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Tropentag 2023, September 20 - 22, Berlin, Germany

"Competing pathways for equitable food systems transformation: trade-offs and synergies."

Food system transformation through the lenses of nutrition and equity

Jody Harris

World Vegetable Center, Food Systems East and Southeast Asia, Thailand


Food systems are currently not delivering food security and good nutrition for all. Classically, it is the most marginalised groups in a given society who are most malnourished and least able to engage with food systems to obtain a healthy diet. So we need to acknowledge this, and understand who is marginalised and why and how, in order to transform food systems to leave no-one behind.

Marginalisation is the key concept that underpins inequity. We know that much food systems and nutrition research concerns itself with aspects of marginalisation, for instance the disempowerment of women, or disparities in income. But other axes of marginalisation, such as age, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, and geographic marginalisation come up far less often in the food systems literature, when looking at who has these different outcomes. The interactions between these different aspects of marginalisation – intersectionality – are studied even less often. And the structural determinants of marginalisation – inequitable access to basic services, resources and political redressal; and power relations and social norms – are also under-explored in our field.

This keynote will present the Nutrition Equity Framework, to provide a logic for how researchers and practitioners can acknowledge, assess and address inequity in food systems; and offer insights from the new UN-CFS High Level Panel of Experts report on addressing inequality and inequity in food systems for food security and nutrition. The talk will argue not for a specific transformation approach, but rather for considering nutrition among key food system outcomes; and equity as key to the process of negotiating transformation and change.

Keywords: Food systems

Contact Address: Jody Harris, World Vegetable Center, Food Systems East and Southeast Asia, P.O. Box 42, 74151 Shanhua, Tainan, Thailand, e-mail: jody.harris@worldveg.org

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