Session I: Unpacking Food Security

Fall 2014:

Monday, September 22, 2014 to Friday, October 3, 2014

Did you know that about one in eight people in the world goes to sleep hungry each night? (Source: FAO, 2013) This session will unpack the root causes of hunger in the world’s most vulnerable settings. It will show that the solution to hunger lies not in simply providing more food but in making sure the conditions for producing and accessing nourishing food are just. Readings and case studies will examine the historical, humanitarian, economic, political, and moral dimensions of efforts to promote food security and will bring to light some of CRS’ most innovative strategies. Finally, students will be asked to reflect on local and global food insecurity and to imagine applying methodologies from this session to the communities in which they live and serve.

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Course materials

Learning Objectives

Understand the root causes and reality of global food insecurity.

Learn about successful strategies for increasing production and access to nourishing food.

Better understand our role as American citizens and consumers in ensuring food security, especially for the world’s most vulnerable.

Primary Resources

The Root Causes of Food Insecurity

  •  CRS’ Approach to Food Security (video, 7:23), by David Leege, CRS Director of University Engagement and Research for Overseas Operations.This video provides a concise introduction to CRS’ integrated approach to food security and the USAID definition of food security (mainly, food availability, access, and utilization).
  • The World Food Program: Learn More About Hunger site provides brief, substantive introductions to thier mission of Zero Hunger and other key themes.  What causes hunger?  10 Hunger Facts for 2014.  Also view the Hunger Map
  • In 2005 Food for Peace (FFP) launched a food security strategy which introduced an expanded food security conceptual framework.   This conceptual framework relates the availability, access, and utilization of food “as fundamental components of food security while also examining the factors that increase country, community, household, and individual vulnerability to food insecurity.  By reducing these risks and enhancing human capacities on an individual level, livelihood capacity at the household level will be increased, and at the community level, food insecurity will be reduced and resilience will be increased.”  Author:  Geoff Henrich, David Leege and Carrie Miller.  Source: USAID Food for Peace 2005, as found in A User’s Guide to Integral Human Development.  Publisher: Catholic Relief Services.  2008.  p 21.  

Case Studies

Food Security – A right or a privilege?

Secondary Resources
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