The theme for World Food Day 2013 is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. Let's think about what each part of that means in our lives.

Food security: There are an estimated 842 million hungry people on the planet. This means that one in eight people in the world suffer from chronic hunger, not having enough food for an active and healthy life. Plus the number of people on the planet is increasing rapidly. Production of basic staple foods will need to increase by 60 percent to meet the expected growth in demand.

Nutrition: Producing more food is important. But it is not enough. Two billion people worldwide lack micronutrients vital for good health. Each one of us requires more than basic staple foods for a balanced and nutritious diet. Our food systems must become more nutrition-driven, with a stronger focus on fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods.

Food Systems: A food system is made up of all the processes that ensure our food arrives from “farm to fork”: how we grow, process, package, transport, store, market, purchase and eat our food. Since every aspect of a food system has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods, we must constantly strive towards healthier improvements up and down food value chains.

Sustainability: By definition, sustainable food systems produce nutritious diets for all people today and protect the capacity of future generations to feed themselves. Yet, today almost 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably, in large part because of the environmentally harmful effects of our current food systems. We can do better. By using resources more efficiently at every stage along the food chain, we can increase the amount of healthy food available worldwide. Getting the most food from every drop of water, plot of land, and speck of fertilizer saves resources for the future. We can all play a part in improving our food systems, even in our homes, by making good decisions about what food we buy and eat, and by reducing food waste.

That’s our perspective on this year's theme. What's yours?

We’re proud to share PERSPECTIVES essays from leading experts in the fields of food security, nutrition, food policy, and sustainability. Please read them and tell us what you think our food system should and could look like. Whether it’s in the comment section below each essay, or in one of our social media outlets, let your voice be heard!


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The Big Impact of Small Farmers
By Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Food & Markets, World Wildlife Fund


Do You Eat Food?
By Greg Lipes, Head Farmer, Lipes Family Farm, West Branch, Iowa


The Cochiti Farmer
By Vena A-dae Romero, White House Champion of Change, Co-Founder of Cochiti Youth Experience, Inc., Granddaughter of a Pueblo Farmer


Black Land Loss and Empowering Limited Resource Farmers
By Dorathy and Phillip Barker, Dairy Farmers, Olusanya Farm, Oxford, North Carolina


The Contract Poultry System
By Kay Doby, Operator, Hot Shot Goat Farm, Cameron, North Carolina & Craig Watts, Contract Poultry Grower, Fairmont, North Carolina


Connecting Farmers and Eaters
By Alex Hitt, Family Farmer, Peregrine Farm, Alamance County, North Carolina & Sandi Kronick, CEO, Eastern Carolina Organics


Growing Sustainably for the Community
By Russ Vollmer, Family Farmer, Vollmer Farm, Bunn, North Carolina


Farmers-First for Food Security
By The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada


Family Farmers Do More Than Feed the World
By United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack


The Wealth of the Land and the Power of the People
By Willie Nelson, Founder and President, Farm Aid


Innovation in Family Farming
By Jomo Sundaram, Assistant Direct-General, Economic and Social Development Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Once Hungry But Now with Food All Year Round
By Rodgers Mwandira, Family Farmer, Mzimba, Malawi

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