Building better systems for food and nutrition security

There is a new paper out in the PNAS journal on food and nutrition security systems. I have seen a few other papers that try to modelfood and nutrition security as an integrated system, but this one is the most comprehensive to date. The model attempts to tie three large systems together – the health/disease system, the agri-food system and the environmental system. They also attempt to connect these three drivers by a series of linkages and feedbacks.

Systems Framework for food and nutrition security (Hammond and Dube, 2012)

In the paper, the authors discuss how difficult it is to do interdisciplinary research. They hope their model serves as a catalyst for new research and science in this area. The authors stated: “This paper reviewed structural components, feedback loops, and linkages between agrifood, health and disease, and environmental systems, which are key underlying drivers of sustainable food and nutrition security for smallholders and worldwide. These complex interconnections pose challenges for design of effective policy and for scientific study using many standard tools. Solving food and nutrition insecurity is likely to require the interdisciplinary collaboration of many actors across society, including health professionals, agriculturalists, food industrials, policy-makers,and scientists, as well as the use of unconventional approaches and tools.”

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