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.

9 July 2014

This report from the Institution for Mechanical Engineers discusses the role that cold chain technologies can play in improving food security in developing countries. It argues that we need to address the question of how we can achieve sustainable food security and not just increased production.

9 July 2014

This working paper, discussing indicators for sustainable agriculture, is published as Part 6 of a major report by WRI – Creating a Sustainable Food Future.

9 July 2014

This study calculates that crops grown on land obtained through large scale acquisitions in developing countries could potentially feed 100 million more people than current practices do today.

1 July 2014

The Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) report on insecticides will shortly be published as a special issue of Environmental Science and Pollution Research.  In the report, the global group of researchers in the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides argue that insecticide use may already have caused severe harm to global food production through its  impacts on the environment.  The researchers look at the impacts and risks associated with neonicotinoids use. They argue that rather than protecting food production, the use of the insecticide is threatening the productivity of our natural and farmed environment.

1 July 2014

This paper provides a review of the current literature analysing environmental impacts of dietary recommendations. The review focuses on three aspects of dietary advice in particular: reducing the consumption of fat, reducing the consumption of meat-based protein and animal-based foods, and finally increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables. It then reviews the environmental impact assessments and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) that have been undertaken in foods that have relevance to these three dietary recommendations.

23 June 2014

This book uses a decade of primary research to examine how weather and climate, as measured by variations in the growing season using satellite remote sensing, has affected agricultural production, food prices and access to food in food-insecure regions of the world.

23 June 2014

This paper looks at four different conceptual frameworks that tend to be used by diverse stakeholders when analysing the problem of food security and suggesting solutions: agroecology, agricultural innovation systems, social-ecological systems and political ecology. In this paper the authors look at how each perspective or framework thinks about the food security problem, the theoretical positions underpinning each framework, its approach to improving the food security situation and ultimately its vision of what ‘good’ looks like.

13 June 2014

An international panel of scientists is calling for an evidence-driven debate over whether a widely used type of insecticide is to blame for declines in bees and other insect pollinators.

25 April 2014

Given the impending expiration of the MDGs, this article’s timely revision of the means of assessing extreme global poverty demonstrates how “dollar a day” measurements (now adjusted to $1.25) lack anchorage in specific human requirements, failing to provide a multidimensional understanding of poverty.

26 March 2014

This paper reviews one aspect of the food sustainability challenge: the goal of producing more food – a goal that is unthinkingly accepted by some and vigorously contested by  others. The paper argues that increased food production is necessary but also emphasises that this alone, as a response to the challenge, is not sufficient.

12 March 2014

This new report from the from China-based FORHEAD Working Group on Food Safety/SSRC discuss food safety issues in China. The report examines what is known from the natural, medical and social sciences about food safety in China and about policy and public responses. It aims to provide the basis for more effective use of existing knowledge and to inform a more integrated and problem-oriented research agenda.

27 February 2014

The aim of the  THE SMART FOOD GRID project is to improve the efficiency of local food distribution within Amsterdam.  The project grew out of research which analysed the flow of local food in and around the city. This found that while there was a great amount of fresh and processed food being brought into the city, a  link was not being made between this food and the general urban public.  SMARTGRID therefore aims to  link producers with consumers through the use of a smart-phone. Users can scan a QR code on a banner, order local products and get them delivered through sustainable transport modes to their house, office or other location.