World Food Day 2013: Sustainable Food Systems

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Today is World Food Day, an opportunity to celebrate the thousands of farmers and groups working in fields, kitchens, schools and laboratories around the world to raise yields, improve food and nutrition security, increase incomes, and protect biodiversity.

World Food Day 2013

World Food Day is observed every year around the world in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. The FAO leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, it acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to debate policy and negotiate agreements. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all. Since 1981, World Food Day has adopted a different theme each year to provide a common focus for areas that need action. The World Food Day 2013 theme is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.”

A sustainable food system

A food system is made up of the environment, people, institutions and processes by which agricultural products are produced, processed and brought to consumers. According to the FAO, almost a billion people worldwide are chronically undernourished. Addressing malnutrition requires integrated action and complementary interventions in agriculture and the food system, in natural resource management, in public health and education, and in broader policy domains. What would a sustainable food system look like? Is it even possible? The FAO video below highlights a Vietnamese model for a sustainable food system. It harnesses tradition and bolsters that with technology and the right policy mix. ‘V-A-C’ farming is a no-waste system integrating fish farming, raising livestock and growing fruit and vegetables together on the same farm. V-A-C farming has assured sufficient, healthy food to Viet Nam’s rural farmers — about half the population — while generating income and feeding the growing cities.

What do you #hunger to do?

Today, join the global movement to end hunger. Here are some ideas to take action in your community:

  • Grow a garden and donate produce to a local food bank
  • Join a local hunger coalition
  • Organize a food packing event

We can end hunger. It will take all of us.

About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.