Glossary of terms

Here you will find definitions of terms used in resources on the Foodsource website. You will also find these definitions on the right-hand side within chapters. If you have any suggestions for new glossary items, let us know here.

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World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is a specialised branch of the United Nations. It is dedicated to improving public health worldwide.

Yield gap

The yield gap is the difference between the actual productivity of a given area of farmland and the maximum productivity that could in principle be achieved using agricultural practices, resources, and technologies that are currently available. The best yields that can be obtained locally depend on the capacity of farmers to access and use, among other things, land, seeds, water, nutrients, pest management, soils, biodiversity, and knowledge. Yield gaps are studied and measured at various scales - from the farm through to the national and global levels.

Zero-tillage farming

Zero-tillage farming refers to the farming of crops without disturbing the soil through tillage. Tilling methods include such activities as shovelling and ploughing or the use of cultivators to crush clods and smoothen the soil. Zero-tillage farming requires fewer machinery inputs and related energy use, and often less human labour per unit of output. Tillage is used to eliminate weeds, and zero-tillage farming is often associated with higher pesticide and herbicide levels. Zero-tillage farming is particularly associated with the production of genetically modified crops and the use of glyphosate-based broad-spectrum herbicides such as Roundup that kill many different types of weeds.

Zoonotic diseases

Zoonotic diseases are pathogens (e.g. viruses, bacteria, funghi, parasites) which can – to varying degrees – be transmitted between animals and human. Examples include bird and swine flu, lyme disease, bovine tuberculosis, rabies, and zika.