Crops

Efforts to increase crop yields are critical to meeting growing demands for food from a larger, wealthier population.

Science, Technology & Environmental Policy Program on the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Post-Doctoral Fellow or Associate Research Scholar for Global Agriculture and Climate Change

The Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University invites applications for a position as a post-doctoral research associate in Global Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Forest Protection.

This position will report to and work closely with Tim Searchinger, an Associate Research Scholar, and principal investigator of the project.

To apply, please visit the Princeton University website

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An international panel of scientists is calling for an evidence-driven debate over whether a widely used type of insecticide is to blame for declines in bees and other insect pollinators.

The Oxford Martin School published on May 21st the second in its "restatement" series. Restatements take an area of current policy concern and controversy and attempt to set out the science evidence base in as policy neutral way as possible. They also provide a commentary on the nature of the evidence base.

The restatement, from a group of nine scientists led by Professor Charles Godfray and Professor Angela McLean from the Oxford Martin School, attempts to clarify the scientific evidence available on neonicotinoids to enable different stakeholders to develop coherent policy and practice recommendations. 

The study is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.  It is open access and can be downloaded from the Royal Society website here or you can download a single pdf of the paper with the Annotated Bibliography.

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Sarah Gurr, a plant pathologist in our food research network, is extensively quoted in a News Focus article about the fungal threat to animals and food crops in Science this week.

Read the whole article online here:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6095/636.full

Or download a pdf of the article.

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A report has been published which maps out environment-related risks in the agricultural supply chain and shows how they might affect assets over time.

The report is written by Ben Caldecott, Nicholas Howarth and Patrick McSharry from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Envionment's Stranded Assets Programme.

Download the report from the Stranded Assets Programme website here.

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The Green Food Project (GFP) reported in July 2012 and one of the recommendations suggested follow-on work to investigate the roles that diet and consumption play in the sustainability of the whole food system. It was agreed that this work should continue with the same approach taken in the Green Food Project, to work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders.

Read the Sustainable Consumption Report here

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The balancing act of producing more food sustainably

A policy known as sustainable intensification could help meet the challenges of increasing demands for food from a growing global population, argues a team of scientists in an article in the journal Science.

To read the article in Science without a journal subscription, please click through the links on the FCRN website.

The goal of sustainable intensification is to increase food production from existing farmland says the article in the journal’s Policy Forum by lead authors Dr Tara Garnett and Professor Charles Godfray from the University of Oxford. They say this would minimise the pressure on the environment in a world in which land, water, and energy are in short supply, highlighting that the environment is often overexploited and used unsustainably.

The authors, university researchers and policy-makers from NGOs and the UN, outline a new, more sophisticated account of how ‘sustainable intensification’ should work. They recognise that this policy has attracted criticism in some quarters as being either too narrowly focused on food production or as representing a contradiction in terms.

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Earlier this year, the Environmental Change Institute’s (ECI’s) food systems group held the First Oxford Meeting on Food System Impact Valuation. The Meeting, on the 11 and 12 of April 2017, brought together representatives from some of the world’s largest food companies, civil society, and academia, to discuss standardised and pre-competitive measurement and monetary valuation of environmental, social and health impacts from food systems.
 
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Scientists at Lancaster, Virginia and Oxford universities have produced a web-based tool that allows anyone living in the UK to see their own ‘nitrogen footprint’. The tool, known as the N-Calculator, is available at:

http://www.n-print.org/sites/n-print.org/files/footprint_java/index.html#/home

Read more about the calculator on the N-Print website.

It asks users to put in information so the tool can calculate the likely effect that the food that they eat or the transport they take has on the environment in terms of nitrogen pollution. It is hoped that the tool will lead to more people choosing sustainable ways of living.

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By Professor Mike Hamm, C. S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University (MSU) & visiting fellow of Mansfield College, University of Oxford.

In this blog-post Visiting Fellow, Mike Hamm, critically considers the environmental sustainability of vertical- and indoor farming.  In particular, he explores and challenges claims that fully indoor production systems can provide a significant source of food for urban areas at low carbon cost.  Ultimately, he argues that there are a number of other urban and peri-urban food growing options that offer greater potential, and deserve more policy attention and support.

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By Chase Sova.

Twenty years ago, negotiators from around the world came together in the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The goal: to identify global principles for agricultural exchange. Export subsidies in the late ‘80s from industrialized economies like the United States resulted in the dumping of cheap agricultural products in developing countries, undermining local producers. These and other trends fueled efforts to correct growing inequalities in an increasingly globalized food system. Yet given food security’s central role in national security and an evolving belief in food security as a fundamental human right, an agreement on agriculture was slow to be reached.

Today, the world has come together again, and while the conversation has shifted toward the urgent need to tackle climate change, the same agricultural challenges remain.  Nearly 1 billion people across the world are food insecure or undernourished; populations continue to grow in sub-Saharan African (SSA) and South Asia; and food systems face severe impacts from a world that, on its current trajectory, is likely to be four degrees warmer than present averages.  At the Lima climate negotiations, however, the collective answer to the ‘agricultural question’ was, yet again, to avoid it altogether.

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