Skip to main content

Programmes Food

Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food

What are we doing?

We link together existing research on the food system at Oxford and support new interdisciplinary research that addresses the challenges of feeding the global population sustainably, healthily and equitably. This includes scientific, economic, social and environmental issues of food production and consumption, as well as challenges for health, sustainability and development. 

Why is it important?

Without radical change to the way we produce and consume food, as well to the governance of the food system, there is a substantial risk of significant increases in food prices with major political, environmental and humanitarian consequences.

How are we different?

By integrating existing research, supporting new interdisciplinary initiatives, and facilitating interactions between academia, government, civil society and the private sector, we bring both fresh insights and effective action to address the challenges of feeding the global population.

Research highlights

Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP)The LEAP Project will address the consequences of the global increase in the consumption of meat, dairy and other animal-sourced foods and how it affects the environment and human health. It will focus on how to achieve changes towards more sustainable and healthy diets.

The Relationship Between the Food System, Health and DevelopmentGlobal food systems are highly complex. They are both influenced by and have influences on health, economic development and the environment. They will face considerable strain over the coming decades as income growth, urbanisation and globalisation lead to shifts towards Western dietary patterns (e.g. high in meat and processed foods) across the developing world. This project aims to develop the first integrated model of environmental sustainability, health and economic development. Two major recent publications have modelled the impact of climate change on food production and the impact of plant-based diets on health and greenhouse gas emissions.

Implications for food production of adaptation to environmental change with an ageing agricultural sector: addresses two key elements of the food security debate: the role of environmental change, climate and insects, and the structure of the farming population, age and gender. The key research question is addressing the adaptation to environmental change, brought on by both climate change and land use changes, requiring modern adaptive methods of farming at a time when the farming population is ageing. The case study area is North Vietnam, where the programme has a collaboration with COHED, Centre for Community, Health and Development.

Food Climate Research Network: aims to increase our understanding of how the food system contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and what we can do to reduce them. The network looks at the role of technology in reducing food-related emissions but also at what changes in our behaviour are needed. The network's most recent report - Plates, Pyramids, Planet - evaluated government-issued food guidelines from 83 countries, looking in particular at whether they link to environmental sustainability.

Emerging Forms Of Food Consumer Behaviour And Food Governance: How do new media shape consumer activism and food governance? Recent publications have explored how mobile apps provide a platform for user-generated ethical consumption campaigns, and the impact of the UK government’s Foresight Obesity Systems Map.