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Organizational Food Sustainability

Discuss about the Economics of Obesity for Dietary Energy Density.

Food security is one of the major issues that faces a great number of areas of Australia for an equally great number of years. The government has requested and recommended severally that every household should have a storage area for food, water and other vital items that can last them fourteen days just in case circumstances require the use of the said supplies by the families. However, majority of Australian families do not follow this recommendation; some do not even know it exists.

Majority of the governmental systems set aside to deal with such an eventuality are simply weak and insufficient to say the least. Most importantly, the government has not taken any serious steps to be able to educate the Australian people on the importance of food security, leading to a majority of the said persons feeling as if food security is not as important as other areas of life that they are expected to obey and abide to.

While the general public is acting disinterested and unable to understand the different aspects of food security, it is becoming a worse problem by the day. Food prices all over the world are rising continuously and making it harder for majority of organizations and persons to obtain adequate food. Statistics show that by 2008, food prices had risen by a whopping 64% in just six years (1). The increase in the food prices have been blamed on a lot of factors, including climate change and increases in transportation charges on certain products due to the ever-increasing oil prices. These factors have played a large role in the reduction of food security in Australia and a lot of areas around the world (1). Without proper food security, majority of the people would face starvation and an eventual death.

Organisations play a large and important role in the management and upholding of food security in the communities. Majority of people interact with the said organisations on a day to day basis, seeking some form of assistance or providing some form of service to and from the organisations. It is therefore important for each and every organization, regardless of the area that it is expected to assist the community in, to have certain measures that would eventually ensure that food security is upheld and every person is able to have sufficient food no matter the environmental conditions in the area at the time (2). Among these institutions are schools, of which millions of children all around the country are expected to attend on a day to day basis.

Food Sustainability in Organisation

Schools handle a great number of students every day; an approximate 3.5 million students attend over 9,500 schools all over the country. Majority of these schools are expected to be run by the government and the relevant agencies (3). The educational institutions in the nation can be subdivided into three different categories; governmental schools, Catholic schools and Independent schools, which are the minority (3).

A lot of schools, both in urban and rural areas are in the close proximity of certain industries, in particular agricultural industries and farms that have agricultural projects within. These industries are expected to support the educational system in any way possible (4). Majority of these industries however have not taken up this responsibility as well, and often are an impediment to the spread of food sustainability education due to the fact that they are attempting to keep certain trade secrets. This practice is retrogressive, as majority of children leave the school system without any proper education on food security (5).  Food security is fundamental in every aspect of the economy, including education. The use of educational system as a conduit for food security is fundamental to the creation of awareness on food security and the changes in the environment (6).

In order to attain food security in an educational institution, it is fundamental for schools to integrate food security in order to create opportunity for the students to be able to understand the different aspects of food security (7). The use of the educational systems has been effective in the creation of awareness in the healthcare and other governmental sectors (8).  One of the most effective ways to be able to curb the food insecurity menace is by the use of proper planning within the educational institutions, and in particular our institution.  Research into ideal products that would be able to be sustainable in provision of food to the children and the members of the organisation alike (9). The planning extends towards the availability of particular farm products that may be the best items to assist and grow the food industry in the best manner possible (8).

The targeted means would involve the creation of food policies that would involve both the institutional administrations as well as the other stakeholders such as farmers and food item vendors and distributers (10). The policies ideally would cover both normal case scenarios as well as more advanced and irregular situations that may require more specific reactions and action.

Single Aim to Promote Sustainability

Few institutions have attempted to take on food security head on, and instead only follow the bare minimum of directives as provided by the government for each and every school to adhere to. However, certain institutions such as Cleve Area School, located on the Eyre Peninsula, have attempted to provide a good solution to the problem (11). The school took the initiative to create a specialized Agriculture course that is offered to the older students. The certificate requires the students to take classes in agriculture for two years to be able to attain the said certificate (12).

