episode 6

Can many cooks feed the world and save the planet?

In this episode we focus on the food system, integrated analysis, almond milk and a little bit of Brexit

It was difficult enough talking about a household’s shopping, cooking, eating habits in our first episode on food. This time, looking at the supply side if you like, it took us an hour to find a way into the conversation (don’t worry we cut that bit!). And once we were in, we went from consumers to farmers to agri-business to government and yes, we had to touch on post-Brexit agricultural policy…

This is not easy but conversations about feeding the world and saving the planet will need to involve everyone, and the solutions are a mix of science, technology and behaviours. So we hope you stay with us as we begin to explore these issues. We’ll get back to food again in 2021!

We talk quite a bit about different farming systems – in particular:

Intensive farming which uses higher levels of input and output per unit of agricultural land area – inputs can include labour, machinery and agri-chemicals. The impacts on the environment and animal welfare depend on the combination of the inputs used.

Extensive farming which uses a smaller amount of labour, machinery and agri-chemicals relative to the size of the agricultural land. Productivity (amount of crops and animal products produced per unit of land) in extensive agriculture depends primarily on the soil’s natural fertility, climate and water availability.

We recorded this episode before the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs updated their announcement on Environmental Land Management Scheme which will replace the EU Common Agricultural Policy in England – you can read the announcement here.

More interestingly, the UK Climate Change Committee published their 6th Carbon Budget. You can see all the reports and a video of the launch event here.  

The CCC report also covers agriculture and makes suggestions as to how agricultural productivity can increase: how we can use the land we have to produce more food but without this increasing environmental damage

Our guest in this episode was Professor Bridget Emmett, CEH Science Area Head, Soils and Land Use & Head of Bangor site. At the UK CEH, Bridget leads land management – Brexit modelling work for the Welsh government which you can read about here.  

*** The views we and our guests express in this podcast are our own ***

reference list