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RADIANT: Realising dynamic value chains for underutilised crops

Biodiversity is hugely important for the functioning of natural systems, and restoring biodiverse ecosystems is an essential part of our fight against climate change. Biodiversity is key to food, nutrition and economic security, particularly for small farmers and farming communities in rural areas. There are around 259,000 plant species on our planet, of which 50,000 …

Evolving grass pea from ‘orphan’ crop to staple food

This post is written by Drs Peter Emmrich and Levi Yant.  Malnutrition from protein deficiency is a widespread problem and concern. Populations in the developing world are at particular risk due to the higher costs of animal proteins when compared to plant proteins. These populations therefore tend to rely on protein-rich plant-based foods like beans, …

Bambara groundnut for food and nutritional security

This post is written by Tan Xin Lin. Xin Lin is a post-graduate student with the BamBREED project, supervised by Dr Susan Azam Ali and Prof Festo Massawe. Her study aims to explore the hard-to-cook phenomenon of Bambara groundnut through the evaluation of physical, hydration, microstructural and compositional characteristics associated with various Bambara groundnut genotypes. She …

The National Food Strategy: Rebalancing our ‘protein economy’

This post is written by Prof Andy Salter.  July saw the publication of the long awaited second part of the National Food Strategy. Part 1 of the report was produced in July 2020 and was originally intended to provide an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the UK food system. However, this was ‘hijacked’ …

Diversity of duckweed sites in Elgin, Scotland: Part four in a botanical tale of exploring natural variation around us

This post is written by Kellie Smith.  After a successful duckweed hunt in the South East and West of England, featured in my previous blog posts, we then made our way north. We were headed to Scotland to see whether duckweed coverage was equally dense as in southern England and if different species compositions prevailed. …

A tale of rhynes and reens in the South West corner: Part three in a botanical tale of exploring natural variation around us

This post is written by Kellie Smith. See her previous posts about the great duckweed hunt here. The next exciting stop off point on our duckweed tour is the South West. In this case, the South West region refers to the ridge between Wales and England – Bristol, on the English side and Newport, on …

The National Food Strategy: our Director responds

This post is written by Prof David Salt. We welcome the publication of the National Food Strategy today. Since 2017, the Future Food Beacon has spearheaded transdisciplinary research on food systems, clear in the knowledge that our food systems must change in order to preserve population health and the health of the planet. The current …

Duckweed hunting in the South West: Part two in a botanical tale of exploring natural variation around us

This post is written by Kellie Smith I introduced the great duckweed hunt in my previous blog starting on the South East coast. The quest takes me this week to the other end of the South, the South west corner, particularly St Austell and the Cornwall region. It turns out Cornwall is quite far! Why …

The great duckweed hunt! Part one in a botanical tale of exploring natural variation around us

This post is written by Kellie Smith. Welcome to our new series, showcasing duckweed! We have written about duckweed before, but these posts showcase PhD candidate Kellie Smith’s fieldwork hunting duckweed around the UK. Kellie is an avid duckweed collector and researcher in Food and Agriculture at the University of Nottingham. She is passionate about …