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Food Equity

UB faculty are dedicated to research that critically examines the role of planning and local government policy in facilitating sustainable food systems and healthy communities.

A handful of hope in Gulu, northern Uganda, DFID Pete Lewis, 2011, Modified

Did you know?

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, To address these challenges, faculty fellows from UB’s Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE) as well as community partners in Buffalo and India, are creating innovative working solutions and testing and scaling those solutions in communities around the world. The Food Equity Project Team is always looking for new partnership among faculty members at UB, as well as policy makers and practitioners around the world. Explore how you can be involved in this innovative work.

Food Equity with Samina Raja, Associate Professor, UB Department of Urban and Regional Planning

What is food equity?

Globally, one in nine people are undernourished, and the prevalence of hunger is concentrated in the Global South (FAO, IFAD and WFP 2015). 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.  

What is a community 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.