Food & Agriculture

FOOD & AGRICULTURE

We have a rapidly growing population. In the last 200 years, we have gone globally from 1 billion to 7.7 billion people. We continue to expect an annual growth of 82 million people, anticipating 8.5 billion people by 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050. That is a lot of impact on the planet and its resources and a lot of mouths to feed.

Some facts to consider:

This FOOD AND AGRICULTURE section is organized so that you can digest information in small bites. There is a lot to learn and a lot of decisions and choices to be made. In FOOD there is help for individuals, restaurants, and organizations to better understand the changing landscape so that they can make decisions that help with climate change.

In AGRICULTURE the focus is on the greater issues, such as the effects of deforestation and industrial farming, as well as some of the nuances which affect the decisions of those who provide food for us: the farmers, ranchers and fishermen.

CURRENT NEWS

We need to talk about water – and the fact that the world is running out of it

By George Monbiot 03/04/24
There’s a flaw in the plan. It’s not a small one: it is an Earth-sized hole in our calculations. To keep pace with the global demand for food, crop production needs to grow by at…
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The farming conundrum

By Manuela Andreoni 02/29/24
Two news stories this week — one that made headlines, and one that got less attention — point to the fiendish difficulty of reinventing agriculture to reduce its heavy toll on the climate. The first…
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Walmart Heirs Bet Big on Journalism

By Bill Lascher 02/28/24
From vast riparian watersheds to fisheries to croplands, few corners of the nation’s—and the world’s—food systems have escaped the eyes of the Walton family. The children and grandchildren of Walmart co-founder Sam Walton have long…
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What the Latest Farm Census Says About the Changing Ag Landscape

By Lisa Held 02/21/24
These are the kinds of data that can be gleaned from the Census of Agriculture, a massive, wide-ranging survey the federal government has been conducting regularly since 1840. Now completed every five years by the…
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The Climate Summit Starts to Crack a Tough Nut: Emissions From Food

By Somini Sengupta 12/12/23
It’s hard enough for world leaders to figure out the future of coal, oil and gas in a warming world. What about the future of bread and milk? The food system accounts for around 30…
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The Money Food Badly Needs for Climate Fight Is Rolling In

By Agnieszka de Sousa 12/10/23
Supercharging crop seeds to better withstand drought. Breeding cows that burp out less methane. And tracking cattle to prevent deforestation.
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A Guide to Six Greenwashing Terms Big Ag Is Bringing to COP28

By Rachel Sherrington and Hazel Healy 09/21/23
Agriculture, which is responsible for over one third of the world’s emissions, will be under the spotlight at the upcoming COP28 global climate summit in Dubai.
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How Climate Change is Affecting Agriculture and Food Supply

By Simon Elstad 07/13/23
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and it significantly impacts agriculture and food supply. Rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and more extreme weather events make growing food more…
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South East Asian countries try to head off climate change impact on agriculture, fishing

By Renuka Kalpana 07/10/23
With global temperatures rising, countries in South East Asia are being forced to take mitigation measures, including in the agricultural and fishing sectors. Each passing year adds to the evidence that rising temperatures, shifting precipitation…
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Florida’s strawberry industry threatened by climate change

By Deirdra Funcheon 06/05/23
Florida's strawberry industry is likely going to be impacted by climate change. Why it matters: Higher temperatures and water stress are already impacting agricultural yields, according to a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund…
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Slim pickings: Peach crop wiped out across much of Georgia

By Meris Lutz and Drew Kann 06/02/23
Jim Markley’s 1,300 peach trees are usually so laden with fruit this time of year his workers take a Wiffle bat to the branches to thin out the crop, leaving thousands of tiny unripe peaches…
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Final Day of AIM for Climate Summit Announces Groundbreaking Initiatives on the Road to COP28

05/10/23
Special U.S. Presidential Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry issued an urgent call today for climate action by announcing ways to partner and accelerate investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation during the final…
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KEY RESOURCES

Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nation

06/13/22
→ The global production of primary crops increased by 52 percent between 2000 and 2020, to 9.3 billion tonnes in 2020. ...

Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy

12/27/21
The U.S. agriculture sector extends beyond the farm business to include a range of farm-related industries. The largest of these are food service and food manufacturing. Americans' expenditures on food amount to 13 percent of…

Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods

09/30/21
Agriculture and land use are major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but previous estimates were either highly aggregate or provided spatial details for subsectors obtained via different methodologies. Using a model–data integration approach that…

Here’s How Much Food Contributes to Climate Change

09/13/21
As with most things related to people, the food we eat comes with a carbon cost. Soil tillage, crop and livestock transportation, manure management and all the other aspects of global food production generate greenhouse…

Civil Eats

04/17/19
Civil Eats is a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. 

