People sit around a table talking about sustainable food systems.

Why local land matters for sustainable food systems

Land presents both challenges and opportunities for establishing sustainable food systems. That is one of the learning points from a workshop in Brighton on 7 December 2016. Stakeholders joining the discussions included local small-scale producers, retailers of sustainable produce, non-governmental organisations (Food Matters and The Gaia Foundation), and researchers from the University of Sussex and…

A Kharai camel stands with factory chimney stacks behind it on the horizon.

Livelihoods on the edge: contested mangroves in Kachchh

There is a real buzz about Mundra village on the Gulf of Kachchh coast, one of the fastest growing industrial hubs in India. A sprawling port, two of India’s biggest thermal power plants, and a special economic zone with growing export industries jostle for space in what once used to be western India’s biggest stretch…

Herd of cows

Livelihoods and the political economy of dairy in India and South Africa

This is the second of two blog posts comparing the dairy sector in India and South Africa, as part of research from the Governing the Land-Water-Environment Nexus in Southern Africa project. Read the first post, exploring the reasons behind the different pathways taken by the two countries.   The dairy sectors in both South Africa…

Woman stand in front of a dairy parlour in South Africa.

Divergent Dairy: comparing pathways in India and South Africa

As a significant agricultural commodity in both India and South Africa, what role can dairy play in spurring development?

Farming in the UK: can we nourish ourselves from this land?

The recent dispute over food prices between the UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, and the UK’s biggest food and grocery manufacturer, Unilever shines a light on a deeper problem in the global food system: our reliance on food that is grown elsewhere. This is compounded by a drive for healthy eating in the UK which…

urban farming india

What does the future hold for Delhi’s urban farmers?

A new digital story and photo book show the dilemmas facing urban farmers at the edge of Delhi and Ghaziabad in India. Surrounded on all sides by rapid urbanisation, industry and even new tourist attractions, the farmers find their access to land increasingly constrained. Their crops, and their health, are affected by rising pollution.

The sugar rush in southern Africa

In a new post on his Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones discusses a new special issue looking at sugar in South Africa. “It is a good moment to review the political economy of sugar in southern Africa. This is what a new open access special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies does….

What we talk about when we talk about technology

In casual conversation ‘technology’ usually means something like a device, gadget or machine. Your smartphone for instance, or the satellite navigation system in your car; maybe the car itself, why not? But this conception of technology soon collapses if you subject it to a few quick tests. For example, try asking: Where is the technology?…

Empowering chickens?

In his latest Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the latest scheme from Bill Gates to distribute chickens to help poor rural women.

A man walks to his field with his house and granary store and dark storm clouds behind.

How to move beyond technology in ‘Sustainable Intensification’

by Saurabh Arora and Ravic Nijbroek Sustainable Intensification (SI) promises more food from the same amount of land, while minimizing pressure on the environment. In Sub-Saharan Africa, considerable research and effort has been put into achieving it – but without the expected success. So why has Sustainable Intensification (SI) not made as much progress as…