Different ways of growing food and getting it onto people’s plates can either worsen inequality and climate breakdown or work to reduce them. The scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say that changing how the world farms to focus more on plant-based food has some of the best potential to bring both climate benefits and meet people’s needs. But what people choose to eat, and the best ways for rural people to support themselves, vary hugely from place to place.
Recent decades saw a big shift towards heavily industrialised and more meat-based farming – a model with a major carbon footprint not primarily concerned with ensuring that everyone gets enough, good food to eat. But better ways of growing and distributing food, and more sustainable diets, are spreading rapidly; and traditional ways of producing food are being championed too.