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Why food insecurity for some means global insecurity for all

Our politicians like to talk about protecting national security, but not too much about food security. This is one of those penny-wise, pound-foolish blind spots in foreign policy Americans are so (in)famous for….

So what is food security?

It’s basically wonk lingo for hunger. If people are ‘food insecure,’ it means they don’t have reliable access to food. This can be due to drought, agricultural failures, war or simply the cost of food. It can even be due to self-serving foreign aid programs that subsidize food exports from rich countries (I’m not naming names here) to poor countries, undermining the local food economy.

And did you know many experts say the so-called Arab Spring was sparked mostly by anger over food prices?

Food insecurity has global implications.

Recent news reports on ‘food security’

One in 8 people worldwide hungry

Africa at risk of social unrest due to food shortages

High and volatile food prices are the new normal

Op-Ed: Food is the new oil and land the new gold

The Guardian has also produced this map showing food security risk around the world:



About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.