Crops

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

The Oxford Martin Future of Food Programme and The British Museum hosted a One Day Conference on the 23rd August 2018, at The Oxford Martin School, Oxford

The challenge of feeding an ever increasing population requires a whole food systems approach to agricultural and food security research, in order to deliver productive, resilient and sustainable food and farming. The environmental challenges posed by agriculture are huge, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, localised pollution, and water, forest, land and biodiversity loss. Conversely, climate change, water scarcity, rising global temperatures, and extreme weather will also have severe long-term effects on agricultural production. Archaeological, historical, and anthropological research are all underdeveloped resources in modern agricultural sustainability studies, but are tools well-suited to investigating food security and agricultural development over time under different challenges. 

 

(Image taken by Naomi Sykes)

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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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By Lindsay Turnbull, University of Oxford

Organic farming is a trade off: it prohibits the use of certain chemicals and inorganic fertilisers, which usually results in lower yields, and hence higher prices. With arguments about health benefits inconclusive, one might ask what reasons there are to pay the organic premium.

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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 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 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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By Hannah Rowlands.

Last week, The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the Plants for the 21st Century Institute were fortunate enough to host Jack Bobo, Senior Advisor for Biotechnology for the United States Department of State, giving a talk about biotechnology, agriculture and food security. In this blog post, I summarise some of the arguments he made.

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Speaker: Dr. Gary Martin (Global Diversity Foundation)

Time: 5.30pm

Date: Thursday, December 4th

Venue: Danson Room, Trinity College

Sponsored by the Trinity College Scientific Society

Refreshments will be provided.

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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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Date: Thursday, June 20 2013

Time: 12:30pm

Venue: Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, 100 Strand, London, WC2R 0EW

Lunch Presentation and commentary chaired by Nick Spencer, Director Client Strategies & Research, Russell Investments

A Preliminary Model for Constructing Tailored Farmland Portfolios

Dane Rook. D.Phil. Candidate, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford

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