What is a sustainable food system

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An adequate diet is essential for people’s health, well-being, and development. We all have the right to a safe and varied diet that provides the nutrients needed for a healthy, active life and that fits our cultural preferences. 

Just a few decades ago, efforts focused on combatting acute and chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency. These problems still persist, especially in vulnerable populations, but now they are accompanied by overweight and obesity. Today, it is easy to find households with a malnourished child and an overweight mother, or an overweight child with chronic malnutrition or vitamin/mineral deficiency. 

To tackle malnutrition in all its forms we need to transform food systems. 

A food system is made up of all components (environment, population, resources, processes, institutions, and infrastructure) and activities involved in the production, processing, distribution, preparation, and consumption of food. It also includes the impact of these activities on nutrition and health, socioeconomic growth, equity, and environmental sustainability. 

A sustainable food system is one that guarantees food security and nutrition for all in such a way that economic, social, and environmental conditions are not compromised for future generations. 

It is necessary that actions be taken to transform food systems and make them sustainable, fair and inclusive through regulations that allow the population access to nutritious, safe, varied products at a fair price and produced in an environmentally responsible manner. This starts by protecting and promoting breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding, developing food-based dietary guidelines, as well as regulating the school environment and food environment (front of package labeling, taxes, advertising). This will only be possible with collaboration and participation from the government and non-governmental organizations, including the productive sector

Brochure

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Publications

food systems nutritionFood systems and nutrition: the Brazilian experience of addressing all forms of malnutrition (2017) Portuguese, English)

panorama spa.pdfFood and nutritional security Panorama in Latin America and the Caribbean - 2018 (available only in Spanish)