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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Africa's Good News
By Roger Thurow


How to Feed the World
By Mark Bittman, Food Journalist, Author, Op-Ed writer for the New York Times


The Dating Game: Demystifying Food Expiration Dates to Reduce Food Waste
By Emily Broad Leib, Director, Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic


Next Generation Hunger Fighters
By Julie Borlaug, Associate Director for External Relations, Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture


Greater Impact through Youth Engagement: Getting Started
By Daniel W. Hatcher, National Healthy Out-of-School Time Advisor, Alliance for a Healthier Generation


The Power is in YOUR Hands: Celebrating Global Handwashing Day and World Food Day
By Elynn Walter, WASH in Schools Director, WASH Advocates


Standing With Family Farmers on World Food Day and Every Day
By Danielle Nierenberg and Thomas Szymanski, Food Tank


The Impact of Food Science on World Hunger
By Janet E. Collins, Ph.D., R.D., CFS, President- Institute of Food Technologists

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