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"What do we need to do differently to be sure that we can feed the earth’s population - expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 – without compromising future generations in their ability to feed themselves?"
That’s a daunting question!! But as it is the question that has been the driving force throughout my own career, I created this website to share some of my work and ideas.
Where to begin? Let’s start with a few definitions
What is “food security”? It is achieved “when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” This is the most widely-accepted definition and attributed to the 1996 World Food Summit. The phrase “all people at all times” warrants some examination.
First, it reflects the concept of sustainable development; food security for generations alive today must be achieved in such a way so as not to preclude food security for future generations.
Secondly, it reflects the concept of justice; food security must be achieved in such a way so as not to preclude food security for everyone; it cannot be achieved for some at the expense of others.
The four pillars of food security are availability, access, utilization and stability. Again, although there are variations, this deconstruction appears to be the most widely-accepted and is attributed to the 2009 World Food Summit.
What is “food justice”? It is more difficult to find a common definition for this term. One of the more widely circulated definitions is from a book by the same title, Food Justice, by Robert Gottlieb and Joshi Anapama, as follows: “Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed and eaten are shared fairly.”
Part of the difficulty in finding a common definition is because food justice means different things to different people. It concerns fairness for consumers, producers, and workers across the agriculture and food sectors. Food justice is intertwined with social justice and environmental justice, concerns imbalances in the distribution of resources and power structures, and calls for transformation of the current food system.
Food justice and food security are inextricably connected. Both are equally important in the challenges that lie ahead in the actualization of Sustainable Development Goal #2 – “to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”