Glossary search results: 23

Adjustment or preparation of natural or human systems to a new or changing environment which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities (Source: EPA Glossary).

Produced or brought about by living organisms.

Ecosystem Service
Benefits people derive from ecosystem. Ecosystem services are typically grouped in four broad categories: provisioning, such as the production of food and water; regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits. (Source: Wikipedia)

Food Insecurity
The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) defines food insecurity as a household characteristic. Food insecure households are those for which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year”  (See more at: USDA-ERS).

Food Insecurity
The state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. During the first decade of this century, more than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity as their constant companion (see also National Academy of Science definitions).

Food Loss
Food losses refer to the decrease in edible food mass throughout the part of the supply chain that specifically leads to edible food for human consumption. Food losses take place at production, post-harvest and processing stages in the food supply chain. Food losses occurring at the end of the food chain (retail and final consumption) are rather called “food waste”, which relates to retailers’ and consumers’ behavior.

Food Security
Food security exists “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” Learn about the three pillars of food security at the World Health Organization (WHO) website and the four dimensions of food insecurity at the FAO website.

Food Waste
Food waste is a component of food loss and occurs when an edible item goes unconsumed as a result of human action or inaction, such as food discarded by retailers as a result of appearance or plate waste by consumers.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)
An index (i.e., a relative measure) of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere over a chosen time horizon, relative to that of carbon dioxide. The GWP represents the combined effect of the differing times these gases remain in the atmosphere and their relative effectiveness in absorbing outgoing thermal infrared radiation. Although the most common time horizon is 100 years, GWP have been reported also for time horizons of 20 years and 500 years.

Green Manure
A fertilizer consisting of growing plants that are plowed back into the soil.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG)

Any of the atmospheric gases, both natural and anthropogenic, that contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation produced by solar warming of the Earth's surface. Water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse Gas Effect
Heat trapping effect of greenhouse gases in the troposphere (lowest portion of the earth's atmosphere)

Relating to or considered in terms of pleasant (or unpleasant) sensations.

Enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves. Techniques, activities or lessons that allow someone to discover something for himself or by finding solutions through experiments or loosely defined rules.


1:  From institutional economics:  Economic institutions include norms (uncodified social rules), laws, and property relations (such as private property or communal property).  

2:  From sociology:  Social institutions are established or standardized patterns of rule-governed behavior. They include the family, education, religion, and economic and political institutions.  The also include the nested systems of relationships, processes, beliefs, practices, arrangements, expectations, and incentives that constitute these higher-order institutions.
See Topics in Sociology for more information, examples, and interesting food for thought.

3:  A large organization that has a particular kind of work or purpose.
      (e.g., financial/educational/research etc. institution)
      ...The food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the IPCC, the World Bank, central banks in general.

Other definitions (not necessarily used in this class):

4:  A building that people are sent to when they need to be looked after, for example old people or children with no parents - often used to show disapproval:  I was determined not to put my mother in an institution.
5:  When something is started or introduced in society, especially something relating to the law or politics:  The institution of divorce proceedings

6:  To be an institution:  if a person, place, event, etc. is an institution, they have been an important part of a place for a very long time - often used humorously:  The British pub isn't just somewhere to drink - it's an institution.

Life Cycle Assessment
LCA addresses the environmental aspects and potential environmental impacts (e.g. use of resources and the environmental consequences of releases) throughout a product's life cycle from raw material acquisition through production, use, end-of-life treatment, recycling and final disposal (i.e. cradle-to-grave). There are four phases in an LCA study: a) the goal and scope definition phase, b) the inventory analysis phase, c) the impact assessment phase, and d) the interpretation phase (ISO 2006).

Lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat (see more on Wikipedia).

A human intervention to reduce the human impact on the climate system; it includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas sources and emissions and enhancing greenhouse gas sinks (Source: EPA Glossary).

The capacity of a system to buffer shock and stresses. The ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity.

Sustainability is a holistic concept that built on three inter-related pillars: environmental, social and economic. To be sustainable, any entrepreneurial activity must be economically viable, ecologically healthy and socially equitable. A universal definition of sustainability was given for the first time by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in the Brundtland report published under the auspices of the United Nations in 1987.

One trillion (1x1012) grams = one million 1x106) metric tons (see Units of Mass in Metric System).

Total Mixed Ration (TMR)
Refers to the practice of loading pre-determined amounts of all feed ingredients and blending them in a mixer, followed by delivery to a group of cows, usually housed and managed in confinement.  Typically a dairy nutrition consultant will make recommendations using least-cost ration formulation software to determine the amounts and type of feed to blend based on economic considerations (minimizing feed cost), while providing the lactating cows with all know nutrients required for health and high milk production performance.

Unit of Mass in Metric System
1,000,000,000,000,000  1x1015 petagram (Pg) quadrillion  
1,000,000,000,000  (Million Metric Tons or Megatonnes)1x1012 teragram (Tg) trillion
 1,000,000,000  (Thousand Metric Tons) 1x109 gigagram (Gg) billion
 1,000,000  (Metric Ton) 1x106 megagram (Mg) million
 1,000   1x103 kilogram (Kg) thousand  
 100   1x102 hectogram (Hg) hundred  
 10   1x101 decagram (Dg) ten  
 1    gram    
   0.1 10-1 decigram (dg) tenth   
   0.01 10-2 centigram (cg) hundredth  
   0.001 10-3 milligram (mg) thousandth  
   0.000,001 10-6 microgram (µg) millionth  
   0.000,000,001 10-9 nanogram (ng) billionth  
   0.000,000,000,001 10-12 picogram (pg) trillionth  
   0.000,000,000,000,001 10-15 femtogram (fp) quadrillionth