Food security and sustainability: can one exist without the other? – EntreYouth Project

Food security and sustainability: can one exist without the other?

Food security is defined as a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. In that sense, the United Nations (UN) have included eradicating hunger in its sustainable development goals (SDGs). Despite the efforts by many stakeholders for that goal, reducing food loss and waste is still in descending order. Some methods to contribute to that purpose are reusing or reprocessing surplus foods, recycling food as feed for animals, recover the energy as biofuels and nutrients as compost.

Our project, EntreYouth, contributes to that SDG by educating young people on the issue. Being informed correctly can develop a community of youth that know the risks and consequences of threats to food security. Examples of those threats are limited supplies of nutritious and safe foods or when consumers do not have the power to purchase enough food. This insecurity is created mainly amongst low-income groups who can deal with serious health issues in the long-term. Achieving food security and sustainability should be prioritized by different stakeholders as it expanded worldwide. A way to do that has been explained in Figure 1 by Vågsholm et al. (2020) in a pyramid of hierarchy from the uppermost desirable source reduction to the least desirable at the bottom.


Figure 1 (Source: Vågsholm, Arzoomand & Boqvist, 2020)


Food security and sustainability are interrelated because is a problem that derives from the individual to the global level. Its multidimensional character can be described in Figure 2 Berry et al. (2015).


Figure 2 (Source: Berry, Derni, Burlingame, Meybeck, and Conforti, 2015)


The figure shows how personal and global levels work together to create food security and sustainability. Many factors are observed to influence food security and sustainability, such as environmental, economic, and social factors, as well as stability. However, food security and sustainability are interrelated, they have an important difference. Sustainability is associated with the global level -but influences personal too- as it endures through systems and processes. The concept of sustainability in terms of food security is often found in long-term food production and consumption. Also, it is argued that it is a precondition for food security in the long-term. The three dimensions that affect long-term food security are related to sustainability which are economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Therefore, when considering food security as a term, we should always keep in mind that it is affected by many factors and stakeholders. Being able to be informed correctly on that matters can help people to know how to react to challenges that are associated with food security. By following our project, EntreYouth, you can gain that knowledge because soon we will offer resources that are valuable for expanding youth know-how and expertise in food security.


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