Start here - A tour of the TABLE website
Read about TABLE's mission, approach, team and funders here.
TABLE has launched a community discussion platform where everyone is welcome to ask questions, post information, and start discussions about food sustainability.
You can also comment underneath any TABLE web page, and the latest comments will appear on the home page so that you 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. The group is in the process of migrating over to the community forum.
TABLE's current work theme is: Power in the food system: what’s powering the future of protein? In this work theme we will use protein as a case study for exploring some of the debates about power in the food system. We will be looking at some of power’s obvious manifestations - governmental, geopolitical, or corporate power, for example. But there are also other less tangible forms of power we want to explore, which still have a profound influence on how different stakeholders think about food and what they want for the food system – the power of the cultural, moral, or educational norms that subtly shape our thinking, our lives and our food provisioning systems.
Outputs from this theme include:
- Podcast: Introducing season two: Power in the food system
- Process and power at TABLE
- Recording: An open discussion on power in the food system
- Recording: Whose knowledge counts? Exploring evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways
TABLE’s first project - Scaling the system: Should the future of food be global or local? - took 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.
Our key outputs from the scale project are:
- What scale for the food system? Moving beyond polarised debates. This report reflects on the key areas of agreement and contention about scale in the food system
- TABLE launch event: including a conversation between Charles Godfray (Oxford Martin School) and Pat Mooney (ETC group) on how localised or globalised the food system should be and reflections from the TABLE community
- Podcast series: 14 conversations on scale, a recap episode summarising our findings and an episode where Pat Mooney and Charles Godfray debate the future of food systems.
The Feed podcast engages in dialogue with those who are trying to transform the food system. Subscribe on your preferred platform (Spotify, Apple podcast, Google Podcast, etc.) and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues! Episodes released on Thursdays. For more information or to make suggestions for future podcast episodes, contact Matthew.
Recent episodes include:
- Bonus: Why isn't food on the COP agenda? (part 1)
- Ep16: Charles Godfray and Pat Mooney debate the future of food systems
- Season 1 Recap: What scale for the food system?
- Ep14: Elin Röös, Johan Karlsson and Robin Harder on exploring values in food systems models
- Ep13: Felipe Roa-Clavijo on "Feeding the village, nation, or world"
- Ep12: Sophia Murphy on "Getting the global rules right"
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. Recent explainers include:
- What is food sovereignty? (see also the short video summary)
- What is agroecology? (see also the short video summary)
- 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, as well as recent TABLE publications.
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:
- Exploring the ebbs and flows of different agricultural movements. This interactive graphic represents an initial attempt to understand how agroecology, regenerative agriculture and the organic movement relate to each other.
- 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.
- Livestock and protein controversies and uncertainties: perspectives from researchers and civil society.
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.
Recent blog posts include:
- Loving some animals, eating others: Food preferences in childhood
- Support Your Locals: on international solidarity in a resilient and sustainable urban food system
- On flesh and the spirit: understanding British Muslims’ meat consumption
- Introducing the Wageningen Alternative Protein Project
- The emergence of an international food system - the Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to the Roman period
- Why the climate emergency demands food waste regulation
- To eat fish or not to eat fish? That is the wrong question
In each Letterbox series, people who hold differing points of view on a contentious food system topic exchange short letters, outlining their views and responding to the arguments of the other. Our first Letterbox series is Cultivating genetically modified organisms in Ethiopia.
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 3700 subscribers.
Our jobs and events boards are regularly updated and advertise the latest food sustainability jobs, events, courses, competitions, funding, calls for abstracts and opportunities from other organisations. To advertise an item of your own, please contact Helen.
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.