Start here - A tour of the Table website
Read about Table's mission, approach, team and funders here.
Table’s first project - Scaling the system: Should the future of food be global or local? - aims to take a closer look at the arguments, values and assumptions that underpin debates around globalisation and localisation in the food system, doing so through the involvement of a wide range of food systems stakeholders in a process of interviews, dialogue and discussion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the attention to the scale at which livestock and other agricultural products are produced and shipped around the world. Though the goals of reducing hunger, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and building a fair food system future for all are shared by most people, the appropriate scale at which the food system should function – for example whether nations should increase food self-sufficiency or increase international trade, or if small- or large-scale agriculture is to be preferred, remains deeply contested.
While there are certainly strong differences in opinion, attention is often focused on the most extreme arguments within the debate, glossing over a broad and rich spectrum of moderate, nuanced and regional views that lie within the parameters of simplistic “localist” vs. “globalist” positions.
Table will explore this topic through interviews, blog posts, visualisations of scale in the food system, written explainers, panel discussions, workshops, and lively online discussions through our website and on social media. We will also produce an analytical report that summarises the arguments and assumptions that underlie disagreements, identifies research gaps, and suggests pathways forward based on areas of convergence.
Our Table explainers are peer-reviewed, free educational resources on key food systems concepts. They offer accessible introductions to the most important ideas for understanding food system sustainability. These were previously published on the Foodsource website as Building Blocks and Chapter. Our explainers include:
- Methane and the sustainability of ruminant livestock
- Soy: food, feed, and land use change
- What is feed-food competition?
- What is the connection between infectious diseases in humans and livestock?
The Table website hosts projects and reports previously published by the FCRN, which carried out integrative research into food systems and sustainability.
The most recent research project, Plating up Progress?, led by Will Nicholson as a joint effort between the FCRN and the Food Foundation, aimed to define usable metrics for assessing food industry progress in delivering sustainable and healthy diets.
View other publications here, including:
- Grazed and Confused: Ruminating on cattle, grazing systems, methane, nitrous oxide, the soil carbon sequestration question – and what it all means for greenhouse gas emissions.
- Lean, green, mean, obscene…? What is efficiency? And is it sustainable? Animal production and consumption reconsidered.
- Appetite for Change: social, economic and environmental transformations in China’s food system.
Our blog series showcases viewpoints from across the Table community. Read the latest blog posts here. Blog posts that were previously published on the FCRN website are featured on the Table website. We are in the process of commissioning new blog posts for Table on topics such as the history of scale in the food system, the role of technology on small-scale farms, and the development of attitudes towards meat throughout childhood.
Our blog posts include:
- A Global Movement for Localised Food and Farming: The beginning of agriculture in Europe
- Health impacts of red palm oil, the lesser-known sister of refined palm oil
- GWP*: Methane, metrics and confounding science and policy
- Reflecting on livestock controversies: perspectives from civil society and researchers
- Has veganism become a dirty word?
Each Fodder summary of a journal article, report or news story goes into our extensive research library, which contains thousands of summaries searchable by keyword and category. Each research library item is associated with keywords, which can be clicked on to view more related content. See for example deforestation.
Research library items include:
- Proposed UK law restricts illegal deforestation in supply chains
- The global cropland-sparing potential of high-yield farming
- Geoengineering super low carbon cows
Our Glossary gives definitions of terms that are used in resources on the Table website. We are in the process of linking each glossary item to relevant items from across the Table website.
Table’s weekly newsletter, Fodder, summarises the latest research, reports, news, job opportunities and events on food sustainability. We have over 3000 subscribers.
Table is building a discussion forum which will be incorporated into the Table website. Website visitors will also be able to comment underneath any web page, and the latest comments will appear on the home page so that visitors can see what is happening across the entire site.
Table’s Google Group, an email-based discussion group with ~500 members, lets Table readers ask questions, post information and start discussions about food sustainability.
We are in the process of producing a podcasts series that will explore questions within the global-local debate by interviewing a range of stakeholders.
If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch. You can use the Drift app by clicking the speech bubble icon at the bottom right of your screen, or you can email us.