View from the fence

Social, environmental and economic issues surrounding GM foods, and the latest news

The ‘productionist’ outlook

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I had an amazing time in Stockholm at the 2016 Nobel Week Dialogue, and it has left me with many things to ponder about food production and consumption.

Food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart spoke out against the ‘productionist’ outlook, questioning whether producing more food will solve our problems. We already produce enough food to feed the world’s population, yet still people go hungry. 

Given the growing population, it seems clear to me that we do need to increase agricultural productivity. And we certainly need to increase resilience so yields aren’t so affected by  extreme weather events, for example. However, the whole event was a pertinent reminder that how much more food we need to produce isn’t fixed – we don’t need to keep going on this trajectory.

Reducing food waste would have an enormous affect on how much food we need to produce. Likewise, the need to reduce our meat consumption was highlighted again and again (and I would like to add dairy consumption too). If we eat crops rather than feeding them to animals, we don’t need to grow so many of them.

The good news is that we can tackle both these issues as individuals. At the amazing Nobel Prize banquet the following day, I ate meat but certainly didn’t leave any waste!

Here’s one of the talks I enjoyed, and there are many more on the Nobel Prize YouTube channel.

Author: Rebecca Nesbit

I am author of a popular science book 'Is that Fish in your Tomato?' exploring the fact and fiction of GM crops. In my work and leisure so far, I have trained bees to detect explosives, used a radar to study butterflies for my PhD, written a novel, taken the train from London to China, organised Biology Week, sold science jewellery on Etsy, and traveled to four continents with Nobel Laureates. Best off all, I've made lots of friends whose support I very much appreciate. Thank you! Please visit my website:

One thought on “The ‘productionist’ outlook

  1. Pingback: The stories we tell | View from the fence

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