24 February 2010 • Jeremy Wiltshire

Producing food and protecting the environment

Food production has a complex and inextricable relationship with the natural environment. Some inputs are extracted from natural sources and require little or no processing, like water; meanwhile others are manufactured - crop protection chemicals and some fertilisers for example.

On the face of it, the relationships seem to be one way – taking from the natural environment without putting back. All the indications are that current resource consumption is unsustainable.

This does not just apply to primary food production either. Food processing and the supply chain that delivers food to consumers leave their mark on the environment too, through other raw material use, energy use, transport, storage and waste.

While focus around the carbon footprints of products is well advanced and reported, less attention is paid to another, equally pressing issue: water availability.
Climate change, a complicating factor of food security, means we could experience hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters. This could significantly affect water availability and use throughout the food chain. Increasing populations and higher living standards also compete with food production for water.

Water in the major crop production areas of the south and the east is already over-extracted, while water in the north and west remains relatively plentiful. It is not difficult to foresee production focus of some crops migra...

Register to view all of this article »

REGISTER TO READ MORE's free and easy.

We want to be able to provide you with information that relates to your specific needs. Please fill out your contact details to continue reading this article.

Simply fill in this form

Choose your username & password

(4-12 characters, letter and numbers only)


Pouring Milk Down the Drain?
30 October 2014

Pouring Milk Down the Drain?

Since March 2014, plummeting milk prices have provided a stark reality check for Britain’s dairy farmers. World over production, coupled with a ban on exports to Russia and reduced demand...

UK Agri-Science and Innovation newsletter Issue 3
17 October 2014

UK Agri-Science and Innovation newsletter Issue 3

ADAS has produced the third in a series of newsletters on UK scientific participation in the Global Research Alliance (GRA) on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, an initiative that brings countries together...


Ground Source Heat Pump Feasibility study
02 February 2010

Ground Source Heat Pump Feasibility study

ADAS Energy consultants recently conducted a feasibility study on installing a GSHP at a greenhouse nursery based in Evesham. The recommendations were that a GSHP would reduce the nursery's energy...

Food Security Case study • Walkers Crisps potato supply chain
22 February 2010

Food Security Case study • Walkers Crisps potato supply chain

Food and drink businesses are under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impact both of their operational activities and their supply chains.PepsiCo and ADAS are working together to improve the...

Wasting away: harnessing waste for productivity
24 February 2010

Wasting away: harnessing waste for productivity

Tackling the waste disposal and food crises simultaneously presents excellent opportunities for food producers and manufacturers. It is the nexus between dumping waste and growing food – where joined up...