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Keywords:

  • food security;
  • food policy;
  • local–global;
  • applied anthropology

The current global food crisis can be, in part, described as an outcome of not only historical patterns of income inequalities and long-standing food trade policies biased in favor of wealthier nations but also in terms of significant reductions in food aid and other safety-net programs for people living in poor nations. Despite the serious nature of the problem of food insecurity, only a limited amount of reliable descriptive research, especially at the community level, has explored the causes and consequences of the current food crisis. Anthropology offers a unique set of methodological and theoretical approaches that can be useful for designing, implementing, and evaluating programs and policies aimed at alleviating poverty and reducing food insecurity. Anthropologically informed research can provide a dynamic understanding of food insecurity in terms of its causes and consequences and its local, regional, and global underpinnings. This information can be helpful in incorporating a community-level understanding of the “local” determinants of food insecurity for developing effective and sustainable food policy and intervention programs.