Nine more TEDx talks on food security

Last year we brought you six of our favourite TEDx talks on food security and since then we’ve discovered a whole lot more. Here are nine more interesting talks we think you might like.

JosetteJosette Sheeran, former head of the UN’s World Food Program, talks about why, in a world with enough food for everyone, people still go hungry, still die of starvation, still use food as a weapon of war. Her vision: “Food is one issue that cannot be solved person by person. We have to stand together.” Watch the video.

BittmanMark Bittman, New York Times food writer, weighs in on what’s wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it’s putting the entire planet at risk. Watch the video.

HalweilBrian Halweil, publisher of Edible Manhattan, was on track to become a doctor until he realized that repairing the global food system could help to conserve people’s health and wellbeing more. Halweil believes that the local food movement is a truly powerful medicine. Watch the video.

RedmondLa Donna Redman, Senior Program Associate in Food and Justice at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and long-time food activist, examines how the root causes of violence and public health concerns experienced by her community are strongly connected to the local food system, and are best addressed by making changes in that system. Watch the video.

BaehrBirke Baehr, at the time just 11-years old, presents his take on a major source of our food — far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localize food production. Watch the video.

mark-post-900x506Mark Post, a specialist in tissue engineering at Maastricht University in The Netherlands introduces Cultured Beef to the world and explains the process behind its growth and the future he envisions for in-vitro meat. Watch the video.

[Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Big Data and development: Upsides, downsides and a lot of questions, Duncan Green, Oxfam

Cash Crops With Dividends: Financiers Transforming Strawberries Into Securities, The New York Times

Video: ‘Journey of a gene’ illustrates science of genetic engineering for consumers, Genetic Literacy Project

Why NGOs can’t be trusted on GMOs, The Guardian

The Guardian, Marc Gunther and some NGOs can’t be trusted on GMOs, Political Concern

International Food Security Assessment, 2014-24, USDA

On Trial: Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, Chatham House

Could businesses do for aid what Amazon did for retail?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Missing Food, APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development

The Potential Impacts of Mandatory Labeling for Genetically Engineered Food in the United States, CAST

‘Peak soil’ threatens future global food security, Reuters [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Roadmap for Strengthening Forest and Farm Producer Organizations, FAO

Six innovations revolutionising farming, The Guardian

Could insects feed the hungry world of tomorrow?, BBC

Beating the heat, Nature Biotechnology

Crop yields and global food security, Australian Government (GRDC)

Acres of genetically modified corn nearly doubled in a decade, Harvest Public Media

What’s the best way to measure empowerment?, Duncan Green, Oxfam

Majority of African Farm Workers Struggle to Afford Food, Gallup

Wild about Agricultural Innovation in Botswana, Global Food for Thought

Pesticide blamed for bee deaths now linked to bird declines, Los Angeles Times

Food Security and WTO Domestic Support Disciplines post-Bali, ICTSD

Why does Europe hate genetically modified food?, Rappler

Can Africa create a new green generation of food producers?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Higher Food Prices Can Help to End Hunger, Malnutrition and Food Waste, IPS

[Read more…]

14 agricultural infographics – The rise and rise of the infographic part two

Last year we posted a blog article about the role of infographics in communicating policy and advocacy messages in a simple, accessible and powerful way. The trend for the infographic to present big data and hard hitting facts to the masses is still growing and here are some more infographics we think you should take a look at:

  1. Oxfam Australia in their infographic, What’s wrong with our food system, look at why so many farmers are hungry.
  2. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center documents Advances in global agriculture.
  3. Public Health Degree investigate the Two sides of the global food crisis.
  1. Online Schools compare Oil fields with corn fields in terms of their productivity and greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. The United States Agency for International Development’s infographic, The global state of agriculture, looks ahead to how we must increase food for a growing population.
  3. The International Food Policy Research Institute document how conservation agriculture works in Farming for the long haul.
  4. Monsanto explores The role of data science in agriculture.
  5. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, through their FAOSTAT database, explores Our food and agriculture in numbers. The FAO have also created Genetic resources and biodiversity for food and agriculture.
  6. Raconteur presents the facts on Sustainable agriculture.
  7. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have created several infographics entitled Simple innovations help African farmers thrive, Growing rice for a hungry world and Making progress on the MDGs.
  8. Float Mobile Learning examines how Mobile technologies in North American agriculture have developed and progressed.
  9. GSMA M-Agri have published an infographic on the Agricultural productivity gap and the opportunity for mobile.
  10. ONE’s, A growing opportunity: Measuring investments in African agriculture, investigates whether promises by governments and donors have been kept.
  11. The International Food Policy Research Institute look at Meat: the good, the bad and the complicated.

 

New books for 2014

ID-10031308Here we bring you some of the latest books addressing topics such as food policy, global food security, African political change, gender mainstreaming and permaculture.

Frontiers in Food Policy: Perspectives on Sub-Saharan Africa edited by Walter Falcon and Rosamond Naylor.

