Welcome to Foodsource

Foodsource exists to support those teaching, learning and communicating about food systems and sustainability. It provides access to clear, accurate, agenda-free knowledge.

We believe that improving food systems literacy is vital for addressing global challenges, and that common understanding promotes collective and effective action – across disciplines, sectors, and society.

Foodsource is an open and expanding resource, led by the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) at Oxford University, and developed in collaboration with our partners and supporters.

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How food gets to our plates, and what happens afterwards, connects many issues that we care about, including health, biodiversity, communities, the environment, climate change, livelihoods, and more.

This chapter describes lifecycle assessment (LCA), the most common method used for quantifying the environmental impacts and resource use throughout the entire life cycle of a product or service.

This chapter takes a closer look at greenhouse gas emissions arising from the food system both at a global and at a country level. It looks at emissions by life cycle stage, by food type and (briefly) by dietary pattern. 

This chapter considers the extent to which changes in production, demand and socio-economic structures can curb food-related greenhouse gas emissions.

This chapter introduces the multiple environmental problems associated with food systems. It explains how food systems place severe pressures on water resources, land and biodiversity (e.g. via deforestation) as well as on fish stocks and marine ecosystems. It also discusses food waste as a crosscutting concern placing ‘unnecessary’ pressure on climate, water and resources and describes this problem in both developed and developing countries.

This chapter looks at how climate change may affect food production (e.g. crops, water, fish and livestock), and what the effects could be for societies and for their food security.

This chapter considers the relationship between food and health, and in particular the relationship between diet and health. We consider the many ways in which food and health are linked, then examine malnutrition in its three main forms: undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overconsumption. The causes and the geographical and socio-economic dispersion of these three forms of malnutrition are followed by a discussion of their societal and economic costs.

This chapter focuses on the difficult issue of meat and other animal products. The focus here is on why there is so much dispute and controversy around the roles of meat and milk in these environmental and health concerns, and so much disagreement as to what the appropriate solutions are. The chapter explores the nutritional, environmental and welfare issues associated with animal production and consumption, and discusses different perspectives that  inform how someone views these issues and their solutions.

This chapter looks at whether it is possible to identify dietary patterns that are good both for health and for sustainability. It describes existing and emerging approaches to defining and measuring sustainable and healthy eating patterns (SHEPs) and goes on to look at specific diets that may minimise negative environmental impacts and to explore whether recommended healthy diets are necessarily more environmentally friendly and vice versa.

This chapter focuses on how diets might be shifted in more sustainable and healthy directions. It begins with a brief recap of the characteristics of a sustainable and healthy eating pattern. It then examines the influences on people’s food consumption practices, before considering the interventions that may give rise to changes. Finally it discusses the possible unintended consequences of making dietary changes, and the further research that is needed.