Thursday, May 26, 2011

What is food security?

Community Food Security Coalition

Our government* defines food security as "affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times."

For some people, food security means to not have to worry about where their family's next meal is coming from, whatever that meal might be and for whatever reason, including poverty, homelessness, or absence of food even if money is no object.

Some communities are considered food deserts because they lack access to grocery stores. A food desert could be a small town in a remote rural location, or it could be a neighborhood within a big city.

However, food security is not merely freedom from hunger. One's diet might fill the belly but still be nutritionally inferior and actually cause harm.

Even access to a full service grocery store does not ensure food security, if one takes into account whether the food is stripped of its nutritional value by over-processing, whether it contains antibiotics, hormones, drug-resistant bacteria, or other contaminants that don't belong in our food. Food security requires that our food be safe.

Long term food security on a global and even local scale requires that we preserve the natural resources necessary to sustain our food supply.

With food insecurity comes serious health problems and other socioeconomic issues.

Food insecurity has been responsible for the demise of entire civilizations.

Without food, we die.

Earth is fast approaching its capacity to feed a global population expected to reach 9 billion people in just under 40 more years.

Thus, food security is the most important social issue of the 21st century.

I will address these and other issues relevant to the loaded term "food security." Stay tuned for more details to come.

*The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture

More information

Community Food Security Coalition
Food Deserts
USDA Food Desert Locator

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You might also be interested in Donna’s other work as National Food Policy Examiner, National Science News Examiner, Long Beach Urban Agriculture Examiner and founder and executive director of Long Beach Grows.

Copyright © 2011 Donna Marykwas; All rights reserved.

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