Tag Archives: food security

MSc Food, Space and Society

The Masters Graduate School of City and Regional Planning at Cardiff School of Planning and Geography will be offering a new Masters of Science degree in Food, Space and Society starting in September 2014. Here are some of the highlights:

“Food is at the forefront of society’s grand challenges”

Food is a unique lens through which one can address key social science questions on resource shortfalls, environmental pressures and social development. A focus on food provides important opportunities to raise questions about the prospects for a more secure, just and sustainable future and to understand the shifting boundaries between the state, the market and civil society.

Special Features

A core feature of the course is its emphasis on research-led teaching. Modules are designed and taught by staff from the Research Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Food (SURF), who have a long-standing and world-renowned expertise on conventional and alternative food networks, food consumption practices, the interplay between global and local food systems, community food growing, public food procurement, food justice, animal geographies, and the community food sector. Staff’s engagement in agenda-setting research on these topics ensures that students are exposed to the most recent debates in food studies and are involved with our extensive network of stakeholders.

This MSc is suitable for graduates in subjects such as geography, sociology, politics, anthropology , planning and economics, and/or those with appropriate professional experience and qualifications in food. Applicants with a background in other subjects, and relevant work-based experience, will also be considered.

To read more, please visit http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/cplan/study/postgraduate/food-space-and-society-msc

UNCTAD Trade and Environment Report 2013

Take ‘mosaic’ approach to agriculture, boost support for small farmers, UNCTAD Report urges

Geneva, Switzerland, (18 September 2013)

​Farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food, a new UNCTAD report recommends.

The Trade and Environment Report 2013 warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries. Read more

International News

The International Fund for Agricultural Development has produced a report on Smallholders, food security, and the environment [pdf] that speaks to the importance of well-functioning ecosystems to a neglected but significant portion of the global agricultural community.

The latest news from RUAF [Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security] includes two updates on the “Safe and Productive Use of Wastes for Urban Agriculture”, and news of a new strategic partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (www.iclei.org) to collaborate on resilient urban food and city-regional systems.

Growing Food Connections

Growing Food ConnectionsBuilding the capacity of local and regional governments to improve community food systems to benefit small and mid-sized farmers and underserved community residents.

The overarching goal of this project is to enhance food security while ensuring sustainable and economically viable agriculture and food production. This requires, in part, removing public policy barriers and deploying innovative public policy tools.

Growing Food Connections is a diverse partnership of researchers, planning practitioners, and food systems stakeholders from across the United States. The partnership includes eight core groups, all of whom will play a role in the research, practice, and educational areas of the GFC initiative.

Read more

Farm to Fork

Guest blog:The Farm To Fork logo

To most of us, $1500 is a lot of money. Perhaps it represents an all-inclusive vacation, a new laptop, much needed car repairs, or a portion of tuition. Whatever it represents, if $1500 were placed on the table in front of us, it’s unlikely that any one of us would simply pick it up and throw it in the garbage.

And yet thanks to food waste, throwing away large sums of money is what the average Canadian household does. Think about that. Every month, your household tosses about $125 worth of food into the garbage.

What makes this number all the more concerning is that 850 thousand Canadians still need to visit some form of food security service every month. That’s about 1 in 40 Canadians – possibly someone in your neighbourhood.

Obviously there is a disconnect. How can we have so much that we’re willing to throw $125 away every month, while at the same time people in our neighbourhoods struggle to put together a nutritious meal for their family?

Last year, Dr. Daniel Gillis[1] and Danny Williamson[2] partnered with Linda Hawkins[3], the Guelph Wellington Food Access Working Group, and the Guelph Food Round Table, to explore the disconnect between abundance and need. It quickly became obvious that the issue wasn’t due to a lack of willingness to help, it was a lack of communication; donors were unaware of what they could donate, when they could donate, or where they could donate.

Dr. Daniel Gillis, PhD Statistics, Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science, University of Guelph, Co-founder of the Farm To Fork project

Dr. Daniel Gillis, PhD Statistics, Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science, University of Guelph, Co-founder of the Farm To Fork project

To address this issue, Gillis and Williamson founded the Farm To Fork project. The goal – increase the quality and quantity of donations by connecting donors directly with the needs of the emergency food service providers. In September, they presented the concept to Gillis’ third year School of Computer Science class at the University of Guelph. Over the course of the fall semester, 30 passionate undergraduate students moved the project from idea to working prototype.

Some of the 30 designers of the Farm To Fork website

Some of the 30 designers of the Farm To Fork website

Since January, Lee-Jay Cluskey-Belanger, and Benjamin Katznelson – members of the original Farm To Fork class – have been working to finalize the prototype. The system will allow any emergency food provider the ability to create a grocery list of needs, including fresh produce, non-perishable, or non-food items. Donors will be able to log into the system, identify a nearby pantry (for example), browse their grocery list, and select which items they’d be willing to donate. The system will also send an email reminder on the day the donor has identified as their typical grocery day.

But before the Farm To Fork solution can be launched, it has to be beta tested to ensure that it functions properly. This means hiring several students from the original Farm To Fork class. To cover the expenses associated with beta testing, the Farm To Fork team is trying to raise $15000 through the Microryza crowdfunding platform. The campaign ends May 19th. If you want to help support the Farm To Fork project, please consider donating (https://www.microryza.com/projects/farm-to-fork).


For more information, follow Farm To Fork on Twitter (@Farm_2_Fork), like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FarmToForkGuelph), of follow our blog (http://farmtoforkguelph.wordpress.com/).

[1] Assistant Professor and Statistician, co-founder of the Farm To Fork Project, School of Computer Science, University of Guelph.

[2] Consultant, and co-founder of the Farm To Fork Project.

[3] Director of the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, University of Guelph

Crowdsourcing Sustainable Social Ventures to Link Rural and Urban Well-being

BEEBBEEB, Hives and Local Networks of Empowerment

We believe that to tackle the global issue of food insecurity in a sustainable way it is vital to connect rural and urban communities on low incomes. BEEB is essentially a model of information and organisation that links rural and urban well-being. The two communities escape food insecurity together. Read more

BEEB connects a cooperative of small-holder farmers directly with the slum dwellers using two simple parts: basic cold storage facilities and a mobile phone order and payment system.

Vote for BEEB online! Only 19 days left…


Hult Prize Global On-line Competition

The theme of the 2013 Hult Prize is global food security and will focus on how to get safe, sufficient, affordable and easily accessible food to the 200 million people who live in urban slums – a challenge personally selected by former US President Clinton. Student teams will be charged with developing a sustainable social venture that can accomplish the objective by 2018. View all of the videos for the online competition on the Hult Prize Facebook site.


Empty words won’t fill hungry stomachs

There is good reason to be sceptical about the new initiatives coming out of Davos targeting smallholder farmers.


David Nally and Bhaskar Vira in Al Jazeera English.

Community Food Project Funding

While the scale of this program is tiny, it’s interesting to see the direction that “local food” funding is taking, south of the border. The USDA / National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s COMMUNITY FOOD PROJECTS COMPETITIVE GRANTS PROGRAM was recently announced,  keep reading