FAO sets the record straight–86% of livestock feed is inedible by humans

“If not consumed by livestock, crop residues and by-products could quickly become an environmental burden as the human population grows and consumes more and more processed food. Animals also consume food that could potentially be eaten by people. Grains account for 13% of the global livestock dry matter intake.” – Susan

ILRI Clippings

Cow Jar, by Jean Dubuffet, 1943.

As the media frenzy caused by a ‘planetary health diet’ proposed in a new report from an EAT-Lancet commission this month continues, it is perhaps timely to recall that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has set the record straight regarding not just the level of greenhouse gases that livestock emit (see yesterday’s posting on this blog) but also incorrect information about how much food (crops eatable by humans) is consumed by livestock. It’s not a lot.

The EAT-Lancet report summarizes scientific evidence for a global food system transition towards healthy diets from sustainable agriculture. The report concludes that a global shift towards a diet made up of high quantities of fruits, vegetables and plant-based protein and low quantities of animal protein could catalyze the achievement of both the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement to…

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Are we eating less meat?—Oxford Martin School fellow Hannah Ritchie confirms ‘No’

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Broken Record Alert:

People WILL NOT change their diets for environmental reasons.

No matter how often we hear “EAT LESS MEAT”

we eat more meat when we can afford it, because we like it.

@HannahRitchie02 reports.

—@TamarHaspel on Twitter, 4 Feb 2019

The following excerpts are taken from a BBC analysis piece published yesterday that was commissioned by the BBC from Hannah Ritchie, an expert from the Oxford Martin School and the non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab.

‘Rising incomes
‘. . . [G]lobal meat consumption has increased rapidly over the past 50 years. Meat production today is nearly five times higher than in the early 1960s—from 70 million tonnes to more than 330 million tonnes in 2017.

‘A big reason for this is that there are many more people to feed. Over that period the world population more than doubled. In the early 1960s there were around three billion of…

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Where nutrients and protein sourced from livestock remain vital—Crawford Fund

“To a considerable extent the report ignores the significant role that income and protein from livestock plays for hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers.“ – SUSAN

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Standing Child (Stehendes Kind) by Erich Heckel, 1910.

‘Coinciding with the launch of the EAT-Lancet “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems” report, Dr Colin Chartres, the [Crawford] Fund’s CEO, . . . discusses the importance of ‘smart foods’ and smart people for a healthy population and planet.

‘In late January the Eat-Lancet Foundation released its Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems report. Its headline message is:

“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”

‘Whilst this message is not exactly new—the late Professor Tony McMichael from ANU [Australian National University] had been a long-time advocate of the…

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119 Organizations Shaking Up the Food System in 2019



2018 was a great year for Food Tank. We hosted ground-breaking Summits, innovative events, and global discussions about the food system in Senegal, Italy, Russia, and across the United States. We published the book Nourished Planet, and met many of our members and readers in person! And we started the Food Talk podcast.

We’re excited about 2019! Our plans are amazing, starting our greatest expansion ever—including new Summits, more podcasts, special events, and an off-Broadway play. If you are not already, it’s not too late to become a member this year and support our mission of bringing all sides to the table.

To start off the year, we’ve compiled a list of 119 organizations to keep an eye on in 2019 that are working towards a more sustainable food system. Happy New Year!

1. Acre Venture Partners

Acre Venture Partners is a venture capital fund investing in the future…

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Livestock and trees: A more perfect union

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Illustration by Remy Charlip via Pinterest: Cover of Four Fur Feet, written by Margaret Wise Brown.

Livestock provide ecological services too great to warrant their complete removal from the landscape.

‘. . . Sequestering carbon has become a topic essential to the broader conversation about how our planet might survive the escalating effects of climate change. Livestock are frequently demonized as the enemy of this process. That’s partly because raising animals for meat and dairy accounts for 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions; unsurprisingly, study after study—including the United Nations’ most recent, bleak climate report—affirms that humans need to reduce consumption of animal-based products in order to fend off planetary disaster. This has led to the advent of a booming industry centered on plant-based “meats” and “milks,” buoyed by a rallying cry from some quarters to abolish meat and cheese and butter and eggs from our diets wholesale. …

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Thesis Opportunities: Social Economies of food, agriculture, and nature in Gelderland.

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

Social economy is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of third sector, cooperative, voluntary, non-profit, and social enterprise initiatives that put social and environmental well-being before profit.  They operate in different sectors of the economy, and provide a number of important goods and services – that range from food to social services and care. The social economy is also an important part of the solidarity economy, a term used to describe diverse economic practices that seek to strengthen local economies and communities and create alternatives as a form of resistance to the social, economic, and environmental injustices associated with capitalism, colonialism, racism, and neoliberalism. The cities of Ede, Arnhem, and Nijmegen are home to a growing number of social economy initiatives, especially in the areas of agriculture, food, and nature (e.g. ecosystems services, green infrastructure). Here they play a vital, yet often unrecognized role. With these three thesis…

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Global Exploration and Practical Research Meet in Nuffield International Farming Scholars Program



A robust, sustainable global agriculture and food production sector is critical to the future of a growing world population. It will take farms of varying types and sizes to address food insecurity and hunger, and to stabilize local communities and big cities alike. With a history that dates back to 1947, Nuffield International Farming Scholars is a global scheme that is focused on growing the most critical resources the agriculture industry has: people.

We at Nuffield International Farming Scholars are pleased to have recently entered into partnership with the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR). Like the Partners in GFAR, we strive to inspire people to make a difference in the world of agriculture, and this can only happen when people, especially youth, are empowered to turn their knowledge into opportunity and enterprise.

Through the Nuffield experience, individual farmers, ranchers, fishers, and agri-professionals expand their own capacity…

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