This article looks beyond the physical sciences to address the problems of hunger, malnutrition, and environmental degradation. It discusses the challenges and problems with global food security and where and why paradigm shifts are needed to meet those challenges in a fair and sustainable way. It discusses food’s role as a satisfier of human need, the importance of history in aiding the understanding of contemporary challenges and the fundamental changes needed to achieve the goal of fair and sustainable food systems.
This article looks beyond the physical sciences to understand the problems of hunger, malnutrition, and environmental degradation. The justification for this is that in addition to the physical, chemical, and biological systems, which allow and maintain food production, there are two other fundamentals for our consideration.
- One is the recognition that what we see today in our food systems has a history and that things could be different. The challenge here is to learn from that history.
- The other is that food plays a key part in satisfying basic human needs. However, those needs are complex and multifaceted. They include the physiological, psychological, social, and cultural – and so take us into the realms of economics, power, and politics.
This article was originally published on Food and Energy Security, Volume 2, Issue 1, pag 1-11, May 2013
Geoff Tansey is an independent writer and consultant. He is a member and trustee of the Food Ethics Council, an honorary research fellow, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford and honorary visiting fellow, Center for Rural Economy, University of Newcastle, all in the United Kingdom. As a consultant, he has worked for various UN and international agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations, including FAO, World Bank, World Health Organisation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The views expressed here are personal and should not be attributed to any of the organizations with which he is connected. See http://www.tansey.org.uk.