The institution is lucky enough to have a very large farm at its disposal to be able to provide the students with the relevant education. The farm has a great number of animals, including different breeds of livestock such as sheep, and also certain types of cereals and plants as well. The students are assigned an area that they are required to tend to and carry out particular tasks on the said areas (13). The students are also taught how to take part in basic farm tasks such as sheering sheep. Each of the students are also taught how to use farm machinery such as tractors and GPS mapping equipment, in a bid to create more holistic education in the agricultural sector (13).

The education provided within the institution is also supplemented by workshops and excursions that are used as a means to gain more practical and equally up to date information on agriculture and food security (14). Guest speakers would also be invited to provide valuable information to the students. The main aim of the policy is to ensure that every student should be able to take part in agricultural activities after they leave the institutions and join the public. The more agricultural savvy persons in the society, the better the nation shall be prepared to combat food security issues.

Due to the fact that our institution does not have sufficient land to be able to create a similar system as that implemented in Cleve Area, there are a few ways we can be able to achieve a similar effect. First, there should be a complete overhaul of the school food policies. Majority of the provisions within the policies are not beneficial in the promotion of food security (14:15). The inclusion of items that would be able to ensure food security, such as the storage of emergency rations within the school in case of a disaster would be a great step in ensuring that the school remains able to provide for the students and staff as well sufficiently (16).

Prior Attempts

Research into the different food item produced and provided within the school would also be prudent in order to ensure that the school is able to have enough food to provide to the students and also store for a rainy day (17). Looking into which items are easily perishable and cannot be stored for long would also reduce food wastage within the school, as the school shall only purchase the necessary amount of these products as it requires at that particular time (18).

The school can also seek governmental help in order to be able to produce food locally and within the school. In our case, the school may need to seek assistance from the government to purchase extra land in which the school is able to grow the produce (19). Additionally, the school can also lease farms from neighbours of the institution so as to reduce the costs of purchase. The process however would involve the employment of extra employees who would be tasked with the care of the farms that shall be setup.

The school may also collaborate with local farmers in order to obtain particular food produce at more affordable prices. By eliminating the transportation costs, it is possible to reduce the costs of purchase of the said products, Furthermore, this would encourage the neighbours to be able to take part in farming and provide for their families in the best way possible. The neighbouring farmers can also be able to provide mentorship to interested students with advice and knowledge on the benefits and different aspects of farming (20).

Admittedly, it would be extremely difficult to implement the last recommendation to majority of institutions that are based in the urban areas, as there is very little likelihood that the neighbourhood would have any farmers. However, the first recommendations can be implemented in any institution, regardless of whether it is located in an urban area or a rural area.

There shall surely be resistance from certain farmers especially if the ‘option of leasing is taken up. A lot of farmers do not like the idea of leasing, majorly due to the misconception that they would eventually lose the land after a period of time. Education to the farmers would be ideal in order to make the farmers understand the terms and conditions of leasing.

Purchase of the land by the school may also prove a problem, as some of the neighbours would not be willing to sell their land to the institution due to the placement of the land and sentimental value. One solution to this problem would be to provide very competitive offers to the said land owners who would in turn realise that the land could make them a great amount of money. The second solution would be to purchase the said land a short distance away from the school from a more willing seller, who most probably would be ready to sell the land at a much cheaper price than the other sellers. The school can then find a means of transporting the produce to the school compound and store it probably.

Achieving Food Security

Contracting the neighbouring farmers would be the most acceptable solution to the food security issues. Apart from assisting the farmers to make an honest and worthy living, it would also make it easy for the school to obtain different types of foods from the said farmers, at more affordable prices due to the affordable transportation costs. The project would also assist in raising the standards of living in the area.

Objectives

Actions

Responsibility

Indicators

Assessment Tools

Create facilities and policies that would enable the school store non-perishable foodstuffs for emergencies.

School Administration

·         Analysis of the different available foodstuffs and their expiry dates.

·         Creation of categories of foods, and differentiating the said foods as perishables and non-perishables.

Objective 2

Seek governmental help in order to be able to produce food locally and within the school.

Government

Increase in amount of food produce and available food in the institution.

Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the food harvested from the new farms. A comparison to previous food quality and quantity would also be in order.

