circular food system_cropland_ kringlooplandbouw

Croplands and circular food systems

The choice of our future crops should be based on their potential to fulfil the nutritional requirements of humans while lowering the environmental impact.

The potential of crops

In a circular food system cropland is used primarily to produce nutritious foods from plant biomass that fulfil the nutritional requirements of humans; not only proteins and calories, but also other essential micronutrients. Crops provide plant-based foods but also crop residues and by-products. If we consume bread, for example, we also produce straw and husk (i.e. crop residues from cereal production) and wheat middlings (a by-product from flour production). All these products contain carbon and valuable nutrients, albeit in very different ratios, which makes them valuable as a source of energy or protein, micronutrients, or structural material.

Explore crop combinations

The choice of our future crops and their rotations should therefore be based on their main and by-products, as well as on their food value for humans and non-food value for the soil or farm animals. By applying the CiFoS-model, we aim to assess options for circular plant production systems, containing the choice of crops, the crop rotation, and the fertilisation scheme in order to minimise environmental impact, while at the same time meeting global nutritional demands.