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Closing the Gaps in Food Assessments

Researchers call for a more comprehensive assessment of the global food system

Sep 12 2019 UCSB Current

Plates of food on a table

While we are increasingly aware of the environmental costs and impacts of raising a handful of widely eaten, large-scale production foods such as cows and pigs, we have glaring blind spots when it comes to such effects of many other foods that are a major part of the global diet.

A more complete understanding of the impacts of these “underassessed” foods would go a long way toward creating a clearer picture of what sustainable consumption looks like. And that, in turn, would help people, companies and politicians make smarter decisions about how to feed ourselves without overwhelming the planet.

So say researchers from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara and their colleagues, in a letter that appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure; at least you can’t manage it well,” said Ben Halpern, NCEAS director, Bren professor, and lead author of the paper. “If we don’t know what is happening with underassessed foods, we can’t make smart decisions about food policy that pursues the most sustainable options.”

Read the full story at: The UCSB Current

Credit: Sonia Fernandez