Food security is defined by the World Health Organization as "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life". This unit introduces students to global food systems and the challenges of ensuring food security for all in a world of climate change, globalization, shifting demographics and new technologies. The different nature of food insecurity in high, middle and low income countries will be explored focusing on the relationships between food security, health, nutrition and social stability. In rural communities in low income countries food insecurity is still a problem despite proximity to agricultural land. This unit will investigate food security assessment methodologies and how these are used in conjunction with nutrition assessment as part of a community needs assessment. Sustainable agriculture and food security interventions that address identified needs and aim to reduce levels of under nutrition in the community will be covered. The role of women in food security is integral to the unit.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critique and apply conceptual frameworks to discuss the political, economic, social and environmental influences on food security in a global context;  
  2. Assess the vulnerability and resilience of food systems to change in contemporary and emerging scenarios;  
  3. Interrogate and discriminate issues of food insecurity in different populations;  
  4. Interpret information on the food security situation in a specific community or population group in order to deduce its impact on health and nutrition and propose appropriate interventions; and  
  5. Interrogate the evidence-base on effective food security interventions that aim to reduce maternal and child under-nutrition and justify their application in a complex problem-solving scenario.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Other Blog on challenges to global food systems (1500 words) 30%
Essay Essay on the role of gender in food security. (2000 words) 30%
Report Written report on food security assessment and intervention in a specified community (2500) 40%
Total word equivalence of combined assessment tasks is approximately 6000 to 7000 words.

Required reading

Food Security
McDonald, B. (2010)
Polity Press, Cambridge

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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