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Bill Gates has radical plans to change our food. What’s on the menu?

By Stacy Malkan

To the techno-food industrialists, hunger and climate change are problems to be solved with data and engineering. The core ingredients of their revolutionary plan: genetic engineering — and patenting — of everything from seeds and food animals, to microbes in the soil, to the processes we use to make food. Local food cultures and traditional diets could fade away as food production moves indoors to labs that cultivate fake meat and ultra-processed foods.


Are there too many people? All bets are off

By Laura Spinney Photo: Abstract Aerial Art/Getty Images

In 2011, when the global population hit 7 billion, economist David Lam and demographer Stan Becker made a bet. Lam predicted food would get cheaper over the next decade, despite continuing population growth. Becker predicted that food prices would go up, because of the damage humans were doing to the planet, which meant that population growth would outstrip food supply. Becker won and, following his wishes, Lam has just written out a cheque for $194 to the Vermont-based nonprofit Population Media Center, which promotes population stabilisation internationally.


Consumers would pay more for sustainably produced food, study finds

By Fermin Koop Photo: Andrew Fogg / Flickr

If the environment isn’t being polluted and soils aren’t being damaged in its production, consumers in Finland would be OK to pay extra for food, according to a new study. Researchers found that 79% of households there are willing to pay extra for food produced using cropping diversification and other sustainable agricultural practices.


Actions on sustainable food production and consumption for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

By Izabela Delabre, Lily O. Rodriguez and Others

Current food production and consumption trends are inconsistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature. Here, we examine how, and under what conditions, the post-2020 biodiversity framework can support transformative change in food systems. Our analysis of actions proposed in four science-policy fora reveals that subsidy reform, valuation, food waste reduction, sustainability standards, life cycle assessments, sustainable diets, mainstreaming biodiversity, and strengthening governance can support more sustainable food production and consumption.


Growing food and protecting nature can work together. Here’s how

By Thomas Hertel Photo: Unsplash/Richard Bell

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that food security can’t be taken for granted. Putting affordable food on the table requires both innovative producers and well-functioning markets and global supply chains. With disruptions to the system, prices rise, food is scarce – and people go hungry.


Think Food Prices Are Going Up? You’re Not Wrong

By Jaya Saxena Photo: Niloo/Shutterstock

Food prices are soaring around the world, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. This sadly comes at a time when millions of people are out of work and already struggling to afford essentials.

As predicted by climate change experts, extreme weather conditions are wreaking havoc on the global food chain — the recent storms in Texas, which destroyed crops and livestock, being a recent example. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service estimates farmers and ranchers have lost $600 million, the cost of which will ultimately be felt in food shortages and higher prices around the U.S. The storms also disrupted shipping, which led to food waste. “Truck drivers were stuck for days waiting to load or unload produce,” reports the New York Times. “Processing plants had no power. Dairies were forced to dump 14 million gallons of milk, said Sid Miller, the Texas commissioner of agriculture.”




3 Million Refugees in Eastern Africa Risk Going Without Food

By Joe McCarthy

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the most vulnerable populations the hardest, deepening existing inequalities.

In Eastern Africa, an estimated 3 million refugees are at risk of not having enough food, a deteriorating situation that has forced families to consider returning to the places from which they fled, according to the United Nations. The UN is calling for $266 million in additional funding over the next six months to help refugees get enough to eat, particularly children and pregnant women who especially need nutritious food for development.




These 3 Cs can increase food insecurity in Africa, warn experts

By Kiran Pandey

Climate Change, conflicts and the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — the ‘Triple C’ — will impact Africa’s food security, increase malnutrition and restrict development in the long run, alerted panelists at a virtual discussion on extreme weather and natural disasters.

Africa experiences at least two disasters per week, said Amjad Abbashar who leads the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

The discussion was among representatives of leading international multilateral organisations, including International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the African Union. It was held on the sidelines of a four-day Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development that began on March 1, 2021.

As many as 48 African members of FAO had raised similar concerns in October 2020 at the first-ever virtual FAO Regional Conference for Africa.




AgTech: An all-in-one solution to world hunger, climate change and supply chain problems

By Kirsteen Mackay

Agricultural technology, also known as AgTech, agritech, or even agrotechnology, is a growing phenomenon. The idea of farming indoors may seem perplexing, as traditional farming has always had such a wholesome nature/nurture relationship between mother earth and human beings. But it’s no secret the world is facing many serious problems including poverty, war, hunger, and climate change.




Cutting Greenhouse Gases From Food Production Is Urgent, Scientists Say

By Henry Fountain

Rising greenhouse gas emissions from worldwide food production will make it extremely difficult to limit global warming to the targets set in the Paris climate agreement, even if emissions from fossil-fuel burning were halted immediately, scientists reported Thursday.

But they said that meeting one of the targets, limiting overall warming this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, could be achieved through “rapid and ambitious” changes to the global food system over the next several decades, including adopting plant-rich diets, increasing crop yields and reducing food waste.