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Food System Sustainability and Food Security: Connecting the Dots

1Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (MAI-B), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), via Ceglie, Valenzano (Bari), Italy

Journal of Food Security. 2014, Vol. 2 No. 1, 13-22
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-2-1-2
Copyright © 2014 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Roberto Capone, Hamid El Bilali, Philipp Debs, Gianluigi Cardone, Noureddin Driouech. Food System Sustainability and Food Security: Connecting the Dots. Journal of Food Security. 2014; 2(1):13-22. doi: 10.12691/jfs-2-1-2.

Correspondence to: Roberto  Capone, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (MAI-B), International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), via Ceglie, Valenzano (Bari), Italy. Email:


Food security exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Food security is built on four pillars: availability, access, utilization and stability. Food and nutrition security embraces meeting energy, protein and nutrient needs for healthy life. Food systems overlap with agricultural systems in the area of food production, but also comprise the diverse set of institutions, technologies and practices that govern the way food is marketed, processed, transported, accessed and consumed. The food system activities are grouped into four categories: producing food, processing and packaging food, distributing and retailing food, and consuming food. The review paper aims at highlighting the connections and linkages between food sustainability and food security. There are very strong linkages between food and nutrition security, responsible environmental stewardship and greater fairness in food management. They intersect in agricultural and food systems at the global, national and local levels. Today, the main concern for the food and agricultural sector is to provide simultaneously enough food, in quantity and quality, to meet the nutritional needs of a growing population and to conserve natural resources for future generations. A sustainable food system supports food security, makes optimal use of natural and human resources, is culturally acceptable and accessible, environmentally sound and economically fair and viable, and provides the consumer with nutritionally adequate, safe, healthy and affordable food for present and future generations. Changes in both food consumption and food production are important to ensure more sustainable food systems and to achieve food and nutrition security in the Mediterranean region. Since diets sustainability is of paramount importance for achieving food and nutrition security, there is an urgent need to design and implement appropriate policies to improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the current food consumption patterns.