Beyond fed up: six hard trends that lead to food system breakdown

Bendell, Jem (2023) Beyond fed up: six hard trends that lead to food system breakdown. Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) Occasional Papers Volume 10. (Unpublished)

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This paper is a preprint of a chapter in the forthcoming book Breaking Together (Bendell, 2023). It analyses six hard trends that are already happening, and lead to food system breakdown. First, the biophysical limits of food production are being reached. Second, current food production systems are actively destroying the very resource base upon which they rely. Third, the majority of food production and all its storage and distribution is critically dependent upon fossil fuels, not only making the food supply vulnerable to price and supply instability, but also presenting an impossible choice between food security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Fourth, climate change is already negatively impacting the food supply and will do so with increasing intensity as the Earth continues to warm and weather destabilises. Fifth, the trajectory of increasing food demand that cannot easily be reversed. Sixth, the prioritisation of economic efficiency and profit in world trade has undermined food sovereignty and the resilience of food production at multiple scales, making both production and distribution highly vulnerable to disruptive shocks. Considered individually, each one of the hard trends presents a very significant challenge to global food security. Considered collectively and interdependently, it becomes clear this is a predicament on a scale and depth unprecedented in modern history.

Item Type: Report
Departments: Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership > Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS)
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2023 13:02
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2023 15:30


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