The winner for GFS’s 2021 research storytelling competition, Speak UP for Food Security – Five Stories for Change, has been announced. In honour of the UK hosting COP26, this year’s competition aimed to equip UKRI early career researchers with the knowledge and skills to not only inform climate action in the food system, but to inspire it as well.
The Transforming UK Food Systems Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) programme has awarded 11 new research projects with £14 million in funding, focusing on putting healthy people and a healthy environment at its core.
2021 is a year of converging events; the UK is hosting the COP26 climate change conference, the UN COP15 conference focusing on biodiversity has just passed, and the international year of fruit and vegetables is in full swing. To celebrate these events, Dr Olivia Cousins shares the importance of maintaining and using the biological diversity of vegetable crops so that they can endure the stresses of our changing climate.
The risk of extreme weather hitting several major food producing regions of the world at the same time could triple by 2040. This was the major finding from a GFS report on extreme weather and the food system, which was presented at the AAAS meeting and at the US Senate.
GFS has catalysed a strategic approach to soil science which has helped galvanise investment in research and training. UK soils are worth £5.3 billion to our economy – 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil is lost each year in the UK costing farmers £9 million.
GFS has helped facilitate an £18.5 million multidisciplinary research initiative to help protect animal and human health in the face of emerging livestock farming systems. Meat demand is predicted to rise by 40% in 2030 and there are significant risks to health associated with the rapidly changing nature of livestock farming systems to meet demand: 60% of human pathogens and 75% of emerging diseases are zoonotic.