Today is World Food Day, which on October 16th every year marks the anniversary of the foundation of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the FAO.  This year is a particularly special one, as it is 70 years since the start of the organisation, which came out of concern for food security after the World Wars.

The FAO is the global organisation concerned with food security issues, an international forum for information sharing and discussing food-related issues with global reach.

It fullfils a number of really important functions, including management of the world’s agricultural data and statistics, and acting as a forum for standard setting globally.  It publishes regular reports, which are the go-to for anyone working on food-related issues, including the annual ‘State of Food & Agriculture Report’ (find 2014 here, with 2015 to be released soon).

The word from Oxford on World Food Day

For Dr John Ingram, ECI Food Systems Programme Leader, over consumption is also a big worry.

“It is very important to think about the whole food system, not just production, and to think about managing the over consumption by the rich, while continuing to address the important issues of the poor and hungry.”

Want to know more?  Find links to John’s research at the bottom of this page.

Bringing it home: hunger and food poverty in Oxford today

I felt we couldn’t mention food security and the tastiness of delights on the Cowley Road (see below) without also stopping to think about the shocking fact that a surprising number of people in Oxford experience food poverty on a daily basis.

Doireann Lalor, another local alumni, and one of the people behind the county’s brilliant Cultivate and OxGrow initiatives, pulled together a community-led analysis of food poverty and food surplus redistribution in Oxford, producing the ‘Feeding the Gaps’ report in September 2014.  It makes a fascinating read.

Read more about the report on the Good Food Oxford website and find the full report here.

For the lucky ones, every day is world food day on Oxford’s Cowley Road…

Introducing ‘The Cowley Road Cookbook: Culinary Tales and Recipes from Oxford’s Most Eclectic Street’:

Geography alumni and East Oxford local Martin Stott has created a fantastic new illustrated cookbook, out this month and as featured on the Good Food Oxford website, which not only contains over 60 historic and contemporary recipes, but offers a unique insight into the culinary wonders of Oxford’s Cowley Road. YUM!

‘Cowley Road, Oxford, is a wonderfully chaotic, cultural and culinary crossroads. Geographically adjacent to the university’s dreaming spires, ethnographically it might as well be on another planet. From its holy medieval origins to its attraction some 800 years later as another place of pilgrimage for the first wave of post-war overseas emigrants, Martin Stott weaves a fascinating story of a street with its own unique ‘sense of place’. Today this is evident in its myriad and multicultural food shops, restaurants, cafés, take-aways and other eateries as well as allotments, community gardens, street markets, and annual carnival. This is also a history of hospitality—for outcasts / lepers, pilgrims, travellers, scholars, refugees and migrants.’

The book and it’s author will be the stars of Blackwell’s Late Night Shopping Evening on Thursday December 10th, 18:30 – 20:30.  See the Blackwell’s events page for more information.

Fancy a taste?

Get a sneak peek inside the book on Martin’s website.

Find out more about…

… food research

There’s loads of interesting food-related research happening in Oxford.  Here are a couple of places to start:

…World Food Day

…other local treats

Written by Mim Saxl of AgileOx
Image: Produce from the Cultivate VegVan, c. Mim Saxl Photography

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