Climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and the transport of food make up a significant proportion of global emissions, while climate change will impact food systems through increased drought, flooding and extreme weather events.

By Kremlin Wickramasinghe, University of Oxford

The School Food Plan for England released last week is supposed to be the blueprint that improves lunches in schools across the country. The important role of head teachers, a funding commitment from the government to support schools, and the requirement for all schools and academies to follow these guidelines are real highlights.

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Article published by Nature (Nature 531, 551 (31 March 2016) doi:10.1038/531551a) written by Dr Adam Briggs

 

Health campaigners and political observers got a surprise in the United Kingdom's latest budget. This month, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a sugar tax in the form of a levy on sugary-drinks manufacturers.

This is a bold and welcome move from a Conservative government that has often been criticized for not standing up to industry. It demonstrates that officials and policymakers have heeded advice and now recognize that sugar is a public-health problem that needs legislative control. The tax has potential implications not just for public health and the global soft-drinks industry, but also for the ability of all governments to act on market failures in food.

Britain will not be the first place to introduce a sugar-drink tax. Mexico, France, Hungary and Finland, among others, have taxed sugary drinks; South Africa, the Philippines, Indonesia and India are considering doing so. Hungary and Finland have also taxed some unhealthy foods.

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Tara Garnett reflects on her co-authored, recently released, article 'Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture: Premises and Policies'.

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By Dr Joost Vervoort & Elisabeth van de Grift

Under uncertain futures, decision-makers and researchers from across the Mekong region in Southeast Asia are reviewing their agriculture and climate policies.

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By Chris Kaplonski, University of Cambridge, Anthropology
 
‘This can’t be healthy!’ ‘I don’t want to drink this!’  Thus the consumers.
 
‘I wanted to make healthy wine.’ Thus the winemaker.
 
We are all familiar with the story of the environmental campaigners standing up to the evil MegaCorp and their nefarious effect on the food supply. While I have no wish to detract from such movements, here I want to tell another story – the nefarious consumers and their invidious effects on the growth of sustainable wine-making. 
 
Austria proclaims itself Europe’s greenest wine-making industry, with 90% of vineyards under some form of sustainable cultivation – whether integrated pest management and intercropping, the more stringent organic rules, or even biodynamic farming. Some go even a step further, to what is called ‘natural’ wine which eschews most technological fixes available to winemakers, as well as farming organically or biodynamically. Yet the maker of the un/healthy wines, a producer of natural wines, exports about 90 percent of his wines, including to the world-famous restaurant NOMA in Copenhagen, since people in Austria won’t drink it. 
 
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By Abrar Chaudhury

A new journal paper by Oxford-based CCAFS researchers presents a participatory framework for costing agriculture adaptation interventions using varied assumptions of experts and local actors.

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By Joost Vervoort (CCAFS) and Michael Balinga (CIFOR)

CGIAR research programs join forces with Burkina Faso to support the development of a national plan for the rural sector using scenario-guided policy planning.

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By Hannah Rowlands

Last week, the Oxford Martin School hosted a seminar about the health and environmental imapct of our diets, as part of their seminar series "Health in the 21st century: what’s new?".

You can watch the seminar again on their website, but here are some notes that summarise the main arguments made by the three speakers.

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By Hannah Rowlands

We were fortunate enough to have Professor James Jones, University of Florida, one of the principal investigators on AgMIP, speak to us recently in Oxford about "Model-Based Integrated Assessment of Food Security".

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The 2017 Oxford Food Forum seeks to showcase diverse understandings of the food system that break down traditional silos constraining connectivity between people, places, and problems within the food system.

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