Resources for Advocacy School Food and Ag Policy

08/13/19
A list of organizations working on food issues, particularly school food and the farm bill. Note that information about how to contact government officials appears at the end.

17 Organizations Feeding the World Through Regenerative Agriculture

08/13/19
Transitioning to more sustainable forms of agriculture remains critical, as many current agriculture practices have serious consequences including deforestation and soil degradation. But despite agriculture’s enormous potential to hurt the environment, it also has enormous…

119 Organizations Shaking Up the Food System in 2019

06/24/19
Food Tank compiled a list of 119 organizations to keep an eye on in 2019 that are working towards a more sustainable food system.

MORE NEWS

The 8 Countries Most Affected by Climate Change

04/21/23  
In regions around the world, the climate crisis is causing more frequent and intense extreme weather events. From droughts to hurricanes to floods, these climate extremes are driving more people into severe hunger and poverty.…
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A Threat to Global Food Security

By Manuel Otero   04/21/23  
In the context of more frequent extreme climate events, South America is experiencing a severe drought for the third consecutive year – the worst in a century, primarily due to the La Niña phenomenon that…
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What does the IRA mean for agtech?

By Daniel Rath and Lara Bryant   04/10/23  
In the wake of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)’s historic $19.5 billion investment in climate-smart agriculture, agtech companies have a unique opportunity to help mitigate U.S. agriculture’s contributions to climate change. The recent Intergovernmental Panel…
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IPCC report findings suggest how food production must change to cope with climate crisis

By Augustus Bambridge-Sutton   03/22/23  
On Monday 20 March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the final part of its Sixth Assessment Report. The report was clear about the catastrophic effect that climate change could have on the food…
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Food brands struggling to weather the ‘polycrisis’ unleashed by war and climate change

By Sarah LaBrecque   03/13/23  
If you were looking to make a Greek salad in the UK in late February of this year, you would have had to get creative in the kitchen. With national shortages of tomatoes and cucumbers,…
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Climate change presents real threats to U.S. agricultural production, forest resources and rural economies.

01/17/23  
Producers and land managers across the country are experiencing climate impacts on their operations through shifting weather patterns, often resulting in increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods, drought and wildfire.
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Green farming: The shift in food and agriculture

By Joshua Katz and Others   08/01/22  
Close to one-third (27 percent) of the world’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions stem from food and agriculture—over half from animal farming. A net-zero transition in food and agriculture would impact how we farm, what we eat,…
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Extreme heat and humidity kill thousands of cattle in Kansas

By Amy Cheng   06/16/22  
Thousands of cattle in Kansas have died in recent days due to high heat and humidity, dealing a blow to one of the country’s leading cattle production states as the industry grapples with extreme weather…
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World Food Prize goes to former farmer who answers climate change question: ‘So what?’

By Julia Simon   05/05/22  
In the early days of climate science in the '80s, she was one of the first researchers making projections of how the changing climate would affect North American crops. Still, the researcher at NASA's Goddard…
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UN land report: Five key takeaways for climate change, food systems and nature loss

By Daisy Dunne and Others   04/27/22  
It says that human activities have already altered 70% of the Earth’s land surface, degrading up to 40% of it. Four of the nine “planetary boundaries” – limits on how humans can safely use Earth’s…
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Five charts that show why our food is not ready for the climate crisis

By Nina Lakhani, Alvin Chang, Rita Liu and Andrew Witherspoon   04/22/22  
The industrialization of agriculture in the last century boosted production around the world – but that success also made our food systems much more vulnerable to the growing climate crisis.
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The Field Report: New UN Climate Report Urges Food Systems Solutions—Before It’s Too Late

By Lisa Held   04/04/22  
According to the world’s top climate scientists, greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise over the last decade, and that trend must be stopped by 2025 in order to limit warming to 1.5°C and avoid catastrophic…
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The Next Cloud-size Disruption: Food and Agriculture?

