Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Food security and nutrition

In 1996, the World Food Summit stated that food security ‘exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.’ This definition encompasses four key elements: 1) the physical availability of food, 2) the legal, political, economic and social arrangements which assure access to food, 3) the ability to utilise food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being, and 4) the stability of all these factors across time. Today, just under 800 million people are undernourished. Compounding this problem, changing dietary patterns (sometimes referred to as the ‘nutrition transition’) brought on by the processes of globalisation mean that, obesity is also now a growing problem, and many developing and emerging countries now find themselves presented with a ‘double burden’ of poor nutrition. Over 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese and most of these are to be found in middle and low income countries simply because their populations are so great. Overlapping with these numbers some 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies (most commonly of iron, vitamin A and iodine) which causes physical and cognitive problems, particularly in children and women of childbearing age.

24 March 2020

This podcast by the research programme Praxis: Arts and Humanities for Global Challenges discusses interdisciplinary research, balancing priorities of preserving local food varieties with feeding the population and the future food research agenda.

24 March 2020

In this piece in The Conversation, Tim Lang (Professor of Food Policy at City, University of London) argues that the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis exposes the fragility of the UK’s food supply chain, with limited storage, a just-in-time supply model, and nearly half of the UK’s food being imported. Lang calls for a food rationing system to be introduced to ensure everyone has access to food (read Lang’s letter to the UK Prime Minister here).

24 March 2020

This book provides technical information on food safety and quality in developing countries, using case studies of various types of food including spices, cassava, fruits and vegetables and beverages.

24 March 2020

This report from global network Future Earth identifies the risks perceived by scientists to be most likely to lead to a global systemic crisis. Most of the scientists interviewed mentioned at least four of the five following risks: food, climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss and water. 

10 March 2020

In this episode of the Farm Gate podcast, FCRN member ffinlo Costain speaks to Caitlin Werrell (co-founder of the Washington-based Centre for Climate & Security) and to Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti (the UK's former Climate, Energy & Security Envoy) to explore how climate change might impact food security in developed nations such as the UK and the United States. 

10 March 2020

This briefing from UK NGO Sustain argues that the UK government should extend universal free school meals beyond the first three years of primary school. After the first three years, only children whose families receive certain benefits qualify for free school meals. Currently, many children who live in poverty are not eligible to receive free school meals, e.g. because their families are not allowed to access public funds due to their immigration status or because of 2018 changes to the earnings threshold that determines eligibility.

18 February 2020

This report from Sustainable Diets for All (a programme by Hivos and the International Institute for Environment and Development) documents a food diaries project in East Java that aimed to address the triple burden of malnutrition: co-existing undernutrition, overweight and micronutrient deficiencies.

3 February 2020

This book explores why hunger is still a problem in the modern world, including case studies from Niger, Northern India, Argentina and Chicago.

3 February 2020

This book shows how stories about the food system can be framed in different ways, and how people are affected by how stories are told about them. The book focuses on food insecurity, farm labour and obesity.

28 January 2020

This book addresses food loss and waste from a range of perspectives, looking at key stages in the supply chain, different types of commodity and different regions in the world.

28 January 2020

This report from the UK Soil Association’s Food for Life initiative explores the state of children’s food in England. It finds that 4 in 10 children leaving primary school will be overweight or obese by 2024, nine out of ten preschool children eat too much sugar and UK families eat the most ultra-processed diet in Europe.

28 January 2020

This report from the Food Systems Group of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute argues that small-scale (less than 20 ha) family farms are and will continue to be important suppliers of food in middle- and low-income countries, and that oversimplified narratives get in the way of effective policymaking.

28 January 2020

This paper finds that over ten billion people could be fed within the constraints of four planetary boundaries (biosphere integrity, land-system change, freshwater use, and nitrogen flows), if the food system undergoes a “technological-cultural U-turn”.

20 January 2020

According to the Global Risks Report 2020 by the global NGO World Economic Forum, the five risks with the greatest likelihood of happening all relate to the environment (as opposed to the economy, society, geopolitics or technology). The five risks are: extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters.

20 January 2020

This paper reviews the ingredients and nutrient contents of several plant-based meat alternatives (made from soy, other legumes, mycoprotein and cereals) and compares them to traditional meat products. It finds that no broad conclusions can be drawn about whether meat analogues or traditional meat products are healthier, with their composition varying between products.

13 January 2020

Farmwel chief executive ffinlo Costain has launched a new podcast, Farm Gate, which focuses on practical solutions for climate and food security. The topics covered are relevant for everyone who eats food, but particularly intended for farmers, food chain professionals, and policy-makers. The FCRN’s Tara Garnett was interviewed in the episode Is 'vegan' a dirty word?

7 January 2020

The Lancet and the World Health Organisation have produced a series on the double burden of malnutrition and how it affects low- and middle-income countries. The double burden of malnutrition refers to the simultaneous presence of overnutrition (e.g. overweight and obesity) and undernutrition (e.g. stunting and wasting) in a country, city, community or person. 

2 December 2019

According to this article by the New Food Economy, the United States has experienced five E. coli outbreaks in the leafy green supply chain in two years. The latest outbreak, affecting romaine lettuce, originated in Salinas, California. A task force found that a 2018 outbreak was possibly linked to the presence of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) near lettuce farms.

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