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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What is Food Security

Food security means making sure that sufficient variety of healthy food is available to everyone and that a sustainable food chain is maintained

The World Health Organization and UN Food Organization describe food security as
  • Availability of enough food.
  • Economic and Physical Accessibility of Food: People being able to afford and purchase food within a reasonable distance from where they live.
  • Utilization of Food: Food has sufficient nutrition, food is prepared properly and a diverse diet is available also termed.
  • These elements are stable over time which requires sustainable environmental and political/socio-economic conditions.

Food security solutions focus on specific factors:
  • Increasing availability of
        - locally sustainably grown, organic, natural, fresh food.
        - diverse agricultural produce through multi-cropping.
        - expertise and food production know-how among the younger generation.
        - options for urban farming and community gardening.
        - support and services to increase the viability of farming.

  • Improving accessibility
        - supporting all sections of the community with food programs, charities, food banks,             
          distribution centres.
        - improving access to food in rural and remote areas.
        - supporting food markets, stores, farmers markets, farm direct, CSAs, buying clubs and other    
        - expanding local infrastructure for food processing, storage, and distribution.

  • Providing community education on Food Utilization
        - replacing processed fatty foods with a nutritious diet to reduce obesity and related health
        - ensuring cultural sensitivity as well as human dignity.
        - encouraging diverse food preparation techniques.

  • Policy building to address
       - environmental protection while producing, consuming and disposing food.
       - providing sustainable livelihoods to providers and those working in the food chain.
       - increasing dialogue, communication and learning about food security.
       - prioritizing everyone’s right to food for a healthy life in a healthy ecosystem over food trade   
         and commercial interests by protecting land and other resources.

Source: Food Secure Canada, Food Secure Vancouver

Credit: Magnolia Lim

    Planned Series
    This post is part of a planned series of articles to explore in detail the above listed dimensions of food security and to unpick different aspects of this complex subject. The above overview helps to understand where each topic fits within the Food Security umbrella.

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