Sustainable food round-up: fair food, UK food system, world agriculture, community growing
A round-up of recent reports on food and sustainable development highlighted by our partner, the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN). For more news on sustainable development research and publications, join the network and receive regular SDRN mailings.
In this round-up:
- The Food Transformation: Harnessing consumer power to create a fair food future (Oxfam Report)
- What’s Cooking? Adaptation and mitigation in the UK food system (Sustainable Consumption Institute Report)
- Agricultural Outlook 2012-2021 (OECD and FAO Report)
- Community Food Growing Topic Sheet (ACRE publication)
Read about more recent publications and research in the latest SDRN bulletin…
Oxfam has published a new report entitled ‘The Food Transformation’. This report, written by Brook Lyndhurst, examines the global food system and the social and environmental injustices inherent in it, and at the potential of consumer action to effect change. It looks at four different scenarios involving consumer action, and calculates the scale of the positive social and environmental impacts that would result. Each of the scenarios focuses on one of the following areas: reducing food waste; supporting fair trade; being energy efficient; eating less meat.
This SCI Report argues that greenhouse gas targets will be missed unless policymakers take account of the potential impacts of climate change on food-related emissions.
The authors argue that emphasis is placed on decarbonising the energy system, yet the emissions associated with agriculture, particularly the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, are likely to be much more difficult to cut. Not only that, as climate change impacts become more severe over the coming decades, more fertiliser may need to be added just to achieve the same yields, which will further elevate levels of nitrous oxide. Because emissions are cumulative, this means that the harder it is to cut nitrous oxide emissions, the greater the efforts needed to curb the carbon dioxide emissions from energy for the same climate impact.
The report concludes that the importance of food system emissions in the climate debate cannot be overstated. Only by acknowledging the extent of food-related emissions can the energy challenge be fully recognised, because all emissions are constrained by cumulative carbon budgets.
This 18th edition of the Agricultural Outlook gives an overview of market trends and prospects for production, consumption, trade stocks and prices of agricultural commodities.
The report suggests that agricultural commodity prices will remain high throughout the next decade, based on an assumption that oil prices will continue to rise. The report indicates a need for a 60% increase in agricultural production over the next 40 years, if rising demands for food and expanding biofuel production needs are to be met.
The report also identifies an urgent need to improve the sustainable use of available land, water, marine ecosystems, fish stocks, forests, and biodiversity. Based on its findings, the report identifies key agricultural policy challenges for the future, including: creating the right commercial, technical and regulatory environment; strengthening agricultural innovation systems; and encouraging better agronomic practices.
ACRE has written a new resource about Community Food Growing. It is hoped that communities producing community Led plans will use this new topic sheet to think about whether it is appropriate to develop food growing projects in their area and to give them ideas about what they could do.
ACRE has worked with the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens on this topic sheet that highlights key issues and ideas for rural communities thinking about creating a community growing space. It has been developed for use alongside ACRE’s Community Led Planning Toolkit launched earlier this year and one of several new topic sheets being published this summer.
The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) is an initiative funded by Defra and coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute in London.
SDRN aims to facilitate and strengthen the links between providers of research and policymakers across government, in order to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK government’s objectives for sustainable development.
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