Food is a basic human need, a source of nourishment, and a fundamental pillar of well-being. However, for many communities around the world, securing a consistent and nutritious food supply remains an ongoing struggle.
Several interconnected issues contribute to this persistent problem
Limited Access to Traditional Food Networks: Marginalized communities often find themselves geographically isolated or economically disadvantaged, leading to limited access to traditional food supply chains. These communities may reside in food deserts, areas with few or no grocery stores, leaving residents with no choice but to rely on less healthy, processed foods.
High Food Prices: Because of the problems that arose with Covid-19 and that have persisted since, prices are disproportionately high compared to average income levels. This means that even when food is available, it may be unaffordable for a significant portion of the population, leading to malnutrition and hunger.
Nutritional Disparities: Malnutrition and diet-related health issues are prevalent in many countries. Access to fresh, locally sourced, and nutritious foods is limited, leading to higher rates of diet-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Environmental Impact: Traditional food systems often have a negative environmental impact due to resource-intensive agricultural practices, transportation, and excessive food waste. This not only exacerbates food insecurity but also contributes to environmental degradation.
Lack of Entrepreneurial Skills: Many individuals within these communities possess valuable ideas and resources but lack the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to turn these ideas into sustainable food enterprises. This results in untapped potential and missed opportunities for economic empowerment.
Vulnerable Groups: Specific vulnerable groups, such as low-income families, minorities, and individuals with limited access to education, are disproportionately affected by these challenges. They often lack the tools and support needed to break the cycle of food insecurity and unsustainability.
In light of these challenges, addressing food insecurity and promoting sustainable food systems becomes not only a moral imperative but also a critical step towards social and economic development for marginalized communities.
The entreYOUTH project aims to address these challenges. By focusing on the development of sustainable and circular urban food enterprising, the project aims to address the root causes of food insecurity and unsustainability in marginalized communities. Through a comprehensive curriculum, training resources, and community engagement initiatives, the project empowers youth workers to become agents of change.
By equipping these youth workers with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need, the project addresses the core issues that perpetuate food insecurity in these communities. It offers a pathway for sustainable food provisioning, circular economy practices, and entrepreneurship, thereby creating opportunities for marginalized groups to not only secure their access to nutritious food but also to actively participate in and benefit from alternative food networks.
- Liese et al, Persistence and transience of food insecurity and predictors among residents of two disadvantaged communities in South Carolina, 2021
- Belay et al, Breaking the cycle of unsustainable food systems, hunger, and debt, A Special Report, 2023
- Herrera et al, Food insecurity related to agricultural practices and household characteristics in rural communities of northeast Madagascar, 2021
- Smith, From consuming to communing: taking a ‘more than food’ approach to understanding food insecurity and its intersection with ethical and sustainable consumption, 2023