Social & Cultural

This theme covers social aspects of the food system, including consumer culture in relation to food, the history of food and the development of agriculture, interactions between food and other social issues, and the wider implications of food-related technologies.

Our researchers' reactions to George Obsorne's inclusion of a sugar tax in the latest governmental budget:

Professor Susan Jebb:

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On 2nd March 2017 the BBC World Service and Wellcome Collection hosted a panel discussion exploring whether vegetarianism is a sustainable option globally. The event was recorded in front of a live audience and will be broadcast on the World Service in April.

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The mass expansion of food banks across the United Kingdom is associated with cuts in spending on local services, welfare benefits and higher unemployment rates, a study has found.

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Good Food Oxford has launched an Oxford Good Food Charter, a vision for a healthy, fair and sustainable food system in Oxford City.

The first page lays out nine points for a better food system, and the second page lists five simple things you or your organisation can do to help achieve the vision - read the Oxford Good Food Charter.

Good Food Oxford is a new network for a better food system in Oxford City, working together for healthy, fair, sustainable and tasty food.

The Charter will be publicly launched during the Good Food Oxford Launch Fest in Bonn Square from 10am-2pm on Saturday 14th June.

If you are interested in getting involved in this initiative, visit the Good Food Oxford website.

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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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The Global Food Security Programme, working with Cambridge University, recently completed a project to identify priority research questions for the UK food system. The full results are published online in the journal Food Security.

In a blog post on the Global Food Security Programme website, John Ingram explains the process they went through to establish these research priorities, and summarises the outcomes.

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Oxford asks - What does it take to feed a city?

Commissioned by Oxford’s City Council, ‘FoodPrinting Oxford’ calculates the resources and risks involved with Oxford’s food supply, and explores how best to make the city’s food system more reliable.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from the LandShare website here: http://www.landshare.org/uploads/7/5/4/1/7541639/food_printing_web.pdf

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In climate change adaptation and development circles we often speak of ‘politics’ and ‘power’ as things that stand in the way of progress. We see this frequently in international negotiations where obstruction and grandstanding are common negotiating tactics by politically motivated actors. Yet this negative view of politics is altogether more widespread than that—it’s present in national planning workshops, project development, and just about any forum were complex interests are negotiated. 

Because power and politics are viewed as inherently negative forces, climate change adaptation theorists and practitioners are often guilty of creating a political deficit in adaptation— that is, we choose to avoid these forces altogether. Instead, we view climate change and its responses as a purely technical endeavour, modelling impacts and using empirical data to prioritize adaptation actions (science rightly tells us that this is the correct approach!). 

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By Thomas White, University of Cambridge

 

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By Rachel Loopstra and David Stuckler, Department of Sociology

Foodbank use in the UK has topped one million for the first time, according to new figures from the Trussell Trust. The charity that oversees more than 400 food banks across the country has recorded a 19% rise in the number of food parcels being given out to families in need.

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