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

Posted on Posted in Future food, Useful Links

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 […]

Disruption to meet net-zero

Posted on Posted in Low-carbon innovations, Useful Links

Post written by Emilie Vrain. To reach net zero, rapid changes across society will be needed. A report published by UKERC provides insights into the level of disruption that could be required by various sectors. Extremely relevant to our SILCI project, the report highlights how heat, electricity, transport and construction may need to change to remain competitive and meet future carbon targets i.e. change their business models and operating practices or phase out core assets.    

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 […]

Environmental benefits of shared e-scooters brought into question

Posted on Posted in Future mobility, Useful Links

In cities across the world, dockless electric scooters are becoming an ever-more common sight.  These are often promoted as being an environmentally friendly way on travelling within a city, but this recent research paper by Joseph Hollingsworth and his colleagues finds that the truth behind these claims is more complicated.  When taking into account the materials and […]

Calculate the carbon footprint of your diet

Posted on Posted in Future food, Useful Links

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 […]

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 […]