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Until the past half-century, all agriculture and land management was framed by local institutions strong in social capital. But neoliberal forms of development came to undermine existing structures, thus reducing sustainability and equity. The past 20 years, though, have seen the deliberate establishment of more than 8 million new social groups across the world. This restructuring and growth of rural social capital within specific territories is leading to increased productivity of agricultural and land management systems, with particular benefits for those previously excluded. Further growth would occur with more national and regional policy support.
To further understandings of household food insecurity in First Nations communities in Canada and its relationship with obesity.
Analysis of a cross-sectional dataset from the First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study representative of First Nations communities south of the 60th parallel. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess associations between food insecurity and sociodemographic factors, as well as the odds of obesity among food-insecure households adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics.
Western and Central Canada.
First Nations peoples aged ≥19 years.
Forty-six percent of First Nations households experienced food insecurity. Food insecurity was highest for respondents who received social assistance; had ≤10 years of education; were female; had children in the household; were 19–30 years old; resided in Alberta; and had no year-round road access into the community. Rates of obesity were highest for respondents residing in marginally food-insecure households (female 56·6 %; male 54·6 %). In gender-specific analyses, the odds of obesity were highest among marginally food-insecure households in comparison with food-secure households, for both female (OR 1·57) and male (OR 1·57) respondents, adjusting for sociodemographic variables. For males only, those in severely food-insecure (compared with food-secure) households had lower odds of obesity after adjusting for confounding (OR 0·56).
The interrelated challenges of food insecurity and obesity in First Nations communities emphasise the need for Indigenous-led, culturally appropriate and food sovereign approaches to food security and nutrition in support of holistic wellness and prevention of chronic disease.
To identify key school-level contexts and mechanisms associated with implementing a provincial school food and beverage policy.
Realist evaluation. Data collection included semi-structured interviews (n 23), structured questionnaires (n 62), participant observation at public events (n 3) and scans of school, school district and health authority websites (n 67). The realist heuristic, context + mechanism → outcome configuration was used to conduct the analysis.
Public schools in five British Columbia (BC), Canada school districts.
Provincial and regional health and education staff, private food vendors and school-level stakeholders.
We identified four mechanisms influencing the implementation of BC’s school food and beverage sales policy. First, the mandatory nature of the policy triggered some actors’ implementation efforts, influenced by their normative acceptance of the educational governance system. Second, some expected implementers had an opposite response to the mandate where they ignored or ‘skirted’ the policy, influenced by values and beliefs about the role of government and school food. A third mechanism related to economics demonstrated ways vendors’ responses to school demand for compliance with nutritional Guidelines were mediated by beliefs about food preferences of children, health and food. The last mechanism demonstrated how resource constraints and lack of capacity led otherwise motivated stakeholders to not implement the mandatory policy.
Implementation of the food and beverage sales policy at the school level is shaped by interactions between administrators, staff, parent volunteers and vendors with contextual factors such as varied motivations, responsibilities and capacities.
Climate change poses serious threats to agriculture. As a primary staple crop and major contributor to agriculturally derived greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, rice systems are of particular significance to building climate resilience. We report on a participatory assessment of climate resilience in organic and conventional rice systems located in four neighboring villages in Negros Occidental, Philippines. The Philippines is one of the foremost countries impacted by climate change, with an increasing incidence of climate-related disturbances and extensive coastlines, high population density and heavy dependence on agriculture. Using the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Self-evaluation and Holistic Assessment of climate Resilience of farmers and Pastoralists (SHARP) tool, we measured 13 agroecosystem indicators of climate resilience, and assessed the degree to which household, farm, and community mechanisms and outcomes impact adaptation capacity, mitigation potential and vulnerability. We used a participatory approach to situate these indicators in their socio-ecological context, and identify targeted interventions for enhancing climate resilience based on local farmer experiences and socio-ecological conditions. Comparison of climate resilience indicators across organic and conventional rice systems in this region indicated that organic rice systems are more climate resilient than their conventional counterparts. As such, increased policy support for the development of organic rice systems are critically important as an adaptive mechanism to augment food security, mitigate GHG emissions and improve climate resilience in the Philippines.
Concerns are growing over the ability of the modern food system to simultaneously achieve food security and environmental sustainability in the face of global change. Yet, the dominant tendency within university settings to conceptualize and address diverse food system challenges as separate, disconnected issues is a key barrier to food system transformation. To address this fragmented approach, educators in North American institutes of higher education have begun new degree programs, specializations and certificates related to food systems. These programs, which we term sustainable food system education (SFSE) programs, have a common goal: to support post-secondary students across a range of disciplines in developing the knowledge, skills and dispositions to effectively address complex challenges in the food system. Graduates of these programs will be able to engage in collective action towards transforming the food system. As educators participating in flagship SFSE programs, we identify common pedagogical themes evident in SFSE programs, including our own. We then propose a signature pedagogy (SP) for sustainable food systems education. Signature pedagogies are conceptual models that identify the primary elements by which professional education in a specific field is designed, structured and implemented. On the basis of our analysis of SFSE programs, we identified systems thinking, multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinarity, use of experiential learning approaches and participation in collective action projects as central themes within a SFSE SP. By making these themes and their function explicit within a pedagogical framework, we seek to spur critical and creative thought regarding challenges of professional education in the field of sustainable food systems. Scholars and practitioners are encouraged to review, critique and implement our framework to advance the dialogue on SFSE theory and practice.
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