A new article each month to highlight Warwick Crop Centre research relating to International Year of Plant Health 2020
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations have declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) and have called for organisations to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.
Much of the research in the School of Life Sciences is aimed at improving crop productivity and combating pests and diseases while conserving the environment in order to feed an increasing population.
Each month, for the remainder of the year, the Crop Centre will be presenting a new article to highlight some of this work that relates to IYPH 2020.
Emma Parkin (pictured left) is passionate about food and its connection to the environment. Therefore in 2004 she took up baking as a career to make bread in an ethical and ecologically responsible way. From originally using premises at Shillingford Organics in Exeter, to then baking in the Real Food Store in central Exeter, she now has her own premises including a bakery and café along Exeter Quay named the Boatyard Bakery & Café (pictured left). During the COVID-19 crisis, Emma has witnessed a lot of neighbouring businesses along the quay forced to close. As bread is a staple food item, the bakery part of her business has remained open but not without canny adaptations in the ways they operate.
PhD student, Becca McGowan from the School of Life Science's, Warwick Crop Centre speaks to Emma to discuss how the business has been rising to the challenge! More information
Warwick developing a utility decision support tool to evaluate the efficacy of different stochastic countermeasure strategies to COVID 19 including health risk to the population
Professor Jim Smith, from the Department of Statistics and one of the Food GRP leads , is heading a team of researchers from Warwick University and the Alan Turing Institute in developing a fast multiattribute utility decision support tool. This is designed to enable the general public to evaluate the efficacy of different stochastic countermeasure strategies to COVID 19.
One critical issue at the current time is to balance in a rational way the short term health risks to the population - both directly and indirectly caused by COVID 19 against the usually more long term health risks caused by countermeasures. In particular the medium and long term effects of poverty and destitution can be expected to dramatically decrease life expectancy in the general population. The imposition of severe countermeasures can therefore be seen as exacerbating long term health outcomes.
Food poverty - as witnessed for example through the increased use of food banks - has been shown to be one of the more sensitive indicators of how poverty is increasing in the general population. Dr Martine Barons, also a Food GRP lead from the Department of Statistics and Jim are currently using the broad expertise of the Warwick Food GRP to develop simple food measures of poverty and so indicators to determine this and other deleterious effects of COVID 19 to set these against the more immediate health risks.
New article in the launch issue of Nature Food
The piece, authored collaboratively by members of the IFSTAL team, including Rosemary Collier from Warwick's School of Life Sciences, sets out the case for a systems approach to challenges in the food system and highlights the aspirations of the programme.
IFSTAL’s successes to date – including the engagement of 1,500 students from 45 different university departments as well as the programme’s well established overseas activity – are also laid out.
The article, A future workforce of food-system analysts, is available to read on the Nature Food website.