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Sustainable School Food System

Essay by   •  April 11, 2019  •  Article Review  •  1,604 Words (7 Pages)  •  709 Views

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Literature Review


Food is very important for everyone in the world and it almost relate to all organic and inorganic sources on the earth, such as animals, land and water. This literature review focuses on the food security, environment effects, and food related problems in BC. Based on the “systemic” thinking, it also describe the connections between food, health, and environment in BC and globally. Food citizenship is a key concept to connect people, environment, food policies and education together. Many articles and journals indicate that people are the central part of the food system, and the education is an effective way to make people realize their “food right” and “food responsibilities”. The Think&EatGreen@School project focuses on school food system and help school promote the sustainable food system.

Food System and Food Security

The current context of food system has developed along sustainable direction. There are many researches and studies have been done for improving current food system and addressing food insecurity problems. Food security involves many aspects that include: availability of food, stability of supply, accessibility of food, and utilization of food. Due to the complexity of food system, many factors influence the food security in BC. First of all, Ostry (2010) indicated there are several surveys have demonstrated the close associations between income and food security. According to the Provincial Health Officer’s 2005 Annual Report (Provincial Health Officer, 2006), people with low income have more food insecurity situations than people with middle income or higher because people with low income have less affordability and accessibility to healthy foods. Actually, people’s income that spends on food is also affected by costs of housing and the prices of life necessities. The Provincial Health Officer’s 2005 Annual Report (Provincial Health Officer, 2006, p.64) reported the market price and housing costs in BC are higher than other provinces, and “the level of food insecurity in BC is above the national average and is cause for concern (Provincial Health Officer, 2006, p. xviii).” High costs of housing reduce the disposable money for people. On the other hand, the fresh and high quality food usually cost more than energy density food. The Provincial Health Officer’s 2005 Annual Report (Provincial Health Officer, 2006, p.55-56) manifested that poor people often to choose food with high calories since it costs less, as a result, those people have higher risk of food related chronic, such as diabetic and obesity. In addition, the rising prices of food directly decrease people’s food affordability.  This aspect should be considered globally. Ostry (2010) pointed out that climate change is a global problem which affects both BC and the world, and food productions in every country have contributed to the emissions of greenhouse gas. “Establishing the magnitude of impact that climate change will have on food security in BC is a challenge.” (Ostry, 2010).  Some foods in BC are highly relying on the import, so the reducing of the food productivity in global food system will also increase the food prices in BC. For example, Ostry (2010) said, the climatic changes in California reduce production of vegetables and fruits, so the import prices are increased.

Connections between Food, Health, and the Environment

The connections between food and health are obvious. Food intakes are basic support of life, which provides energy and nutrition. Good health always related to adequate food and nutrition intake. However, the relationship between food, health and environment are usually overlooked because scientific ways usually emphasize particularly on microscopic and partial analysis. “Systemic” thinking is the way that thinking ecosystem as a cohesive whole and attaching importance to the relationships between different parts and surroundings, it help people to understand it properly (Capra, 2008). Capra (2008) said that everything in the ecological system is related as a cycle, all of them contribute to build the sustainable food web, and none of the part can exist in isolation. People grow crops and feed livestock on the land, all of these required sunlight, air, and water. The environment directly affects the quality and quantity of food, so it also affects people’s health. BC food system as a part of global food system must be affected by environment. For example, the global warming will cause sea levels rise due to the melting glaciers, it will be a serious problem for southwestern BC (Ostry, 2010). The overuse of natural resources such as land, oil, and water not only reduced the food productivity, but also increase the costs of food production. All of these environment changes will affect the world food supply and raise the food prices (Capra, 2008). The rising of food prices usually have similar result as lower people’s income-reducing people’s affordability of food, which would cause more people undergo food insecurity.

Food Citizenship

“Food citizenship is defined as the practice of engaging in food-related behaviors that support, rather than threaten, the development of a democratic, socially and economically just, and environmentally sustainable food system (Wilkins, 2005).” It refers that food rights should be gave to people with food responsibilities. Wilkins described food rights as that people can make their own food choices depend on their different geographic and agricultural location. On the other hand, people should active to think their food system, try to make sustainable food decisions (Wilkins, 2005). Because the food system is the reflections of people’s food choices, food citizenship influences our food system by change people’s food choices (Wilkins, 2005). For example, food miles and refrigeration are factors that affects global warm, reduce food miles and refrigeration using could decrease the greenhouse gas emissions. (Sage, 2010). If individual consumers start to practice the food citizenship, whole food system could be built more sustainable.



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