Food Security
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Food Security
We are facing a huge problem right now. No, is not cancer, or financial crises: We are not feeding the world! Even though hunger and malnutrition rates are slowing down, healthcare and long lifespan are increasing global population over the limits of this planet. By 2050 we will reach 9 billion people in the Earth: if we cannot feed them now, what are the prospects for our children?  The solutions are more complex than just increasing the surface of arable land or producing bigger tomatoes. Have a look at some of the key points.
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Global population set to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050 despite fall in fertility

Global population set to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050 despite fall in fertility | Food Security | Scoop.it
Predicted increase of 2.4 billion will complicate efforts to stamp out poverty, inequality and hunger and place further strain on health and education systems
Marina Martínez García's insight:

The Guardian sets a good example of data journalism with a deep analysis of the UN predictions over global population. Is contraception the solution? Do we need to change some other countries culture? Do we have the right to do so?

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FAO infographic: Food Waste example

FAO infographic: Food Waste example | Food Security | Scoop.it
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Another example of the food system is rotten: food waste. Several factors contribute to this, not only unwise consumption. 

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Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal

Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it's inedible -- but because it doesn't look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the sh...
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Fascinating and scary TED Talk about Food Waste. Start making noise! Start spreading the word! Buy pigs for the community and put pressure on supermarkets!

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Superplants: from polyploids to crops

Superplants: from polyploids to crops | Food Security | Scoop.it
Superplants: from polyploids to crops | Piktochart Infographic Editor
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Short infographic about the role of having extra chromosomes in plant yield.
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We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People -- and Still Can't End Hunger

ButA new a study from McGill University and the Univ...

Marina Martínez García's insight:

Increasing food production will not fullfill the need, unless we start to distribute it equally. The Sun give us enough enery that the plants transform to food directly for us or for our livestock. We are doing a very bad job and we are forcing other countries to be poor and the people to emigrate. 

Lacey Ann Trumbull's curator insight, March 23, 2016 10:38 AM

Increasing food production will not fullfill the need, unless we start to distribute it equally. The Sun give us enough enery that the plants transform to food directly for us or for our livestock. We are doing a very bad job and we are forcing other countries to be poor and the people to emigrate. 

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The One Dietary Change That Will Cut Your Carbon Footprint A Ridiculous Amount

The One Dietary Change That Will Cut Your Carbon Footprint A Ridiculous Amount | Food Security | Scoop.it
As the economic, political and personal costs of doing nothing to mitigate climate change skyrocket, there's one lifestyle change that slashes dietary gr...
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Is becoming vegetarian the solution for meat impact? Nope...changing your diet is not about vegetables (well, maybe a little bit). We can eat meat wisely and ecologically.

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PULSES: Productivity & Environmental Sustainability

PULSES: Productivity & Environmental Sustainability | Food Security | Scoop.it
To act for a healthy, hunger-free and sustainable world.
Pulses and Sustainability
Pulses play an important role for sustainability in many ways. They are an important component of crop rotations, they require less fertilisers than other crops and they are a low carbon source of protein.

Legumes are part of the rotational crops farmers can use to maintain soil fertility. In Canada for instance, where pulses are often integrated in good soil management practices, a good crop rotation includes a variety of crops grown in sequence, including cereals (wheat, barley, oats), oilseeds (canola, flax, sunflowers), and legumes (pulses).

Pulses have a positive impact on soil quality because they help fix nitrogen in the soil. This contributes to higher yields in subsequent crop rotations.

However it is not the only reason. Pulses have a direct positive impact on soil quality because they help feed soil microbes, which benefits soil health. Pulses have also been shown to produce greater amounts and different types of amino acids than non-legumes and the plant residues left after harvesting pulse crops have a different bio-chemical composition than other crop residues.

It is this diversity in soil composition that comes from a good pulse rotation, which help crops to thrive and which offers greater protection against disease-causing bacteria and fungi.

Pulses are also a protein source with a low footprint, in both carbon and water. For instance, the water footprints to produce a kilogram of beef, pork, chicken and soybeans are 43, 18, 11 and 5 times higher than the water footprint of pulses.

Pulses have a lower carbon footprint in production than most animal sources of protein. In fact, one study showed that one kilogram of legume only emits 0.5kg in Co2 equivalent, whereas 1kg of beef produces 9.5 kg in CO2 equivalent.

The very low contribution of legumes is well illustrated in the graph below.
Full Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emmissions from Common Proteins and Vegetables
It shows that lentils are one of the foodstuffs that contributes the least emissions, far fewer than turkey, salmon or other common sources of protein.

Nitrogen is the nutrient most needed in crop production and nitrogen fertiliser is manufactured using natural gas. But as above, pulses are quite unique among other crops, as they draw their own nitrogen from the air, so do not require the same application of nitrogen fertiliser as other crops.