By Kevin Silverman   01/21/22  
The food and agriculture sectors are on the precipice of a fundamental shift that shows many of the hallmarks of the change that software and computer infrastructure started going through 15 years ago.
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Rich nations could see ‘double climate dividend’ by switching to plant-based foods

By Ayesha Tandon   01/10/22  
Adopting a more plant-based diet could give rich countries a “double climate dividend” of lower emissions and more land for capturing carbon, a new study says.
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The Food System’s Carbon Footprint Has Been Vastly Underestimated

By Greta Moran   06/30/21  
As drought, heatwaves, and hurricanes ramp up for the summer, and the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit draws near, a group of scientists and policy experts hope to send a clear message about just how…
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Not A Marketing Moment’: Brands Increase Support For AAPI Causes Through Donations And Dialogue

By Marty Swant and Jenny Rooney   04/05/21  
In an effort to assist the Biden administration’s effort to combat climate change, an alliance between organizations which have butted heads in the past is forming. The Food and Agriculture Alliance (FACA), a mix of…
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Climate Change May Reduce Children’s Diet Diversity

By Christian Fogerty   03/02/21  
When it comes to improving nutrition in marginalized communities, education and infrastructure are some of the first investment targets that come to mind. But these kinds of efforts are not sustainable unless they take into…
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Climate change vs agriculture: Can one farming method—conventional, organic or agroecology—help slow global warming?

By Andrew Porterfield   03/02/21  
Climate change and agriculture appear joined at the hip. Agriculture—through methane, carbon dioxide, and land use—has had an impact on the global climate. And climate change—through drought, heat, and pests—will have an impact on agriculture,…
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Global agriculture will be drastically altered by climate change

By Kimberly M. S. Cartier   02/18/21  
This story originally appeared in EOS.org and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalistic collaboration to strengthen coverage of the climate story.
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Transforming Agriculture to Mitigate Climate Change and Support Public Health

By Lauren Snyder and Cristel Zoebisch   02/11/21  
Many of us spent most of 2020 sheltering at home, doing our part to curb the pandemic we are weathering as a global community. While there is solidarity in the fact that people around the…
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The Environmental Upside of Modern Farming

By Robert Paarlberg   02/05/21  
If you wanted to produce food at the lowest cost to the environment, what methods would you use? Would you select modern farming methods (large-scale, specialized, mechanized and increasingly digital), or would you opt for…
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Clues From Wines Grown in Hot, Dry Regions May Help Growers Adapt to a Changing Climate

By Liza Gross   01/02/21  
Wine connoisseurs can talk endlessly about how terroir—the mysterious alchemy of soil, climate and landscape conditions—conjures the classic flavor profiles of their favorite wines. Climate change will likely disrupt these conditions, leaving some regions too…
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The Energy 202: Biden takes aim at historic inequities with his environmental picks

By Dino Grandoni   12/18/20  
A trio of recent picks by President-elect Biden for his environmental team will put environmental justice issues at the center of his administration's agenda. As Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and I report, Biden made a…
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Ohio State soil scientist honored for increasing global food production

By Alayna DeMartini   10/05/20  
A renowned soil scientist at The Ohio State University has just been given the Canadian-based Arrell Global Food Innovation Award for improving soil health, and in doing so, increasing food production around the world. Across…
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Loss of bees causes shortage of key food crops, study finds

By Oliver Milman   07/29/20  
A lack of bees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security.
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Will COVID-19 Make Big Meat Look Like a Bad Investment?

By Lisa Held   07/29/20  
Jeremy Coller would like to be remembered as a man who saved “a few cows from a factory farm.” But unlike animal rights activists who break into barns to document abusive practices or environmentalists who…
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How do you like your beef… old-style cow or 3D-printed?

By Gareth Rubin   11/10/19  
After the success of the Greggs vegan sausage roll and the juicy-yet-meatless Impossible Burger, the next new food sensation is coming to a plate near you: 3D-printed steaks and chicken thighs....
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Can regenerative agriculture reverse climate change? Big Food is banking on it.

By Gosia Wozniacka   10/29/19  
Regenerative agriculture works to draw carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil, but there’s an ongoing debate on how much carbon can be stored there and for how long.
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lowa’s farmers – and American eaters – need a national discussion on transforming US agriculture

By Lisa Schulte Moore   10/16/19  
Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses bring the state a lot of political attention during presidential election cycles. But in my view, even though some candidates have outlined positions on food and farming, agriculture rarely gets the attention…
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With $100, You Too Can Invest in Regenerative Agriculture

By Lisa Held   10/02/19  
Steward is putting capital into helping sustainable, small farms grow, while cultivating a new kind of farm investor.
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The Great Flood of 2019: A complete picture of a slow-motion disaster

