Connecting People with Food Policy: Gathering and Translating Experiences – 1

A Highlight

The theme ‘gathering and translating evidence of lived experience of food-related problem’ of the program sounded me very inquisitive before entering the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre of City, University of London to participate the 2018 City Food Policy Symposium on 25th of April. Although, I am late to share this post however sharing experience is always interesting. The program was based on the citizen-led approach to address how to gather live experience of food problem and translate it into effective food policy. The massage of the program was food policy based on the live experience of a citizen is effective in delivering its goals to the targeted group or

Report of the City Food Symposium 2018

on How can evidence of lived experience make food policy more effective and equitable in addressing major food system challenges?

individual. By doing so, an individual member of the society is connected directly with the food policy. Considering the existing problem of the current food system, the symposium was able to make stakeholder realise for change in traditional approach that is simply no longer working. So, it is important to reshape the current food system in line with equitability and accessibility. Because, in contrast, people are facing socio-economic and environmental problem in many ways from the food we consume. Addressing food problem with effective policy based on the live experience is also a better way of alleviating multidimensional poverty, hunger, obesity, crime, pollution, GHG emission, financial burden and so on. Thus, it is important to think that food is not only for the belly, rather it is important for brain and health. Moreover, food has the multidimensional link with other socio-economic and environmental issues. Considering the facts, it is a global responsibility of addressing the theoretical and practical gap of current food system for the sustainability and equality and incorporating the live experience of individual or community into food policy formulation can be a rational approach to fulfill the gaps.


  1. What is experience, how it shapes policy?

According to the Cambridge online dictionary experience is knowledge or skill from doing, seeing, or feeling things. According to Csikszentmihalyi, (2014) experiences are not necessarily pleasant at the time they occur, and psychologically it is a deep involvement with the issue. For example, Children’s feeling of food insecurity was understood from the perspective of their parent’s view. It is incomplete to view children have their own experience. According to Bernal, (2012) children are cognitively and emotionally aware of food insecurity; with feelings of anguish, sadness, and manifestations such as crying. However, they remain quiet. They cannot express their food insecurity problem properly because they are aware of the socio-economic plight of their parent.  Hence, the parents are unable to notice and address children’s real concern (Bernal, 2012). In a study, Fishman, et. al. (1999) claimed that children want to eat food are not generally available in the kitchen. The reason behind this is unaffordability of economic cost or parental managerial deficiency to make food regularly available. Whatsoever, a mother’s decision on choosing food is vital for the family (Fishman, et. al., 1999). In fact, based on the live experience of children, they should be guaranteed in policy for the access to food (Bernal, 2012). Similarly, adult, women especially pregnant, octogenarians all have different preference and experience of food which is impossible to address using current policy measures.

  1. Problems around Food

It is estimated up to 2 billion tonnes (30–50 percent) food is lost (Fox, 2013). The amount of food waste is equivalent $1 trillion every year, which is enough to feed hungry people (WFP USA, 2017). The evidence on food waste shows that about six billion pounds of fruits and vegetable is wasted in U.S.  (Royte, 2016). The bizarre is, despite having enough food about 815 million people are go bed hungry (WHO, 2017a). Similarly, undernutrition is a reason of over 3·5 million child deaths (Horton, 2008); more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight and over 650 million are obese (WHO, 2017a). In the world, obesity has nearly tripled since 1975’ (WHO, 2017a). Globally, overweight and obesity cost an estimated US$2 trillion per year, and 68 percent of all deaths are caused by obesity related diseases (McKinsey Global Institute, 2014; WHO, 2015a). Due to a weak policy ‘the NHS, UK spends over £2.7 billion a year on treating smoking related illness but less amount £150 million goes on smoking cessation’ (Department of Health, 2010 p11). In a report Higashiguchi, (2013) found in China, Japan and Taiwan that 30 percent community residents and 50 percent patients registered in the hospital were malnourished. Similarly, the 36 percent of US university students were found food insecure within 30 days of the survey period (Goldrick-Rab; 2018). Farmers who produce food are hungry, landless, marginalised and multidimensionally poor. Whereas,  agriculture contribute more than fifty percent GDP and employment in the developing world. Further, the prolific land is being encroached for housing and infrastructure without managing trade-offs and proper planning, the air we respire is contaminated by gas emission and carbon, and water we drink is polluted with our sewerage and garbage. Due to these reasons’ human is unnecessarily facing health disorder, crime and inequality.  (Continue next post)

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