The World Food System
with Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi
The world food system is designed to enable you to understand how our food system, with its unparallelled affluence and immense deprivation, came to be, unpacking the key factors shaping contemporary production, distribution, access to and consumption of food, both here and elsewhere. After all, if we want the world to become a better place it seems that a good place to start would be on our plates.
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Agroecology in action demonstrates its capacity to feed people, cool the climate, and produce a living wage.

The principals of agroecology are reviewed and the ways in which it meets the challenges that need to be met by contemporary agriculture are established.

The multiple crises of the corporate food regime suggest that an alternative food system needs to be developed. However, the rapid growth of transnational organic suggests that organic agricultural systems are not necessarily the basis by which an…

The mechanisms by which industrial agriculture increases the likelihood of zoonotic diseases are reviewed.

The ways in which emerging constraints upon the production of food might impact upon food prices is reviewed, before evaluating the relative merits of both demand- and supply-side explanations of rising food prices.

The ways in which changing patterns in the demand for food might impact upon food prices is reviewed.

The challenges produced by the corporate food regime have been amply demonstrated in the 21st century by rising food price inflation since 2007 and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Food price inflation reflects a combination of demand dynamics and…

The contemporary world food system has seen the entrance of global finance in an historically-unprecedented way. Since the deregulation of financial contracts in the United States in the 1990s and the rise in global food prices following 2007, global…

The configuration of the production, distribution and consumption of food within the contemporary world food system produces planetary challenges that must be addressed

The corporate food regime has witnessed a remarkable and historically unprecedented concentration and centralization of agro-food transnational corporations.

With 10 supermarkets controlling one-quarter of all of the value created in the world food system, supermarkets shape and structure the operation of the corporate food regime.

In the last 50 years the human diet has undergone the most profound shift in its history, as meat assumes an ever-greater role.

The contemporary world food system has been labelled by many observers as the “corporate food regime”. By unpacking the key characteristics of the corporate food regime it is possible to better understand why a food system that is so productive…

Since 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement has played a central role in governing the international trade of food and agricultural products between the United States, Mexico and Canada, in ways that have not brought benefits to small- and…

Since 1995 the Agreement on Agriculture has played a crucial role in organizing the terms and conditions governing the international trade of food and agricultural products.

Agri-food commodity chains that operate across national borders are regulated by agreements monitored and enforced by the World Trade Organization.

The world food system witnesses unprecedented flows of food and agricultural products across national frontiers. International food and agricultural trade has been integral to the world food system since the first food regime was established, but has…

As the second food regime unravelled it set in motion a series of economic changes in the developing countries that laid the basis for the emergence of global agriculture.

The second food regime set in motion a number of fundamental changes in the global production and consumption of food that reverberate to this day.

Farm subsidies and food aid were pivotal in establishing the second food regime, which reconfigured food production and diets around the world.

In the 1870s a stable world food system emerged as farmers in the United States starting exporting their food surpluses to Europe.

A world food system started to emerge in the 19th century. In order to untangle the complexities that might be associated with trying to understand the production, distribution and consumption of food on a world scale, the idea of “food regimes” can…

Undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overnutrition and ample food supplies point to a series of failures in the capacity of the world to feed itself.

What are the common characteristics of those who are food insecure, and do these characteristics say anything about the state of the food system?

If there is significant malnutrition in the world, is it because the world does not grow enough food?

Malnutrition is a far more complex idea than how we use the word in everyday life, and we need to better understand what it means if we are to grapple with the state of global food insecurity.

In the 1870s a stable world food system emerged as farmers in the United States starting exporting their food surpluses to Europe.

Most of us have enough to eat, and so if asked if we are “food secure” would have an implicit understanding of what the question meant. But the question is not as self-evident as it might appear. Neither is the idea of malnutrition, which afflicts the…