By Sarah Almukhtar, Blacki Migliozzi and Others   09/14/19  
This year's flooding across the Midwest and the South affected nearly 14 million people, yet the full scale of the slowly unfolding disaster has been difficult to fathom. The volume of water is only one…
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Q&A with Juan Nicolás Hernandez-Aguilera on Coffee and Climate

09/06/19  
How research at Columbia University is making coffee production more sustainable. ...
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Vilsack and Glickman: The next 30 years are critical for agriculture’s future

By Tom Vilsack and Dan Glickman   08/20/19  
For U.S. farmers and ranchers, who are on the front lines in the battle against climate change, tremendous challenges lie ahead: how to nourish an unprecedented population while protecting and enhancing the world in which…
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A systems approach to global agriculture could solve food insecurity

By Michael Ferrari   08/14/19  
When we look across the spectrum of challenges facing humanity, as well as at some of the largest potential commercial opportunities, we need not look any further than the dining table.
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We need genetic engineering to stave off climate change-induced global hunger

By Devang Mehta   08/13/19  
Despite what many say, organic farming will not save us from the worst impacts of climate change.
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To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change

By Rebecca Hersher, Allison Aubrey   08/08/19  
Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.
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2020 Democratic Candidates on Key Food and Agriculture Issues

08/01/19  
Friends of the Earth Action is focusing on two key agriculture issues in the Presidential campaigns: where candidates stand on corporate consolidation and what their plans are to transition to a just, ecologically regenerative agriculture…
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Impossible Foods and Regenerative Grazers Face Off in a Carbon Farming Dust-Up

By Nicole Rasul   06/19/19  
The plant-based burger company called regenerative grazing the “clean coal of meat” in a recent report. That hasn’t gone over well amongst carbon ranchers.
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Decreases in global beer supply due to extreme drought and heat

By Wei Xie   10/15/18  
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world by volume consumed, and yields of its main ingredient, barley, decline sharply in periods of extreme drought and heat. Although the frequency and severity of…
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Texas Peach Orchards Suffer From Changing Climate

06/03/18  
Here at the Eckhardt family orchard in Fredericksburg, Texas—like all orchards—cold is the switch that triggers the growing sequence that by summer has limbs sagging with ripe, juicy peaches. But the reliable chill season in…
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Climate Town Hall Brings Food and Agriculture to Center Stage

By Charlie Mitchell   09/05/19  
Over the course of seven hours last night, 10 of the leading Democratic presidential candidates spoke at length about climate change—and almost all of them included food and agriculture as a climate-change culprit, and solution.
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Where the 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand on Food and Farming

By Julia Poska and The Civil Eats Editors   05/29/19  
With fewer than 18 months until the 2020 elections, the field is crowded with contenders. There are currently 25 declared presidential candidates, ranging from the well-known (Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren) to the lesser-known…
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What the New Green Deal Means for the Food on Your Plate

By Christopher D. Cook   02/07/19  
The long-awaited policy proposal from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey has finally surfaced—and it aims to turn U.S. agriculture into a positive force for climate change and social justice.
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To tackle climate change we need to rethink our food system

By Kathleen Rogers and Dr. Shenggen Fan   08/14/19  
Yes, our food system is broken, but not irrevocably so. The challenges are enormous, but by understanding the problem and potential solutions, we can effect critical changes in the ways we produce, consume and dispose…
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How digital tech can transform farming and food systems

By John Oswald Method   07/31/19  
Method's John Oswald considers the impact new technologies will have on the future of farming.
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Can regenerative agriculture utilize cows to save the environment?

By Austin Wang   07/31/19  
From an emissions standpoint, cow belches are no joke. But cows could potentially be a sustainable force. Cue regenerative farming.
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Food insecurity worsened by climate extremes

By Mark Alvarado   07/30/19  
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that climate change, conflict and economic instability are increasing food insecurity around the world.
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Seawater Solutions is tacking agriculture’s impact on climate change

By Emmer O’Toole   07/29/19  
A system of farming that creates wetland ecosystems on which food can be grown, while carbon is captured at a rate of up to 40 times higher …
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To feed 10 billion people, we must preserve biodiversity. Here’s how

By Jose Graziano da Silva & Maria Helena Semedo   07/29/19  
At the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), we estimate that a quarter of ... consumption patterns, deforestation and climate change.
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How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

By Alzbeta Klein   07/26/19  
How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions ... how we farm and use our land (whether for food production, forestry, or other ... Vertical farms that rise to the challenge of climate…
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