December 29, 2015

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Tomatoes are seen in a field near Alexandria, southern Romania. REUTERS / Bogdan Cristel

The Amazing New Way to Grow Tomatoes: In Tomato Waste
Closed-loop systems, in which waste is used as a nutrient (usually) could well be one of the futures of farming: The goals of minimizing waste and optimizing energy use are rubrics that are becoming increasingly essential. But here's one we haven't heard of before, at least not in quite this way: turning tomato waste into a medium for growing tomatoes.
Beyond Advocacy: What It Takes to Strengthen Women’s Land Rights
There is no doubt that secure land rights for women is a fundamental requirement for ensuring that land management is sustainable and equitable. Policy changes are necessary to achieve this but are not sufficient to secure women’s property rights. Approaches for strengthening women’s land rights must be tailored to local circumstances. And, women must be invited to participate in data analysis about their own experiences and needs. This provides them with a better basis for getting organized to act on new knowledge.
10 Things We Should Do to Fix Our Broken Food System
Making the changes necessary to fix the problems in both our agriculture (pollution, greenhouse gases, soil erosion) and in our diets (too few vegetables, too many calories) requires a fundamental shift in attitude. We all have to pay attention to things that haven’t been on our radar. And so, although there are many smart suggestions floating around, Tamar Haspel of the Washington Post focused on ten that have a ripple effect: changes that, with luck, will beget other changes that, ultimately, can change the zeitgeist.
Agriculture Is a Big Threat to Water Quality. These Farmers Are Doing Something about It.
Farmers are becoming more aware of nutrient pollution and agriculture’s contribution to it. And a growing number of them are adopting practices known to curb, if not eliminate, nutrient pollution. Many worry that if they don’t do more on their own, government will force them. Such practices include new conservation strategies, such as building artificial wetlands and underground “bioreactors” to capture nutrients in drainage systems.
More Data, Mapping, Can Help Countries Tackle Deforestation
Brazil, a long time contributor to the problem of deforestation, has managed to reverse course because of new monitoring and information systems that have aided government oversight.  The result was a blacklist of municipalities where deforestation was most prevalent. The information and mapping systems are also used by public prosecutors to monitor supply chains and enforce laws against companies purchasing illegally forested agricultural products.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA