The Oxford Martin Future Of Food Programme And The British Museum Is Hosting A One Day Conference On The 23rd August 2018, At The Oxford Martin School, Oxford
Today’s 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. The study of subsistence systems from the ancient past through to the last century can provide insight into future agricultural resilience by exploring the role, value and cultivation of local food crops in parts of the world where dramatic changes are seen. Local information about changing agrobiodiversity and long-term regional crop histories can add essential value and context to debates concerning future agricultural strategies and interventions, especially around new crop introductions or utilising ‘forgotten’ or increasingly underused cereals and pulses.