- Rod Macrae, Cuddeford, V., Young, S. B., & Matsubuchi-Shaw, M. (2013). The Food System and Climate Change: An Exploration of Emerging Strategies to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. doi:10.1080/21683565.2013.774302
Available from the publisher: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21683565.2013.774302
Using existing literature and a modified life cycle assessment (LCA) approach, we analysed production, processing, distribution and cooling stages of food production. Looking at a range of current initiatives related to food system change, we suggest potential solutions to GHG emissions in the food system and strategic priorities for firms, NGOs and policy makers.
We conclude that focusing on food system localization, transport and modal issues alone will not generate significant GHG reductions relative to other opportunities. Our analysis shows a potential for emissions reductions in various food system sub-sectors, particularly sustainable production, cooling and refrigeration, and food waste minimization. Localization savings will be modest unless combined with other changes in these sub-sectors. On the transportation front, only modal shifts from truck to rail or truck to ship, and improving trucking load efficiencies, appear promising, though potentially challenging. Notably, results highlight a possible differentiated strategy: locally-sourced seasonal fruits and vegetables show greater GHG reduction possibilities than do locally-sourced animal products. Organic production appears to generate sufficient reductions to warrant strategic attention, but Integrated Pest Management does not sufficiently reduce agri-chemical use, while the heating requirements of greenhouses do not make them energy-competitive with long-distance field production imports.