WORKSHOP: What constitutes a resilient food system?

The rising demand for food, occurring against a backdrop of population growth and global environmental change is challenging the resilience of food systems worldwide. Pressures to produce more food will increase as the planet gets closer to its tipping point which may transform natural systems in ways that are undesirable for humans. This workshop will present two solutions to the food crisis.

Sahel crops where woodland has been cleared for farming, Diourbel region, Senegal Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Micheal Mortimore
  • DATE: 08 Sep 2012
  • TIME: 11:00 - 13:00
  • ROOM: Halla A

The first solution that will be presented focuses on the continuation of large-scale industrial agriculture supported by advances in biotechnology to supply the global food market. The second is centered on learning to work with nature to develop small-scale agro-ecological systems that produce food for local markets. Each of these different approaches to food security are strongly supported by their proponents and it is often contested which approach can feed the most people.

Resilience assessment tools provide a relatively new view of sustainability and are being applied to the study of food from a complex systems perspective. One part of resilience assessment is concerned with attributes that determine the general resilience of a system to unknown shocks such as climate change, peak phosphorus and land expropriation.

This workshop will draw on cases from the Chaco region of South America to compare and contrast traditional food systems with industrial agricultural systems. A summary of rights issues relevant to the production and marketing of food as well as a simplified resilience assessment framework will be used to generate discussion around the issue of food for sustainable livelihoods. Presentations will be relatively short and used to prime roundtable discussions that draw on participant’s experiences of different kinds of food system, threats to those systems and possible interventions to enhance their resilience.

This workshop is organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development based in Europe in partnership with Urundei, Natural Justice and CEESP.

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