Food and society

2016 - Milan Center for Food Law and Policy

A research that dott.ssa Erika Solimeo did about right to water.

The document is in Italian and it's divided into two parts: L'importanza del diritto umano all'acqua nell'ordinamento giuridico internazionale and a special focus on South Africa.

2016 - Chicago Council of Global Affairs

Growing food for growing cities: transforming food systems in an urbanizing world

The new report of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs on urbanization and food security.


2015 - FAO

Mediterranean food consumption patterns diet, environment, society, economy, and health.

A white paper that explains how the Mediterranean region is passing through a “nutritional transition” in which problems of undernutrition coexist with overweight, obesity and food-related chronic diseases. This nutrition transition is alarming as it has negative impacts on health systems.

2015 - Global Footprint Network

How can Mediterranean societies thrive in an era of decreasing resources?

The brief, produced with the support of the MAVA Foundation and UNESCO Venice office, highlights increasingly protein-intensive diets among the contributors to the region’s growing Ecological Footprint. Based on a Footprint analysis of 12 cities, the brief also identifies housing and transportation in cities as major opportunities to build a more sustainable Mediterranean region.

2014 - Anderson, E. N.

Everyone Eats. Understanding Food and Culture, Second Edition.

Everyone Eats is a relevant text for those who want to explore the relationship between food and society. It describes the social and cultural reasons of our food choices and provides an explanation of the nutritional reasons for why humans eat what they do. First edition available at:

2013 - UNESCO

Mediterranean diet.

In 2013, UNESCO added the Mediterranean diet to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Italy (promoter), Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, and Croatia.

2013 - WHO

Global and regional food consumption patterns and trends (Nutrition Health Topics).

Global and regional data about average food available for consumption (which, for a number of reasons, such as waste at the household level, is not equal to average food intake or average food consumption).

2013 - Lang, T.M.

Food Matters: An integrative approach to food policy. Paris, France: OECD

The paper contrasts ‘radical’ with ‘mainstream’ policy positions. It proposes that debate and direction for food, agriculture and health policy now ought to centre on addressing the key question: what would the food system look like if it addressed ecological public health, the combined emphasis on health, eco-systems and social sustainability. This requires OECD and rich societies to engage more with their own excess consumption and heavy footprints from food.

2012 - FAO

Towards the Development of Guidelines for Improving the Sustainability of Diets and Food Consumption Patterns in the Mediterranean Area.

This discussion paper is the outcome of a collaborative effort between the Sustainable Food Systems Program, FAO Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Rome, and the CIHEAM-Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari. It summarizes the work of different experts (nutritionists, agronomists, economists, social scientists), from many organisations, during a technical workshop, which aimed to draft indicators for assessing the sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet taking into consideration the definition of sustainable diets and the new Mediterranean diet pyramid: a lifestyle for today.

2012 - Counihan, C., & Van Esterik, P.

Food and culture: A reader.

Third editions of a classic book that helped to define and legitimize the field of food and culture studies. Sample available at:

2010 - FAO

Sustainable diets and biodiversity directions and solutions for policy, research and action. Chapter 4 an example of a sustainable diet: The Mediterranean diet.

Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. The fourth chapter extensively focuses on the Mediterranean diet as a meaningful example of sustainable model.

2010 - FAO

A new deal for school gardens

Food and nutrition education is an essential element in the prevention and control of diet-related health problems. FAO has developed materials for integrating food and nutrition education in the primary school curriculum.

2010 - Farrer, J.

Introduction: Food Studies and Global Studies in the Asia Pacific. In Globalization, Food and Social Identities in the Asia Pacific Region, ed. James Farrer. Tokyo: Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture

This working paper is the outcome of the symposium on “Globalization, food and social identities in the Pacific region” held at Sophia University on Feb. 21-22, 2009.

2006 - Montanari, M.

Food is culture. Columbia University Press

This book is a historical exploration of the mutual domestication of food and humans. It describes how food is a cultural process decisive for human identity by drawing mostly from Western European Middle Ages and the renaissance as key defining periods in food production and food industrialization. Sample available at:

1995 - Nestle M.

“Mediterranean diets: historical and research overview”, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61 (Suppl), pp. 1313S-1320S

A classic paper that presents the state of the art concerning the past and the future of the Mediterranean diet.

Jamie Oliver

He is a British celebrity chef, restaurateur, and media personality known for his food-focused television shows, cookbooks and more recently his global campaign for better food education.

Micheal Heasman

Dr Michael Heasman has worked in the area of food and nutrition policy for more than 25 years as a social science researcher, teacher, writer, and consultant in the European Union, U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, and China for business, public, and civil society organizations.

Michael Pollan

He is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Mark Bittman

He is an American food journalist, author, and columnist for The New York Times.


This computer will grow your food in the future

Author: Caleb Harper. Principal Investigator and Director of the Open Agriculture Initiative
What if we could grow delicious, nutrient-dense food, indoors anywhere in the world? Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, wants to change the food system by connecting growers with technology. Get to know Harper's "food computers" and catch a glimpse of what the future of farming might look like.


