Getting beyond ’empty signifiers’—Food policy expert Corinna Hawkes asks: What are food systems for?
Advocacy / Agri-Health / Agriculture / Article / Diet / Opinion piece / Policy

Getting beyond ’empty signifiers’—Food policy expert Corinna Hawkes asks: What are food systems for?

Corinna Hawkes, director of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London, UK, asks all of us concerned with ‘food systems’ of one kind or another to think beyond ’empty signifiers’, even beyond visions for better food systems, and to get back to a fundamental question—what should be the purpose of food systems? If we can reach agreement on that, she argues, we can then set about creating diverse visions and actions, suiting diverse circumstances, for fulfilling that agreed-upon purpose. Continue reading

Drought / Drylands / East Africa / Food Security / Mali / Niger / Opinion piece / Pastoralism / Vulnerability / West Africa

Flawed global food systems–not drought–cause of African famines

Foods of Khulungira Village, in central Malawi (clockwise from top left): nsima (maize meal porridge), kachewere wophika (boiled potatoes), nkhuku yophika (chicken stew), nkhwani ndi phwetekere (pumpkin leaves with tomato), kachewere wokazinga (fried potatoes), and kholowa ndi phwetekere (sweetpotato leaves with tomato) (photo credit: CGIAR/Stevie Mann). All names in Chichewa, Malawi’s national language; translations by Christopher … Continue reading

Agriculture / Food Security

Our food system is failing half the people, overfed and underfed, on the planet

The world’s food system is failing half of the people on the planet. That’s the disturbing conclusion of the Global Farming & Futures Report, which synthesizes findings collected from more than 400 scientists and 34 countries. The British government’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills published the document in January. ‘Economic inequality among nations and … Continue reading

Africa / Agriculture / Asia / Directorate / Food Security / ILRI / Latin America / Pro-Poor Livestock / Research

‘Complex’ Third World animal agriculture and food security highlighted at Minnesota ‘UN General Assembly’

A Gujjar child rests against her favourite buffalo on a trek in the Himalayan foothills; the Muslim transhumant Gujjar of northern India as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan are among the estimated one billion people worldwide who depend on livestock for their livelihoods (photo credit: ILRI/MacMillan). Both the Minnesota Post and Minnesota Public Radio News … Continue reading

Africa / Agriculture / Asia / CGIAR / Directorate / Food Security / ILRI / Latin America / Research

Livestock development, food policy and tropical agriculture leaders gather in Minnesota to discuss sustainable food production

‘. . . Three leaders of worldwide agricultural research centers will discuss “Sustainably Feeding the World” at a University of Minnesota forum on Monday. ‘All three panelists are directors-general of international research institutes that are part of the 15-member network known as the Consultative Group on International Research Centers. ‘They include Carlos Seré, who leads … Continue reading

Agriculture / Environment / Farming Systems / Food Security / NRM / WLE

A viable food future?

What kind of food production can: drastically reduce poverty, reduce climate change and cool the planet, restore biodiversity, soil fertility and water resources, improve livelihoods and provide employment for billions of people, produce enough, good, and nutritious food for 9 billion people or more? Find out what the Development Fund (of Norway) thinks Continue reading

Agriculture / Consumption / North America / Research / USA

‘Food miles’ can be ‘false miles’ when total energy expenditures are taken into account

American science and history writer Stephen Budiansky published a tonic op-ed in the New York Times last week on the dangers of simplifying such inherently complex issues as total energy expenditures in the production, transportation and marketing of food. As his article tellingly points out (see excerpts below), making arbitrary rules about our food systems, … Continue reading