Food Security

The more conventional definition of food security is one based on calories, on having enough food to keep oneself alive. It explains whether a person knows where his or her next meal is coming from, but even this definition is incomplete […] The concept of food security began as a consumer-focused statement, one designed to protect people from going hungry, but it made no mention of the needs of farmers or the environment. -- Douglas Gayeton

Access to food to determined by a number of factors. In this edition of Food List, we connect the dots and determine how to strengthen local, regional, and national food security.

While the ideas revolving around food security are largely consumer focused, we learn that there are many political and cultural elements that play an important role as well. The importance of food security not only lies in food access, but the ability to build a secure community — a community where families can flourish and thrive on locally produced, nourishing food.

As we learn, food security does not imply that the accessible food is culturally appropriate. In fact, in many food insecurity neighborhoods, the accessible food is not culturally appropriate. One of the best solutions to this, is to encourage households and neighborhoods to pursue growing their own food. In doing so, greater autonomy and security can be built within the kitchen.

Having connected the dots to what creates food security and understanding the root causes of food insecurity, now we ask: how can we create greater food security in our local, national, and global community?

This week's terms

Food Security

"Food Security is having consistent year round access to safe, local, affordable and culturally appropriate food that is grown, raised, produced and moved about in manners that are responsible to the environment while reflecting a consumption of natural resources that is equitable with a view to our offspring seven generations from now." - Erika Allen, West Garfield Park, Chicago, IL

Food Access

Food access is determined by a variety of factors. The income of people experiencing hunger, the racial or cultural background of certain populations, and the distance between people and food markets. [To counter this], people have developed approaches to promote neighborhood-based food retail outlets or community gardens in disadvantaged communities, and public education campaigns to highlight such inequities as the prevalence of low-quality corner and convenience stores in under-served communities.

Food Desert

An area where residents lack access to affordable fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other foods that constitute a healthy diet. Grocery stores are either inaccessible to these shoppers due to high prices or inadequate public transit or both.

Corner Store

A new twist on the corner store provides healthier and more economical food choices for consumers living in urban communities instead of only selling items like processed food, tobacco, and alcohol.

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