Reflections on the 2nd Global Food Security Conference

global food security conference

The Second International Conference on Global Food Security aimed to deliver state-of-the-art analysis, inspiring visions and innovative methods arising from research in a wide range of disciplines. TRANSMANGO was well represented at the conference: John Ingram was part of the scientific committee of the conference; Dionisio Ortiz Miranda attended the conference as member of the International Sustainable Food Systems and Diets Scientific Committee of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation; and Tessa Avermaete presented ongoing work in TRANSMANGO.

  • A first presentation, on Tuesday morning, dealt with ‘Price and price volatility formation in global wheat markets: A system dynamic approach‘. This work was inspired by the master thesis of Steven Van Lierde. The research question was twofold. What causes high food prices and price volatility ? What can be done – policy wise – to improve the stability of food prices and make food markets more resilient to shocks and volatility ?
  • Later that morning, Tessa presented ‘Frames on food and nutrition security: Media analyses in Flanders, Italy and UK’. Furthermore, KU Leuven presented a poster on ‘Social network analysis of alternative food systems in Belgium’ which encompasses preparatory work for the local case study, and work done together with the food4sustainability consortium.
  • Furthermore, some colleagues from the SUSFANS project also attended the conference. And also our TRANSMANGO EU stakeholder, Karen Cooper (Nestle) presented her work on ‘Concrete approaches for addressing nutrition security collaboratively across the food value chain’.
  • On request of Ken Giller, Tessa helped with the coordination of the Café How small is beautiful ? We concluded in the plenary on Wednesday morning that small isn’t always that beatiful, and that there is a hugh difference between beautiful small in the North and small farming in the South. In the North, small beautiful farming is often related to alternative ways of farming, like Community Supported Agriculture, and framed in a romantic discourse on agriculture. In the South, however, small can be really ugly (quoting one of the members of the Café). Farming is often the only option, with too many people working and trying to survive on a too small piece of land.

The overall impression is that this conference was very interesting, bringing together various perspectives from all continents, and hence worth the investment. If a third edition would take place, two aspects would deserve more attention. On the one hand, Africa as a whole, and how to overcome the challenges of this continent in terms of food and nutrition security (FNS). On the other hand, healthy diets including the need to combat over-consumption, which can’t be ignored as a key topic in the debate on global food security.

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