The case for fish farming

Author: Mike Velings. Entrepreneur and conservationist
We're headed towards a global food crisis: Nearly 3 billion people depend on the ocean for food, and at our current rate we already take more fish from the ocean than it can naturally replace. In this fact-packed, eye-opening talk, entrepreneur and conservationist Mike Velings proposes a solution: Aquaculture, or fish farming. "We must start using the ocean as farmers instead of hunters," he says, echoing Jacques Cousteau. "The day will come where people will demand farmed fish on their plates that's farmed well and farmed healthy — and refuse anything less."


How we can make crops survive without water

Author: Jill Farrant. Professor of molecular and cell biology. She is leading the development of drought-tolerant crops to nourish populations in arid climates.
As the world's population grows and the effects of climate change come into sharper relief, we'll have to feed more people using less arable land. Molecular biologist Jill Farrant studies a rare phenomenon that may help: "resurrection plants" — super-resilient plants that seemingly come back from the dead. Could they hold promise for growing food in our coming hotter, drier world?


A simple way to break a bad habit.

Author: Judson Brewer, Mindful addiction doctor. Psychiatrist and addiction expert Judson Brewer researches mindfulness techniques that effectively help quell cravings of all kinds.
Can we break bad habits by being more curious about them? Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction — from smoking to overeating to all those other things we do even though we know they're bad for us. Learn more about the mechanism of habit development and discover a simple but profound tactic that might help you beat your next urge to smoke, snack or check a text while driving


The four fish we're overeating - and what to eat instead

Author: Paul Greenberg. He researches and writes about fish, aquaculture and the future of the ocean.
The way we fish for popular seafood such as salmon, tuna and shrimp is threatening to ruin our oceans. Paul Greenberg explores the sheer size and irrationality of the seafood economy, and suggests a few specific ways we can change it, to benefit both the natural world and the people who depend on fishing for their livelihoods.


The case for engineering our food

Author: Pamela Ronald, Plant geneticist. Embracing both genetically improved seed and ecologically based farming methods, Pamela Ronald aims to enhance sustainable agriculture.
Pamela Ronald studies the genes that make plants more resistant to disease and stress. In an eye-opening talk, she describes her decade-long quest to isolate a gene that allows rice to survive prolonged flooding. She shows how the genetic improvement of seeds saved the Hawaiian papaya crop in the 1990s — and makes the case that modern genetics is sometimes the most effective method to advance sustainable agriculture and enhance food security for our planet’s growing population.


A simple solution to the coming phosphorus crisis.

Author: Mohamed Hijri, Biologist. Mohamed Hijri studies arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), seeking to understand the structure, evolution and reproduction of these organisms, which form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots.
Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus, an essential element that's a key component of DNA and the basis of cellular communication. All roads of this crisis lead back to how we farm — with chemical fertilizers chock-full of the element, which plants are not efficient at absorbing. One solution? Perhaps … a microscopic mushroom.


Leather and meat without killing animals

Andras Forgacs, Bioprinting entrepreneur. He produces animal products - meat and leather - without the animal.
By 2050, it will take 100 billion land animals to provide the world's population with meat, dairy, eggs and leather goods. Maintaining this herd will take a huge, potentially unsustainable toll on the planet. What if there were a different way? In this eye-opening talk, tissue engineering advocate Andras Forgacs argues that biofabricating meat and leather is a civilized way to move past killing animals for hamburgers and handbags.


Why bees are disappearing

Author: Marla Spivak, Bees scholar. She researches bees’ behavior and biology in an effort to preserve this threatened, but ecologically essential, insect.
Honeybees have thrived for 50 million years, each colony 40 to 50,000 individuals coordinated in amazing harmony. So why, seven years ago, did colonies start dying en masse? Marla Spivak reveals four reasons which are interacting with tragic consequences. This is not simply a problem because bees pollinate a third of the world’s crops. Could this incredible species be holding up a mirror for us?


A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

Author: Ron Finley, Gardener. He grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."


A country with no water

Author: Fahad Al-Attiya, Food security expert. Fahad Al-Attiya's job is to maintain food security in Qatar, a country that has no water and imports 90 percent of its food.
Imagine a country with abundant power — oil and gas, sunshine, wind (and money) — but missing one key essential for life: water. Infrastructure engineer Fahad Al-Attiya talks about the unexpected ways that the small Middle Eastern nation of Qatar creates its water supply.


The global food waste scandal

Author: Tristram Stuart, Author and Activist. He sounds the warning bell on global food waste, calling for us to change the systems whereby large quantities of produce and other foods end up in trash heaps.
Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.


How we can eat our landscapes

Author: Pam Warhurst, Cofounder, Incredible Edible. She cofounded Incredible Edible, an initiative in Todmorden, England dedicated to growing food locally by planting on unused land throughout the community.
What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.


Obesity + hunger = 1 global food issue.

Author: Ellen Gustafson, Social entrepreneur. Co-founder of FEED and creator of The 30 Project, Ellen Gustafson is trying to change the way the world eats.
Co-creator of the philanthropic FEED bags, Ellen Gustafson says hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. In her talk, she launches The 30 Project — a way to change how we farm and eat in the next 30 years, and solve the global food inequalities behind both epidemics.
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