RUGS stakeholder workshop 2- Modelling scenarios for food system shocks

The second of three RUGS workshops took place on the 26th June 2018.  The opening session involved discussions about the characteristics of a healthy functioning UK food systems, along with the possible metrics that could be used to assess this.  Members of the RUGS team then presented an overview of the previous workshop which took place in July 2017, focusing in particular the scenarios work, before moving on to look at how we have started to incorporate key themes into the project model. 

Two modelled scenarios were shared, one showing potential outcomes that might be associated with a shift towards protectionism, and the other the outcomes of a shift towards a more vegan diet.  The second half of the day focused on exploring the modelled outputs, discussing interesting and surprising results and identifying important outcomes that may not have been captured thus far. 

The final task focused on thinking about what lessons we have learnt through the process that might be communicated to policy makers and those in decision-making roles.

A highly productive 2nd workshop providing much food for thought! Many thanks to all who participated!

RUGS host first stakeholder workshop

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The first stakeholder workshop for the RUGS project was held at the University of Edinburgh on the 4th July 2017 and involved discussing and generating plausible scenarios of shocks to the global food system with a diverse group of UK stakeholders.

There were three main components to the workshop:

·         Identify triggers and trends that might impact on the UK food system

·         Identify diverse and interesting scenarios or introductory headlines

·         Chose 4 headlines to explore in more detail

The aim of the workshop was to produce scenarios that can be explored using the project’s land use and food system models, PLUM. The scenarios that have been developed are thought-provoking and diverse and bring up some interesting avenues to explore with the model. The discussions that took place during the workshop, the outputs that were produced and the feedback that was received will also will be used to inform the development of the PLUM model. Thanks to all who attended and we look forward to seeing you all at the second workshop next year! 

New RUGS publications: Less waste and more insects could increase the sustainability of food systems.

The global population is expected to rise to over 9 billion by 2050. Livestock produce such as meat, milk and eggs are an important component in global diets. However, they dominate agricultural land use, are a major source of greenhouse gases, and are associated with the highest rates of loss in the food system.  Unfortunately, rates of meat and dairy consumption are expected to continue to increase as average incomes rise, with potentially damaging environmental and food security outcomes.

In two recently published RUGS project papers we investigated the influenced of consumer habits on the sustainability of the food system. Findings show that the losses from over-consumption of food are at least as substantial as the losses from food discarded by consumers. The combination of these and other losses mean that only 6% of agricultural biomass is consumed as food and almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste.  However, shifts in global dietary preferences and waste reduction could increase sustainability. For example, both reductions in over consumption and substituting traditional meat for other foods, e.g. insects, have the potential to improve food security in an environmentally sustainable manner.

See our publication section for links to the open access papers and details of media coverage can be found here and here