The term “Food Security” has been thrown around a lot lately in the media and in community forums. While most think of food security as being a concern of impoverished countries or war torn nations, a quick investigation of the actual meaning of the term as well as some personal and societal introspection will reveal that food security is close than most might realize.
According to the World Health Organization, “the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people’s dietary needs as well as their food preferences.” Food security is contingent on three factors:
- Food availability – Is food available consistently
- Food access – Is that food accessible by people who need it
- Food use – Is that food being consumed to promote healthy living and sanitary consumption
According to a recent study conducted in 2014, 14% of households in the United States experiences some level of food insecurity. That means that nearly 45 million individuals in America do not have food consistently available to them, do not have access to the food if it is available, or don’t have a means with which to safely and healthfully consume such food.
Food security is more than a catch phrase or a political term used to sway voters or boost donations – for many people in the United States and worldwide, food security is a daunting and potentially life threatening condition that can have long term health and socioeconomic ramifications. Food security might easily roll off the tongue, but for many, it is hard to swallow.