16th of October is the World Food Day. First celebrated in 1979, it is also the anniversary of FAO’s founding. The theme of the day is announced at the beginning of each year by the FAO, this initiative is meant to facilitate better understanding of the problems and solutions to ending hunger.
This year’s theme is focused on Sustainable Food Systems for Food and Nutrition security with the slogan: “Healthy People Depend on Healthy Food Systems”. Additional stress is made on the issue of malnutrition which, according to FAO usually is not included in food policies, but poses threat to economic development and human well-being.
Malnutrition is usually thought to as leading to stunting. However obesity is also a type of malnutrition. These forms of malnutrition often happen simultaneously and form intergenerational cause-effect chains. For instance, stunted children are more likely to become obese, obese parents may suffer from lack of vitamins and minerals and as a result give birth to stunted offspring; malnourished women are likely to have smaller babies with intellectual and physical disruption.
At the national level these factors substantially hamper country’s economic development. Healthy food systems that guarantee balanced diets are key for reducing malnutrition.
Due to the fact that food systems are comprised of environment, institutions, industries and people, building sustainable food systems requires an integrated approach.
Sustainable food systems are efficient and benefit the environment. However, it is also important to understand that simple increase in production is not able to solve hunger and malnutrition. It is important to make changes in all the elements of food systems. It includes sustainable management of supply chains, consumer behavior, better governance and political leadership.
There will be a lot of different and yet closely interconnected issues to be discussed on the World Food Day this year. SIANI, together with the Swedish Ministry of the Rural Affairs and representatives of the FAO-committee in Sweden, are arranging an event devoted to the World Food Day and are welcoming all who wish to participate in the discussion on the sustainable food systems in Medelhavsmuséet on the 16th of October.