Objective 3

The school should collaborate with local farmers in order to obtain particular food produce at more affordable prices.

Administration

Increase in amount of food produce and available food in the institution.

Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the food harvested from the new farms. A comparison to previous food quality and quantity would also be in order.

A qualitative and comparative analysis of the changes in the lives of the farmers around the schools

Food security is vital in the growth of any institution and the individuals within it. The fact that majority of Australians are not aware or willing to take part in food security measures is simply saddening. Educational institutions have a great role to play in ensuring that the nation is secure, both in the short term and the Long term. Institutions such as Cleve Area School have taken it upon themselves to ensure that the students within the institution are properly trained on matters of agriculture and can be able to take part in agro-business. Other institutions should follow suit and create a creative plan that may assist in strengthening food security within the institutions. The storage of certain food products for emergency situations would boost up food security in the institutions. With the help of other farmers around, the institution would be able to get enough food and the surplus can be stored properly for use later. Food security is possible and achievable with careful and meticulous planning.

References

Rome Declaration. 1996; Available from: https://www.fao.org/docrep/003/w3613e/w3613e00.HTM.

Food Security Information for Action. 2009 [12.10.09]; Available from: https://www.foodsec.org/DL/dlintro_en.asp.

McComb J, Webb K, Marks G. What do we mean by "Food Access" and "Food Supply"? Food Chain. 2000;1.

World Health Organization. Food Security. 2009 [16.11.09]; Available from: https://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story028/en/.

British Cabinet Office Strategy Unit. Food Matters: Towards a strategy for the 21st century. 2008.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security. 2004.

International Food Security Treaty Campaign. International food security campaign - no hunger. 2008 [17.11.09]; Available from: https://www.treaty.org.

Hearing S, Shamsuzzoha S. Community Food Security in United States Cities. John Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future 2009.

Webb K, King L. Food, nutrition and the built environment. In: Johnson, editor. Healthy Environments 11 Essays. Sydney, 2004.

Affordability of a healthy diet for low income families: re-addressing the issues. Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics. 1997;54(4):165-6.

Cleve Area School. https://acacia.cleveas.sa.edu.au/cms/

Drewnowski A, Darmon N. The economics of obesity: dietary energy density and energy cost. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005;82(Suppl. 1):265S-73S.

Yngve A, Margetts B, Hughes R, Tseng M. Food insecurity - not just about rural communities in Africa and Asia. Public Health Nutrition. 2009;12(11).

Kavanagh A, Thornton L, Tattam A, Thomas L, Jolley D, Turrell G. Place does matter for your health: A report of the Victorian Lifestyle and Neighbourhood Environment Study. University of Melbourne; 2007. Temple J. Food insecurity among older Australians: prevalence, correlates and well-being. Australasian Journal on Ageing. 2006; Vol 25(3):158-63.

BIS Shrapnel. Australian Food Service Report 2007-08 2008.

Burns C, Inglis A. Measuring food access in Melbourne. Access to healthy and fast food by car, bus and foot in Melbourne. Health and Place. 2007; 13:877-85.

Cummins S, Macintyre S. Food environments and obesity - neighbourhood or nation? International Journal of Epidemiology. 2006 35 (1):100–4. 21. Turrell G, Bentley R, Thomas L, Jolley D. A multilevel study of area socio-economic status and food purchasing behaviour. Public Health Nutrition. 2009;12(11):2074-83.

Giskes K, Turrell G, C P, Newman B. Socioeconomic differences in fruit and vegetable consumption among Australian adolescents and adults. Public Health Nutrition. 2002;55(5):663-9.

Cummins S, Smith D, Taylor M, Dawson J, Marshall D, Sparks L, et al. Variations in fresh fruit and vegetable quality by store type, urban-rural setting and neighbourhood deprivation in Scotland. Public Health Nutrition. 2009;12(11):2044-50.

Giskes K, Turrell G, van Lenthe F, Brug J, Mackenbach J. A multilevel study of socioeconomic inequalities in food choice behaviour and dietary intake among the Dutch population. Public Health Nutrition. 2006; 9:75-83.

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