Focus on climate change and biodiversity at this year’s Oxford Real Farming Conference

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Three themes were especially salient at the ORFC 2020:  the criteria for allocating subsidies to farmers/land managers for providing public services such as flood prevention or enhancing biodiversity  the land sharing vs land sparing debate and the implications of these approaches for how we produce our food  a recognition of the climate crisis and the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of food and farming systems  Much of the discussion centred on how to support farmers, on already narrow profit […]

Does locally produced food reduce C02 emissions?

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The ‘food miles’ debate has been going for over a decade. Most studies agree that the CO2 emissions related to food production are greater than those associated with transporting food. However, reducing transportation emissions remains an important element in decarbonising the food and agriculture sector. Two recent articles find very different results; Pérez-Neira and Grollmus-Venegas (2018) suggest that using peri-urban horticulture to produce food can reduce emissions by 24 to 66%, whereas Peano et al. (2018) find no significant difference between alternative food networks […]

Meal kits: less C02…or more plastic pollution?

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Meal kits are becoming ever more popular. Companies such as HelloFresh or Mindful Chef offer consumers easy to cook, freshly prepared food without the fuss of planning meals or going to the shops. Two articles, Heard et al. (2019) and Fenton (2017), investigate the carbon intensity of meal kits and find they produce less CO2 emissions compared to the same meal bought from supermarkets. This is because the pre-portioned ingredients of meal kits reduce domestic food waste. However, Gee et al. (2019) suggest that meal kits may actually increase emissions because they use significantly more […]

SILCI at the Royal Geographical Society conference

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One of the SILCI team, Mark Wilson, recently gave a talk at the Royal Geographical Society annual conference in London. The talk was entitled ‘Who uses food apps and why? An exploration of their disruptive potential’. It focused on how food apps can help people to reduce their carbon emissions, as well as presenting some preliminary findings of Mark’s ongoing research into the consumer appeal of online food hubs. 

Calculate the carbon footprint of your diet

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Ever wondered about the carbon footprint of the food you eat? Now you can easily find out with this informative BBC carbon footprint calculator. Give it a try! The calculator is based on this study by Poore and Nemececk which looks at how to reduce food’s environmental impact through the actions of producers and consumers. 

Food waste on farms – new report by WRAP

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Efforts to reduce food waste, and the associated GHG emissions, are ongoing across the food supply chain. In this report, WRAP provide an updated estimate for food waste in UK primary production; 1.6 million tonnes per annum, or 3.3% of all food harvested, is wasted (this excludes ‘surplus food’ which is used as animal feed or to produce bio-materials). For comparison, 7.1 million tonnes are wasted […]

SILCI goes to the Pint of Science festival

Posted on Posted in Future food, Low-carbon innovations, News, Useful Links

Two SILCI team members, Charlie Wilson and Mark Wilson, recently gave a talk at the Pint of Science festival. The talk, entitled ‘Sustainable solutions – a greener, digital future’, was hosted at a pub in Norwich, giving members of the public an opportunity to learn about low carbon innovations and the SILCI team’s research. Pint of Science is an annual public engagement […]

Disruptive innovations still need regulatory approval

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Of the start ups showcasing their ideas at the Technoport 2019 conference in Trondheim, the tech capital of Norway, one stood out as offering both a potentially disruptive innovation and potential emission reductions. Invertapro breeds black soldier flies and mealworm beetles for use as protein substitutes in both human and animal food chains. Although they […]

Cultured meat – is it low carbon?

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‘Cultured meat’ is an emerging technology in which animal muscle cells are produced through tissue culture in a controlled laboratory environment. According to the FAO, livestock rearing (particularly cattle) is responsible for nearly two thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Cultured meat is regarded as a low carbon alternative way to produce meat if it can be manufactured on an industrial scale. However, researchers at the University of Oxford claim cultured meat could, […]

SILCI goes to Riga!

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SILCI researcher Mark Wilson recently attended the SISA 3 (Systems Innovation towards Sustainable Agriculture) workshop, which was held in Riga and organised by the European Society for Rural Sociology. He presented a poster on how consumers can use digital innovations to reduce their food-related greenhouse gas emissions. The SILCI project is exploring end-user innovations which aim to reduce food waste, encourage dietary change, or support local food networks, all of which have the potential to […]