Scrutinising assumptions

New Chatham House report, commissioned by FFCC, examines pathways to a sustainable food system

24th May 2022

Timely and incisive, Sustainable agriculture and food systems:Comparing contrasting and contested versions is the new report from Chatham House's Environment and Society Programme, commissioned by FFCC, which starts to examine the barriers to an agroecological transition.

The report highlights that it is values-based ideas (about the role of markets, state responsibilities, and the likelihood of dietary change), which have a huge influence on decisions about what, where and how food is produced.

In particular, it scrutinises the taken-for-granted assumption that sustainable intensification frees land for nature, pointing out that the more successful intensification is, and demand grows, the more likely land will become too valuable to those markets to be protected – a lose/lose for nature and climate.

Watch the Chatham House debate about the report

The evidence for agroecology, as a fair, inclusive and balanced direction of travel for food and farming, continues to stack up. FFCC’s work now is to focus less on why agroecology is the right choice, and more on how to accelerate progress.