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February 3rd, 2012


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09:31 am - On Food Security
commodorified has posted about food security and encouraged other people to respond on the topic in whatever way they like. Thanks to kalypso_v for her post on the subject and links.
Food Security is defined by The World Health Organisation as existing when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

Food security is built on three pillars:

Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.
People are going without food in this country, this winter, to a much greater degree than they were last winter. This is not because there is less food. I think that's very important. There is just as much good and delicious food: we are just choosing to redistribute it in a different way, so some people have a lot, and some don't have enough. In some parts of society that literally means not enough calories. To other people it means lack of vitamins, and for example unless policies are changed we will see rickets in this country again. Most people reading this will be too young to have seen it, but when I was a child many old women in Birmingham had rickets.

And as Polly Toynbee says in today's Guardian - we are barely seeing the start of it yet.

And the ridiculous thing is, we won't save that much money by restricting food supplies to the poorest. It doesn't cost that much, and most of it goes back into the economy anyway. It's wasted and unnecessary suffering.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:storme
Date:February 3rd, 2012 11:05 am (UTC)
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My mother's GP has traced back the bulk of her (many, many) medical issues to incredibly poor nutrition in her childhood--and most of them didn't manifest until she was in her thirties, so it may be a while before we start seeing the effects of malnutrition.

(I've been trying to cut back on the amount we're spending on food and mostly that has meant genuinely being startled at how much some foods cost now. I'm not surprised people are having to go without.)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 3rd, 2012 12:48 pm (UTC)
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I think height is very strongly affected by childhood nutrition. I am much taller than my grandma, and my kids are much taller than me in turn.
[User Picture]
From:del_c
Date:February 3rd, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
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And height, in turn, affects wages, in both men and women. So food insecurity in childhood becomes yet another of those alleged "lifestyle choices" that poor people have to bear the consequences of all the rest of their later lives.
[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:February 4th, 2012 09:07 am (UTC)
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The other cause of rickets is lack of sunlight.
How does one persuade the computer generation to go outside?

How does one make land available to people who want to grow their own food in order to save money? Gone are the days when all council houses had a large garden for just this purpose. I remember my grandfather's council house had space for an amazing amount of produce.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 4th, 2012 03:02 pm (UTC)
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You have made me think that short term tenancy arrangements make it harder for people to establish gardens
[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:February 4th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
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Very true. If the soil is poor, it needs a couple of years work just to get it in good nick. And if you're there for less than a year, why plant when you'll never get to pick the crop (unless it's rocket, of course)
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:February 4th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
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SC works a lot in this area - food security is a massive priority area at Nottingham University. There are some fascinating projects underway that will inevitably have an impact on the way food is grown, managed and distributed over the coming years; we can only hope the benefits will be as fairly shared across society as we might wish - both here and abroad.
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:February 4th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)

Food security - from SC

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SC here. Communicator, I couldn't agree more. We had the BBSRC Food Security champion speak to us at work a couple of weeks ago; most of the research funding associated with FS is coming through the sciences (improving crops, improving water use, soil studies, microbiology etc.) But we seem to have forgotten Amartya Sen's Nobel prize winning analysis of the famines of the 20th Century - in every case there was enough food, just (large) groups of people who had nothing to exchange for the food that was available. The solutions are in politics and economics... but my career still benefits from being able to study nasty E. coli strains :-)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 4th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Food security - from SC

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Yes. The Irish famine in the 19th century was quite unnecessary too. I think getting readily available food to hungry people has got to be a core economic goal. I can remember my blood boiling in The Grapes of Wrath when they spray the oranges with - can't remember what - to stop hungry people eating them.
[User Picture]
From:katlinel
Date:February 5th, 2012 09:25 am (UTC)

Re: Food security - from SC

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Isn't that still going on though? I hear that supermarkets pour stuff over the food that's unsold and dumped in bins in order to stop people scavenging from the bins. Not that people should have to scavenge from bins.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 5th, 2012 09:31 am (UTC)

Re: Food security - from SC

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Yes, my kids have both worked at M&S and they destroy a lot of food at the end of every working day by putting blue dye on it

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