Globally, one in nine people are undernourished, and the prevalence of hunger is concentrated in the Global South (FAO, IFAD and WFP 2015). The Community for Global Health Equity Food Equity team includes Faculty Fellows from academic units across the University. Food Equity team work includes understanding the food practices of Burmese refugees in Buffalo, tracing the trajectory of land use change in conflict zones in Kashmir, and using innovative mapping technologies in Thailand to improve subsistence farmers' access to land and food.
By Samina Raja
Food equity is the expansive concept that all people have the ability and opportunity to grow and to consume healthful, affordable, and culturally significant foods. In an equitable food system, all community members are able to grow, procure, barter, trade, sell, dispose and understand the sources of food in a manner that prioritizes culture, equitable access to land, fair and equitable prices and wages, human health, and ecological sustainability. Food equity requires that food systems be democratically controlled and community stakeholders determine the policies that influence their food system.
A community food system is the soil-to-soil system that enables the production, processing, distribution, acquisition, and consumption of food, and management of food waste. A CFS depends on natural resources, technologies, cultural norms, governance structures, policies and laws that shape and influence how food moves from farm to plate. An equitable CFS enhances the environmental, economic, social, and health equity of a place and its inhabitants. In the Global South, where hunger and malnutrition remain a pressing problem, community food systems are rapidly changing, creating both challenges and opportunities. Because of its complexity and breadth, community food systems are ripe for transdisciplinary scrutiny and innovation.
In cities across the United States and in countries around the world, communities lack the ability and opportunity to access healthful, affordable, and culturally significant foods. In particular, food inequity leads to broken food systems that heighten undernourishment and hunger in low- and middle-income countries.