecting and dealing with various agrochemicals, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and soil fumigants.

13 January 2020

This report from FoodPrint, part of the GRACE Communications Foundation, describes the problems associated with plastic, metal and paper/fibre food packaging. It also sets out potential solutions, including reusable food containers, plastics that can be more easily recycled, compostable packaging materials, and bans on certain types of packaging (e.g. plastic straws).

13 January 2020

This report from the UK’s Internet of Food Things Network Plus discusses how digital technologies can help food system actors to collaborate on addressing food system challenges such as traceability, food safety, efficiency, sustainability, health and waste.

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. 

13 January 2020

This paper finds that replacing some rice cultivation in India with other cereals such as sorghum and millet could improve nutrient supply, decrease carbon emissions and water use, and increase the resilience of India’s food system to extreme weather events. 

13 January 2020

FCRN member Francesca Harris has co-authored this paper, which systematically reviews the water footprint of different types of diets around the world. The paper distinguishes between the use of blue water (ground and surface) and green water (rain). 

7 January 2020

FCRN member Christian Reynolds has co-authored this paper, which finds that in Japan, differences in the carbon footprint of household food consumption are driven by what the paper describes as “unexpected” food categories: the households with higher food carbon footprints spend more on restaurant food, fish, vegetables, alcohol and confectionary.

9 December 2019

The US think tank Breakthrough Institute has created an interactive series of graphs to visualise how the environmental impact of farming in the United States has changed over time, covering land use, nitrogen loss, water, herbicides, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions and spending on research and development.

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