Tapping into the genetic diversity contained within the seeds of wild relatives and forgotten crop plants could help farmers decrease their dependency on global agribusiness and grow food better suited to local conditions.
A raft of strategies is being trialled in Europe to turn nutrient-rich farm waste such as chicken feathers, cow dung and plant stalks into green fertiliser. Full of phosphorus and nitrogen, recycled products could help reduce intensive agriculture’s emissions and reliance on fertiliser imports.
Small farms sometimes get overlooked as a feasible solution for feeding a growing population, but researchers say they should be given greater support, with some producing more food than official statistics report.
Forests have a special magic for many of us. Steeped in folklore and fantasy, they are places for enchantments, mythical creatures and outlaws. But if they are to survive into the future, they may also need a helping hand from science.
We should breed new varieties of crops based on their root architecture rather than just focusing on the top half of the plant, according to scientists looking at how to cultivate plants that use water more efficiently and better withstand drought conditions.
Food fraud, where different or low-quality food is deliberately mislabelled and sold as high-quality goods, risks the health of consumers as well as the economic viability of producers and manufacturers. To combat this, researchers have figured out that analysing the past and present behaviour of criminal activity could predict what they might target in the future.
Free flowing rivers have almost entirely vanished across Europe.
Animal droppings are still used to fertilise crops, as fuel and even for building.
R&I missions will mean rethinking the economy - Prof. Mazzucato.