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.

12 May 2020

This report from the UK’s Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) documents how NFFN farmers are changing how they supply and market food to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

12 May 2020

The UK’s Food Research Collaboration has published a guidance note and a report on how food policy is currently made in England. It calls for more coordination between different decision-making bodies in the response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food system.

5 May 2020

The UK’s Food Ethics Council has published a write-up of its event “#FoodTalks: From emergency to recovery”, which was held on 28 April 2020. The event discussed how the UK’s food system can move towards resilience and fairness during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

5 May 2020

FCRN member Damian Maye of the University of Gloucestershire has put together a list of academic and non-academic resources on COVID-19 and sustainable food systems. It is organised into categories including agricultural labour, food access and security, local food networks, food waste and food system commentaries.

5 May 2020

The 2020 edition of the Global Food Policy Report from the International Food Policy Research Institute looks at how to make food systems inclusive of smallholders, women, and people affected by poverty or conflict.

29 April 2020

This podcast by the Green Alliance (a UK charity) is an interview with Professor Tim Lang about his new book Feeding Britain. The book was written before the coronavirus crisis, but the interview explores how the crisis is affecting the UK’s food system. The podcast also discusses food rationing, inequality and the links between food policy and the economy, defence, risk, nature and biodiversity.

29 April 2020

This blog post from University of Oslo’s Centre for Development and the Environment argues that the spread of zoonotic diseases cannot be halted simply by closing wet markets (often portrayed in the Western media as the source of viruses). Rather, it argues, deeper changes in the food system are required, since zoonotic diseases have also been linked to deforestation and industrial meat production.

29 April 2020

According to this article in Quartz Africa, a new wave of desert locust swarms is forming in East Africa (including Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia). Wet conditions mean that the locusts are likely to continue to breed. It is feared that many farmers could lose their newly planted crops. Efforts to control the swarms through aerial spraying have been slowed by the coronavirus crisis.

29 April 2020

This book examines how the food system can adapt to be able to produce enough food in a changing climate. The authors present global policy options and list key foods that could help, including algae, caribou and kale.

7 April 2020

This book examines how communities of microorganisms (microbiomes) affect their multicellular hosts, including soil, plant, animal and human hosts. It discusses how microbiomes affect the behaviour, nutrition and disease susceptibility of their hosts.

7 April 2020

This book explores the history of government food programmes in Britain over the past two centuries, including workhouses, school meals and the post-war welfare state. The book discusses how these programmes treated people differently, e.g. because of gender or race.

31 March 2020

This blog post from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition sets out the impacts that COVID-19 is likely to have on the food system in both low- and high-income contexts, including impacts on health, livelihoods and the cost of food transport. It also suggests how the food system can be strengthened to mitigate these challenges. See this table (PDF link) for a summary.

31 March 2020

This blog post from the UK’s Food Ethics Council explores some of the ethical complexities in the food system’s response to COVID-19. It notes that many people are displaying compassion and supporting neighbours during the pandemic. It also argues that other ongoing crises, including climate, nature loss, health and the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal negotiations, must not be neglected.

31 March 2020

This book looks at the tradeoffs between mitigating climate change and protecting food security, as well as the effects that climate change has on food production.

31 March 2020

This book by Tim Lang examines the state of the food supply chain in the UK, including how the UK’s food system has changed over the past few decades, the ways in which the supply chain is fragile, and how the food system needs to change, particularly as the UK leaves the European Union.

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.

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