One of the great human achievements over the last half century is that advances in food production have largely kept pace with demand on a global basis. Today, around 6 billion people are not hungry, up from about 2 billion 50 years ago. But we should not be complacent. Despite these successes, nearly 1 billion people are still hungry, and at least 3 billion more lack sufficient nutrients. Paradoxically, there are also already more than 2.5 billion people overweight or obese; different, overlapping forms of malnutrition are the ‘new normal’. We also know that current food system activities will continue to significantly impact natural resources. How then can food systems be developed to provide sufficient, nutritious food for a growing, increasingly wealthy population, while mitigating poor health and environmental outcomes but while also enhancing vibrant enterprise and livelihoods?
Based on a brief introduction to food system challenges, the presentation will consider plausible futures for health, society and environment. It will then overview the range of research and associated activities to address this demanding agenda being undertaken by Oxford-ECI’s Food Systems Group. It will conclude with the Group’s plans for further work including extending the very successful, ECI-led “Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning” (IFSTAL) programme to the North America and the Global South.
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