food system

The final day of FERN’s food-waste series: the role of farm-labor abuse, and charting waste through apples

An estimated 33 percent — some 78 million tons — of the U.S. food supply is wasted every year, including nearly a pound of food per day in every household. This in a country with some 44 million food insecure people. It’s also a climate problem; all the waste generates methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. Can’t we just send would-be-wasted food to hungry mouths? Unfortunately, our food system is notoriously inefficient, with waste found on farms, in grocery stores, schools, and our refrigerators.This special six-part series, produced in partnership with Inverse, looks at how data, technology, ingenuity, and common sense can be used to fight this waste. With all these ingredients, and a handful of worms, the solution may be within reach.

At COP28, 134 nations agree agriculture ‘must urgently … transform’

More than two-thirds of the nations in the world, representing 5.7 billion people and 70 percent of global food production, signed a declaration at the UN climate summit assigning agriculture and food systems a role in combatting global warming. It was the first such linkage of food and climate action and while it was applauded, the praise was salted with "show me" skepticism.

FERN talks COP28 and food-system reform with World Wildlife Fund

The next UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, opens on Thursday in Dubai. This year, food systems issues will play a more central role in the negotiations than ever before, with a day of the conference devoted to food, for the first time. Food and agriculture account for roughly one-third of …

Food emissions could blow through Paris climate target — study

The production, distribution and consumption of food could add nearly 1 degree C to global warming by 2100, said a study in the journal Nature Climate Change, written by four climate scientists at the Environmental Defense Fund. “This additional warming alone is enough to surpass the 1.5 …

Report: Food-system change ‘startlingly absent’ from countries’ climate change commitments

Food systems account for roughly a third of global greenhouse emissions worldwide, yet a new analysis finds that strategies to reform how food is grown, processed and consumed are “startlingly absent” from most countries’ plans to tackle climate change. (No paywall)

Report: Governments must ‘drastically improve’ efforts to reduce emissions in food, land-use systems 

As the first week of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) winds down, a new analysis of emissions-reduction pledges finds that those countries that have contributed the most to climate change have committed to do far too little to reduce emissions from the food system and leverage the carbon sequestration potential of landscapes. (No paywall)

As COP26 nears, activists say agriculture should be a bigger part of the agenda

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which starts Oct. 31 in Glasgow, has been billed as a “turning point” for humanity and the “last, best chance” of averting climate disaster. And given the growing awareness of the central role that food and agricultural systems play in climate change—both as a cause and as part of a potential solution—many activists say that the sector is not as big a piece of the COP26 agenda as it should be. (No paywall)

IUCN Congress dispatch: A paradigm shift for the food system

In the face of climate change, biodiversity loss, and growing global food insecurity, conservationists, farmers, and policymakers called for a “paradigm shift” in global food production at the IUCN World Conservation Congress on Tuesday. To get there, they urged the expansion of agroecology as a way to build a food system that can help protect and restore the environment while feeding the world.(No paywall)

CDC report reveals thousands of previously undisclosed Covid-19 cases in food workplaces

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an updated report on the spread of Covid-19 among food manufacturing and agricultural workers on Monday, revealing thousands of previously unreported cases and reiterating the disproportionate impact that the virus has had on workers of …

FERN asks leaders about the future of the food system

The novel coronavirus crisis has made it impossible to ignore the fundamental weaknesses of our system of food production and distribution. Highly efficient, this system evolved to fulfill expectations of endless choice, immediate service, high yields, and low prices — but it has come at a cost. Now the country is experiencing food shortages, massive food waste, and rising hunger, while food processing plants have become hotspots of Covid-19. FERN asked a handful of people who work within the system, or who study it, what needs to change and got their views in a series of short statements. Click here for the full article. (No paywall)

GWU lauches a food leadership institute

With an eye to grooming leaders in U.S. food policy, a Washington-based university is launching a one-year program to prepare graduates to take a guiding hand in resolving climate change and food inequalities. Former deputy agriculture secretary Kathleen Merrigan says the Food Policy Leadership Institute will "supercharge" the work of the Food Institute that she leads at George Washington University.

Stagnant wages and higher injury rates for workers in U.S. food chain

One of every seven American workers, 21.5 million in all, are employed in the food system, which recovered relatively quickly from the 2008-09 recession. But the "workers themselves have not seen positive changes," says a new report. "Poor working conditions, below-average wages and discriminatory and abusive practices are commonplace across the food chain."

“Fuel, it’s what’s for dinner”

From grow lights in greenhouses and massive diesel-powered farm tractors to the refrigerators in millions of American homes, the food system ranks as a major power user. "Up to a fifth of our nation’s total energy use goes into growing, transporting, processing and eventually preparing our food, but those energy inputs are often hidden," says the opening story of a series by Harvest Public Media and Inside Energy.

A food system that unites

Ricardo Salvador, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, discusses the recent commentary he co-authored, “The Food System Should Unite Us, Not Divide Us.”

In top U.S. yogurt state, dairy farm workers are hard to hire

California is the No. 1 dairy state, but the popularity of Greek-style yogurt has turned New York into the top state for yogurt production, with more than 40 producers including Chobani, says the Los Angeles Times.

“More resilient” agriculture vital to future food supply-FAO

Around the globe, "food systems need to be more sustainable, inclusive and resilient," says the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In a speech in Paris, Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said...

“Rebuild a food system from the bottom up”

The eight-minute film "Man in a Maze" opens with an aerial view of fresh produce being dumped into a landfill at the Mexico-U.S. border, and ends with an aerial view of a community garden.

Green group names “dirty dozen” food additives

The Environmental Working Group said its newly released report, "EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives," shows the need for better government oversight of the food system.

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