The politics of plants

Emma Frow, David Ingram, Wayne Powell, Deryck Steer, Johannes Vogel, Steven Yearley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Food security is not a new concern, but has taken on new dimensions in recent years. Here we position food security in a broader context relating to the use and management of global biomass resources, and specifically the push to develop a 'bio-based economy'. We note a growing focus on plants as a source of innovative solutions to complex problems including food security, energy security, climate change and global environmental health. However, we also note that plants are a renewable but finite resource, and propose that renewed enthusiasm for plants is resulting in an increasingly complicated 'politics of plants,' as competition for limited land and biomass resources intensifies-the clash between food security and energy security over biofuels being an obvious example. Plants are a common thread across many policy domains including agriculture, energy, environment, health, and industry, and as such we suggest that they might provide a focal point for joined-up thinking and governance. We identify this broader picture as an important backdrop for discussions regarding food security, and from our proposed framework develop a number of recommendations for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalFood Security
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • bioeconomy
  • biofuels
  • biotechnology
  • food security
  • plant science
  • research policy


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