By fixing nitrogen in the soil, pulses also help reduce the footprint of other crops so the benefits extend much further into the food production cycle.

For example, a recent study showed that durum wheat preceded by a biological nitrogen-fixing crop, such as chickpeas or lentils the previous year lowered its carbon footprint by 17% compared with durum preceded by a cereal crop. The impact was even stronger is a pulse-pulse wheat system, with the carbon footprint of the durum wheat down by 34% compared to a traditional cereal-cereal–durum rotation.

Resources
Pulse Canada: http://www.pulsecanada.com/environment/sustainability
American Pulse Association – Factsheet on Pulse Sustainability http://www.beanfieldssnacks.com/media/PDFs/Pulse%20Sustainability%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
Alberta Pulse Growers: Carbon Footprint and Annual Pulses in the Canadian Prairie http://www.pulse.ab.ca/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=tSDooCnnDtU%3D&tabid=262
Environmental Working Group (2011) Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/
Gan, Y., Liang, C., Wang, X. and McConkey, B. 2011. Lowering carbon footprint of durum wheat by diversifying cropping systems. Field Crops Research. 122: 199–206. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378429011001158
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans...) are absolutelty the perfect crop: not only they need very few requirements in the soil, but enrich it after their harvest. 2016 is the International Year of Pulses! Include them in your diet, tell your family and friends: it can really change the world. 

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How Much Delicious Algae Is Already in Your Diet?

How Much Delicious Algae Is Already in Your Diet? | Food Security | Scoop.it
You may have heard that we’re entering an algae farming boom. Biofuel produced by algae reared on greenhouse gases is supposed to replace fossil fuels ...
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Are Algae the solution to all of our prayers? Can they clean the environment, fuel our cars, feed our livestock? We need a lot of research to do so, but... the sun is shining towards them

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Utilising invasive species for food security | Global Food Security blog

Utilising invasive species for food security | Global Food Security blog | Food Security | Scoop.it
Employing exotic animals and plants can help the fight against hunger and power economic development. UJAT’s Mike Mitchell reports. Is there more that can be done with so-called ‘invasive’ species?
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Is erradicating the only way out with invasive species? are they threats to our agricultural and farming environments? Mike Mithcell presents another approach that can actually help us even more and improve sustainability. 

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Food Security Research at Birmingham - University of Birmingham

Food Security Research at Birmingham - University of Birmingham | Food Security | Scoop.it
The world's plant genetic resources hold great value for world food security, but they are under considerable threat. Crop improvement depends on the genetic diversity existing in our plant genetic resources, which are arguably inadequately conserved and used. Biodiversity is at risk from multiple threats including climate change. The genetic diversity contained within plant genetic resources, particularly of species that are wild relatives of our crops, is essential to our ability to respond to the new stresses in the agricultural environment inherent with climate change. It is important to consider the genetic value of crop wild relatives, how they may be conserved, and what new technologies can be implemented to enhance their use.
Marina Martínez García's insight:

How the scientific community is focusing on the problem? Look at some examples of cellular and molecular biology research on plants resilience. Understanding the basic mechanisms of stress resistance will help us to develop the tools to face climate change, for example, for our crops. 

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Why biodiversity is key to global food security - Europe’s World

Why biodiversity is key to global food security - Europe’s World | Food Security | Scoop.it

From One of the principal challenges in securing a sustainable future for people and the planet remains the sustainable production of and access to adequate food that is nutritious and safe for our growing population. But to date, despite real commitments towards this goal, over 800 million people are suffering from hunger and two billion lack… Read article ›

Marina Martínez García's insight:

From a point of view of producers and companies, this article analyses how our mentality and system has to change. Diet education and local production are priorities: is not always about researching new ways of producing the same, maybe we need to come back to previous alimentary systems. 

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FAO Infographic: Healthy soils for Food Security

FAO Infographic: Healthy soils for Food Security | Food Security | Scoop.it

Basic

Marina Martínez García's insight:

Understanding how soils are form and, more importantly, how many time soils need to mature are the basis for more wise soil policies. The general public needs to be told so that they can press their goverments to start acting now. This FAO infographic shows  an overview for last International Year of Soils in 2015. 

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The farms of the future

In the next 35 years, we’ll have to produce more food than the all of the world’s production combined over the last 2000 years. So what will the farms of the...
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Are we going to be able to overcome this problem? UK is investing a lot of money in research now so that we can improve quickly. In this video they the British Science Council (BBSRC) shows some examples of how different the farms might look in a very short time. 

