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Eating differently FCRN workshop on changing what we eat. Tara Garnett Food Climate Research Network Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food 22-23 April 2014. Ag l ivelihoods 1.3bn. Climate – agriculture @15-20% world GHG . Rural economies.

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eating differently fcrn workshop on changing what we eat

Eating differentlyFCRN workshop on changing what we eat

Tara Garnett

Food Climate Research Network

Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food

22-23 April 2014


Ag livelihoods 1.3bn

  • Climate – agriculture @15-20% world GHG

Rural economies

Land use change & deforestation: agriculture 35% ice free surface

Biodiversity loss

Economy & society


Soil, water & air pollution; salinity

Food production & consumption

Water extraction 70% irrigation-related

Animal health & welfare

Undernutrition (850 mill) & micronutrient deficiencies (2 bn)

Ethics & society


Food safety

Culture & tradition

Overnutrition (fat & energy dense) 1.4 bn

Public acceptability & trust

Food & the big picture: a convergence of concerns

Feminisation of agriculture

Energy use

Food system 20-30% GHG emissions

Post harvest employment – processing → vending UK food industry 7.3% GVA)

Population growth:

9-10 bn peopleby 2050

Livestock feed: 40% global grains

Zoonotic diseases

Power, control, equality

Models of development

Chronic diseases: CHD, strokes, diabetes, cancers

livestock meat

Livestock & meat

The convergence converges….

livestock meat1
Livestock & meat

Occupy 70% agricultural land (1/3 arable land)

Consume 40% grains produced

Emit 14.5% global GHG emissions

Main driver of deforestation, biodiversity loss & land degradation

Over 0.75bn poor livestock keepers

Can recycle residues & utilise ‘leftover’ land

70% diseases zoonotic in origin

Major source water pollution

Meat, dairy & nutrition: protein & micronutrients – but saturated fats and energy

Meat – culture, tradition, enjoyment

Use 15%irrigation water

Ethics: Animal rights, animal welfare

present possible future influences on food system
Present & possible future influences on food system



Economic development

Population growth

Population ageing


Changing cultural attitudes & expectations

Weather & environmental variability

Resource limitations & competition

Cost of inputs

Food prices

China, India

  • All of today’s, but more acute
  • Plus…??
  • Regulations: national & international - influencing carbon, land, inputs, consumption
  • Resource pricing land, water, fuel etc (incl PES and carbon pricing).
  • Resilience issues: environmental and climatic change, extremes and variability, absolute scarcity
  • Reputational issues: driven by NGOs, media, policy
  • Randoms: extreme weather, technological breakthroughs, cultural tipping points, wars
within the context of broader narratives about the future of food
Within the context of broader narratives about the future of food

What future do we want?

“The future is already here – it\'s just not evenly distributed”

William Gibson


Narratives around meat – what do we want?

Social, economic, commercial, political, biophysical influences


More technological

More behavioural



Evolving policy.. embryonic initiatives, not always successful





huge research interest
Huge research interest

Biesbroek S et al. 2014, Reducing our environmental footprint and improving our health: greenhouse gas emission and land use of usual diet and mortality in EPIC-NL: a prospective cohort study. Environmental Health, 13:27  

Saxe H (2014). The New Nordic Diet is an effective tool in environmental protection: it reduces the associated socioeconomic cost of diet, Am J ClinNutr doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.066746.

Westhoeket al (2014). Food choices, health and environment: Effects of cutting Europe’s meat and dairy intake, Global Environmental Change

Van Kernebeeket al (2014). The effect of nutritional quality on comparing environmental impacts of human diets, Journal of Cleaner Production xxx 1e-12

Pairottiet al( 2014) Energy consumption and GHG emission of the Mediterranean diet: a systemic assessment using a hybrid LCA-IO method. Journal of Cleaner Production xxx 1e10

Vanhamet al (2013). Potential water saving through changes in European diets Environment International 6145–56

Briggs et al 2013.  Assessing the impact on chronic disease of incorporating the societal cost of greenhouse gases into the price of food: an econometric and comparative risk assessment modelling study, BMJ Open.

Vieux et al (2013). High nutritional quality is not associated with low greenhouse gas  emissions in self-selected diets of French adults, Am J ClinNutr; 97: 569–83

Smith et al (2013), How much land-based greenhouse gas mitigation can be achieved without compromising food security and environmental goals?. Global Change Biology, 19: 2285–2302. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12160

Aston et al (2012). Impact of a reduced red and processed meat dietary pattern on disease risks and greenhouse gas emissions in the UK: a modelling study. BMJ Open; 2 (5): e001072 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001072

Stehfestet al (2009) Climate benefits of changing diet. Climatic Change, 95, 1–2.

Frielet al (2009), Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gasemissions: food and agriculture The Lancet, 374: 2016–25.

studies generally

Studies generally:

Define sustainability in environmental terms (often just GHGs)

Are rich-world focused

Ignore wider socio-economic context

Don’t consider other determinants of nutritional status

Don’t consider non-nutritional health implications of food

And so, with these (enormous) provisos, can we define

good enough interim partial principles of environmentally sustainable and nutritious diets
Good-enough/ interim /partialPrinciples of environmentally sustainable and nutritious diets?
  • Diversity – a wide variety of foods eaten
  • In energy balance
  • Based around: tubers and whole grains (but not rice); legumes; fruits and vegetables - field grown and robust
  • Meat eaten sparingly if at all - all animal parts consumed
  • Dairy products or fortified plant-substitutes eaten in moderation & other calcium-containing foods consumed
  • Unsalted seeds and nuts included
  • Some fish and aquatic products sourced from certified fisheries, although less frequently than Eatwell advises
  • Limited consumption of sugary and fatty sweets, chocolates, snacks and beverages
  • Tap water in preference to other beverages
an amateur s personal view on food and its meanings
An amateur’s personal view on food and its meanings



















the meat issue why is it difficult
The meat issue. Why is it difficult?
  • Not an ‘on-off’ issue
  • Culturally embedded
  • Taste
  • Masculinity Rozin et al (2012). “Is Meat Male? A Quantitative Multimethod Framework to Establish Metaphoric Relationships.” Journal of Consumer Research, 39 (3): 629-643. DOI: 10.1086/664970; Rothberger H (2013). Real men don’t eat (vegetable) quiche: Masculinity and the justification of meat consumption. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Vol 14(4), Oct 2013, 363-375. doi: 10.1037/a0030379
  • Politicised & contested eg. animal rights & welfare
  • Different kinds of meat
  • Different ways of producing it
  • Multiple environmental & nutritional issues
  • The ‘less and better’ concept…BUT
things that get said
Things that get said

Academics : nutrition, environment, ag economics, international development

AW, envt, health NGOs

Food industry

Think tanks

ways of approaching the issue
Ways of approaching the issue

Influenced by:

  • Ideologies & values
  • Disciplinary training
  • Sectoral lens
thinking about interventions also need to bear in mind
Thinking about interventions also need to bear in mind
  • Cross-transferability from other areas (eg. how far are successful interventions wrt drugs or driving applicable to food?)
  • Risk of perverse side effects
workshop aims
Workshop aims
  • What do we know?
  • What don’t we know?
  • Where do we know enough to justify action now?
  • Where is more understanding is needed?
  • What sort of research would help improve the evidence base needed for effective policy making?
  • Can we put all that in writing by the end of tomorrow?
thank you

Thank you