This volume is a compilation of papers from the Center on Food Security and the Environment’s Global Food Policy and Food Security Symposium series discussing such topics as food price volatility, agricultural R&D and climate change.

Crop yields and global food security: will yield increase continue to feed the world? By Tony Fischer, Derek Byerlee and Greg Edmeades.

This is an reference book discusses the opportunities for crop yield increase to feed the world to 2050. Aimed at agricultural scientists and economists, decision-makers in the food production industry, concerned citizens and tertiary students, it includes information on crop area and yield change for wheat, rice, maize, soybean and 20 other important crops; a detailed tour of the key breadbasket regions of the world; a discussion on ways for achieving the target yields without a substantial increase in cultivated lands; and implications of further yield increase for resource use, agricultural sustainability and the environment.

Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat by Philip Lymbery, Compassion in World Farming

Over three years, the author has travelled the world bearing witness to the hidden cost of cheap meat and the devastating impact of factory farming – on people, animals and our planet. The result – Farmageddon – is a wake-up call, exposing factory farming as one of the most pressing issues of our time; responsible for unparalleled food waste, damage to our health and the countryside, and the biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet.

Global Food Futures: Feeding the World in 2050 by Brian Gardner

By 2050 the world will be faced with the enormous challenge of feeding 9 billion people despite being affected by climate change, rising energy costs and pressure on food growing land and other major resources. How will the world produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people? What will be the impact of food shortages and high prices on areas in crisis such as sub-Sahara Africa? Where will future production growth come from? And how do we balance the need for environmental protection with sustainable agricultural production methods. This text presents a scholarly, balanced approach to the contentious area of food production and supply up to 2050 – tackling the global food situation in all its totality, from agricultural production, technological advance, dietary concerns, population changes, income trends, environmental issues, government food and agriculture policy, trade, financial markets, macroeconomics and food security. [Read more…]

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Steady increase in incidents of low levels of GM crops in traded food and feed, FAO

Victoria Seeds: Changing lives through wealth creation, Josephine Okot

The End of the ‘Developing World’, The New York Times

Book review: ‘The Meat Racket’ by Christopher Leonard, The Washington Post

GM Crops Lead to Increase in Trade Disruptions – UN Report, Sustainable Pulse

How the global banana industry is killing the world’s favourite fruit, Quartz

Agroforestry can ensure food security and mitigate the effects of climate change in Africa, EurekAlert

What can would-be African lions learn from the Asian tigers? It’s all about how urban elites see farmers, according to ODI, Duncan Green, Oxfam

Fertilizer in small doses yields higher returns for less money, Phys.org

Storm brewing over WHO sugar proposal, Nature

Food system that fails poor countries needs urgent reform, says UN expert, The Guardian

UN expert calls for bridging gap between urban consumers and local food producers, UN

Food Tank By The Numbers: Family Farming, Food Tank

The Power of Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (HCES) to Inform Evidence-Based Nutrition Interventions and Policies, USAID

Making livestock farming more sustainable

ID-1005418The livestock sector is important as a source of protein and income, and some one billion people rely on livestock for their livelihood but it is generally accepted that the world’s livestock systems place a huge burden on the environment, for example, contributing 14.5% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Some 45% of these emissions originate from the production of feed. The one billion tons of cereals produced for feed each year could feed an estimated 3.5 billion humans. The health impacts of a diet high in meat have also been widely reported.  It is clear that the world’s livestock systems are not sustainable but how can we change this? Two new reports address this challenge.

A Nature commentary piece authored by Eisler et al, discusses the need for the sustainable intensification of livestock. They highlight eight strategies to cut the environmental and economic costs of livestock farming while increasing the quantity and quality of the food they produce.

1)      Feed animals less human food. Of the third or more of cereal grains going to livestock feed, 40% goes to ruminants. But ruminants, such as cattle, can survive on food inedible to humans, such as hay, silage and high-fibre crop residues. They can also graze in marginal areas leaving prime agricultural land for growing human food.

2)      Raise regionally appropriate animals. Highly productive livestock breeds such as Holstein cattle have been introduced around the world in the pursuit of increased productivity. Given that they are a temperate breed, however, they are often expensive and labour-intensive to manage in other climates, and yields can be less than a third of normal yields under these conditions. Working with breeds adapted to local conditions such as those resistant to local pests and diseases may be a less risky option, particularly for poor households.

3)      Keep animals healthy. Improving hygiene, quarantine and disease surveillance practices can help avoid animal diseases being transmitted to humans. 13 livestock-related zoonoses cause 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths each year. Improving husbandry practices and animal welfare, for example keeping livestock at lower densities, can improve the health of livestock and the quantity and quality of livestock products.

4)      Adopt smart supplements. Specific plant extracts can help microbial populations in the rumen to grow faster, using nitrogen and energy more efficiently and boosting yields without significantly increasing GHG emissions. And smart supplements don’t have to be expensive: a water fern in India is a source of extra protein for cattle and goats. [Read more…]