From Food Equity to Food Security for All
For much of his adult life, Ricardo Salvador has considered how to make our food system more equitable for all communities — especially those actively marginalized and exploited. Ricardo is a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists and director of its Food and Environment Program, as well as a Kellogg Fellow (FSPF-02). And he has a lot to say about the concrete actions we can take to create positive change in our food system.
Speaking Out about Food
Recently, Ricardo was the keynote speaker for the Light up the Redd benefit in Portland, Oregon. This October 2017 event attracted around 800 food system leaders, and supported Ecotrust’s new working hub for food system innovation.
“Do we know enough to create a food system that does not rely on exploitation?” Ricardo asked in a recent Civil Eats article about the event. “Yes, we know enough to produce our food without exploiting nature, and we definitely know enough to produce our food without exploiting people.... The question is: ‘Will we?’”
In this Civil Eats article, Ricardo provides specific suggestions for improving the food system. He also makes the case for food system shifts like immigration reform and farmer loan forgiveness programs.
Understanding the Challenges
Ricardo provides more background on some key challenges with the food system in this far-reaching interview with UCFoodObserver.com, which was written by another Kellogg Fellow (FASP) Rose Hayden-Smith.
The article covers everything from the 1980s farm crisis to the development of agribusinesses and the “real costs” of food production.
As Ricardo explains:
“Our food system can’t be just or sustainable if it is predicated on paying as little as we can to farmers, farm laborers and food chain workers, then devaluing the worth of soil, clean water, clean air and public health.”
Calling for National Food Policy
We need a national food policy, and it could save millions of lives in the United States, according to this Washington Post OP/ED piece co-written by Ricardo with notables Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan and Olivier De Shutter.
They write, “Think of the food system as something that works for us rather than exploits us, something that encourages health rather than undermines it. That is the food system the people of the United States deserve...”
Don’t miss their recommendations and rationale behind a national food policy here.
Tackling Food Insecurity
In one of his newest projects, Ricardo is joining other Kellogg Fellows to look at ways to address food insecurity on local and global levels. Together with 18 Kellogg Fellows, he’s a member of the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance (KFLA) design team organizing a Fall 2018 global summit addressing food security.
“Food security isn’t just about food,” explains Ricardo. “For instance, the United States has 10 million restaurant workers. They suffer from three times the poverty as the rest of the nation’s work force. These workers also use twice as many food stamps. This basically means that the people who put food on our tables in America can’t actually afford to eat that food themselves.”
The upcoming summit will bring together people from around the globe to discuss food insecurity. In fact, the Kellogg Fellows on the design committee are from southern Africa, Latin America and the United States.
“In food systems work, there are a lot of universal issues that we are confronting,” adds Ricardo. “But we each have different resources, circumstances and ideas — depending on where in the world we are located. We want to share all these ideas to see where we can cross-pollinate and co-create opportunities for positive change.”
Stay tuned for more details.