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“Unfarmed arable land: Enough is available to achieve long-lasting food security for mankind”

“Unfarmed arable land: Enough is available to achieve long-lasting food security for mankind” | Food Security | Scoop.it
Marina Martínez García's insight:

This report analysis from the french Ministry of Agriculture covers the question of how goverments can front the loss of arable land and different possibilities to increase it. Waste of land and misuses as the main problems, they will need to be the first things to solve in the short term. Are goverments really aware of it? They need to act now to build up in the future more easily. 

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Scinamation: Food Security

All The Hidden Global Food Crisis

Marina Martínez García's insight:

All the complex system hidden in food production needs to be reassess. From the perspective of a rich country, like Australia, this video give us some of the main actors and characteristics that can be changed. 

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Zero carbon - One Planet Challenge

Zero carbon - One Planet Challenge | Food Security | Scoop.it
Take the One Planet Living Challenge, calculating your carbon and ecological footpring and following your personalised action plan.
Marina Martínez García's insight:

How many earths would we need if everyone live like you? Arable land and resources are not limitless: take the test and find out!

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Integrated Pest Management and Food Security

Integrated Pest Management and Food Security | Food Security | Scoop.it

Pest 

Marina Martínez García's insight:

Pest causes major losses in agriculture every year and the solutions are not producing more and more chemicals, because at the end the pest will get adapted and resistant. The solution relies on Integrated Pest Management: applying all forms of pest control to the field. This infographic by the European Crop Protection Association tells you a bit about it. 

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FAO Infographic: Where the food begins

FAO Infographic: Where the food begins | Food Security | Scoop.it
Marina Martínez García's insight:

We need to understand where our food come from and how it is produced in order to get the big picture. Sun + Soil + Water = Food for us! Respect them, 

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Eat Low Carbon

Eat Low Carbon | Food Security | Scoop.it

We aAre you concerned about climate change? Well, now that you've changed your lightbulbs, it's time to change your lunch!

Marina Martínez García's insight:

We all know meat requires large amounts of water and resources, but in this webpage you can calculate how much impact each dish has. Click and take the quiz!

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Edible insects

Edible insects | Food Security | Scoop.it
To feed a growing world population with progressively more demanding consumers, food production needs to be increased. This puts a heavy pressure on already limited resources of land, fertilizers and energy, while greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, deforestation, and environmental degradation will increase.
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Wow... you can do yout PhD on farming insects to feed the world! This group in Wageningen University, one of the top institutes in food security research, even gives a workshop for it. 

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Under the sea: the underwater farms growing basil, strawberries and lettuce

Under the sea: the underwater farms growing basil, strawberries and lettuce | Food Security | Scoop.it
Scuba divers and agricultural experts develop a project to work out if growing plants in pods on the seabed could be a viable solution to future food security
Marina Martínez García's insight:

An example of how local initiatives are trying to optimize alternatives to traditional agriculture. Is it too far away from reality? Will we need to colonize the sea? at leat we will know if it is feasible by then. 

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25 August 2015 - How plant sensors detect pathogens - BBSRC

25 August 2015 - How plant sensors detect pathogens - BBSRC | Food Security | Scoop.it
Investing in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public.
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Revising the old literature some times is the key to deepen our understainding. In this research they discover how plants can respond to a pathogen and why some can do it better than others for the first time. An example of how basic science is needed to build upon new tools for the future. 

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Unlocking crop diversity by manipulating plant sex — Department of Plant Sciences

Unlocking crop diversity by manipulating plant sex — Department of Plant Sciences | Food Security | Scoop.it
Researchers in Cambridge and Birmingham discover how the overexpression of a protein in the reproduction of plants, leads to increasing recombination. This could be a tool for plant breeders to produce new varieties of crops much more quickly, avoiding passing through lots of generations of crosses. Modifying plant meiosis (the production of pollen and eggs) is one of the strategic points for food security. 
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¿La intoxicación de Maya? Claves del declive de las abejas | Comunicar Ciencia

¿La intoxicación de Maya? Claves del declive de las abejas | Comunicar Ciencia | Food Security | Scoop.it

In this Regalo envenenado. Las abejas se mueren masivamente… x @Lferreirim https://t.co/K3nVlrxS7u #SOSAbejas pic.twitter.com/TjeBXpFFa6 — Greenpeace España (@greenpeace_esp) February 16, 2016

Marina Martínez García's insight:

In this post I gathered some of the facts concerning the sudden decrease in bees population in Spanish with a touch of humor but always from a scientist point of view. You can click in the sources and video in English. 

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Climate Impacts on Food Security | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide

Climate Impacts on Food Security | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide | Food Security | Scoop.it
During the last two decades, 200 million have been lifted out of hunger and the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children has decreased from 40 to 26 percent.
Marina Martínez García's insight:

Brief analysis of how climate change is affecting several aspects of Food Security. More insights on how resilience is the key to overcome this major problema and how policies should be put forward now.. 

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