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.

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?

Image: Shack Dwellers International, 2010 market Harare Zimbabwe, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
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.

25 November 2019

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food consortium has recently launched a podcast series, The Food Fight, which examines the biggest challenges facing the food system, and the innovations and entrepreneurs looking to solve them.

25 November 2019

This book examines the socio-economic dimensions of food security, including drivers of food demand, determinants of food supply, coordinating supply and demand, and case studies of countries with both high and low food security.

25 November 2019

This book sets out the importance of assessing food security policies, such as to address failures of past food policies, and gives practical guidance on how to use evidence to analyse policies.

19 November 2019

This book, edited by Mark Lawrence and Sharon Friel, sets out ideas on health, sustainability and equity in food systems, discusses the current state of the food system and suggests how policymakers and practitioners can create healthy and sustainable food systems.

19 November 2019

This report from charitable coalition End Hunger UK sets out the arguments for addressing the root causes of hunger in the UK from seven perspectives: morality, child welfare, health, secure income, human rights, politics and public opinion.

Image: Stian Broch, Barley-otto 0970, EAT-Lancet media kit
19 November 2019

According to this study, the diet recommended by the EAT-Lancet commission on grounds of health and sustainability is too expensive for around 1.6 billion people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. The study is based on food prices and household incomes in 159 countries. 

11 November 2019

In this blog post, Asaf Tzachor of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge describes four pathways by which the global food system could collapse. He calls for greater awareness that interactions between different processes (such as ocean acidification, climate change, wildfires and plant diseases) could lead to vicious cycles, and argues that policymakers should seek leverage points in the food system.

Image: Fly, Flooded fields at Churn, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
11 November 2019

This paper uses data from 1961 to 2010 to assess the effects that extreme weather events had on nutrient supplies (micronutrients, macronutrients and fibre) in different countries. Extreme weather generally had a small but negative impact on nutrient availability. The effects were more pronounced in both land-locked developing countries and in low-income food deficit countries, with nutrient supply decreasing by between 1% and 8%.

Image: kin kate, Pizza, Public Domain Pictures, Public domain
11 November 2019

This paper sets out a definition of so-called hyper-palatable foods (HPF), i.e. foods designed to contain combinations of fat, sugar, carbohydrates, and/or sodium at levels that make it likely that people will continue eating these foods for longer (compared to other foods where they stop eating sooner through the mechanism of sensory‐specific satiety).

29 October 2019

On 22 September 2019, the Food and Land Use Coalition hosted the event "Securing Our Future: People, Food and Nature Solving the Planetary Emergency", which set out how leadership and innovative partnerships can change food systems to promote livelihoods while protecting ecosystems and the climate.

29 October 2019

The book Food for All in Africa: Sustainable Intensification for African Farmers argues that the way forward for African agriculture is to produce greater yields with fewer inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides.

29 October 2019

The 2019 edition of the Global Agricultural Productivity Report from Virginia Tech University emphasises the systemic nature of the many challenges facing food, health and environment and calls for increased agricultural productivity as a way of meeting future food demand sustainably.

22 October 2019

Taylor & Francis have launched Sustainable Development Goals Online (SDGO), a curated library to support the United Nations' call to action to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect the planet. This interdisciplinary collection of digital content includes more than 12,000 selected articles and chapters, including the Zero Hunger collection with nearly 1000 items relating to SDG 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

22 October 2019

This report by the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London sets out how a “Food in All Policies” approach to food systems challenges can meet goals not only relating to food but also relating to education, social inclusion, livelihoods and fair economic development. 

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