Social Sciences on food security

Posted on Thursday, October 1, 2015

field of wheat

In 1945, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization declared October 16 to be “World Food Day”. Some seventy years later, the day continues to help increase awareness of world hunger and poverty, while inspiring solutions for change.

Many researchers within our Faculty are actively interested in issues that relate to food, and more specifically, to food security. Through the work of our social sciences’ researchers, students and professors, we engage in projects and conduct studies that allow our fellow citizens to make better sense of the societies and communities we live in. How we extract, transform, manage and distribute our natural resources across communities, sectors and countries has a significant impact on the health and sustainability of all of our planet’s systems. Development and urbanization, tourism, economic and political systems, along with the growth and movements of populations, all compound with other factors such as climate change and education to make the question of food one that cuts across all disciplines.

To mark #WorldFoodDay2015, the Faculty has prepared a few short articles that present some of our researchers’ unique fields of expertise on the matter. The month of October is also, customarily, the time during which the Faculty of Social Sciences runs its annual food drive, Shelfstock. Again this year, thanks to the generous contributions of social sciences’ staff and professors, we are collecting non-perishable food items and hygiene products to help fill the shelves of our campus’ food bank. The Shelfstock 2015 food drive has been extended to October 30th.

Take a moment to read an article, or to drop by the 3rd, 4th or 5th floors of the FSS building to drop off your ShelfStock donation.


Do you know what goes into your food?

child carrying something heavy

That small piece of chocolate that you’re enjoying has an aftertaste? Could it be due to the child labor and human trafficking that goes into producing it? The little known link between the two is the subject of the documentary “The Dark Side of Chocolate” presented October 16, on World Food Day, by the uOttawa Laboratory for the Interdisciplinary Study of Food.


Insects in our plates

cockroach on pasta

In spring 2012, a restaurant in Copenhagen (Noma), considered to be one of the best in the world by many critics, made headlines when chef René Redzepi added ants, grasshoppers paste and bee larvae to his gastronomic menu. David Jaclin, anthropology professor, examines whether it is a question of a gourmet experience or a publicity stunt.


Chefs in prison

a hand plating pasta

Does having a basic knowledge of food preparation and nutrition make you a better citizen? According to Sylvie Frigon, this appears to be the case, as more and more prisons around the globe begin to provide inmates with opportunities to learn about nutrition – in some very creative ways – as a form of rehabilitation.


We Need to Get Food on The Menu This Election

man weighing his food at the grocery store

Leaders of the major Canadian political parties have focused largely on issues of economic growth and government accountability this election campaign. Yet, there still remains a national concern that has fallen by the wayside: food. Regulating the production, transportation, and quality of food is not an election issue that has gained any attention, despite the myriad roles the federal government plays in keeping us fed.


Things heating up in Kenya

kenya workers in a field

Farmers in western Kenya can grow two crops a year but many are food insecure. Joshua Ramisch has been working in the region for over twenty years, studying why it is so challenging to end hunger here.

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