IDR Team Summary 5

Design production systems for ecosystem services that improve human outcomes related to food and nutrition.

CHALLENGE SUMMARY

Human health and well-being cannot be achieved without food security. This security involves more than the production of food. It includes secure and sufficient access (or entitlements) to a sufficient quantity and quality of food to support the growth of children and permit an active, healthy life at all ages. Together, food production and access constitute food systems. Insufficient or unpredictable food supplies commonly result in malnutrition, illness, poor cognition, and both acute and chronic diseases. Poor food security tends to link with economic impoverishment to create conditions that lower agricultural productivity, and in turn, lead to poorer management of multiple land uses, potentially affecting a variety of related ecosystem services. In contrast, poor food security has been associated with another type of poor health in populations with intermittent food access: periodic overconsumption of calories relative to energy expenditure, leading to overweight/obesity and related chronic diseases. It is an open question whether the dominant forms of agriculture and aquaculture contribute to these problems by way of the variety and quality of foods produced. Regardless, the character of food systems holds systemic outcomes for people and environment.

The challenge is to better understand how to improve the two sides of food security by changing agricultural and aquacultural systems and the environmental consequences of these changes. Possibilities include increased food productivity, more food diversity, biofortification, and improved food distribution systems.



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IDR Team Summary 5 Design production systems for ecosystem services that improve human outcomes related to food and nutrition. CHALLENGE SUMMARY Human health and well-being cannot be achieved without food security. This security involves more than the production of food. It in- cludes secure and sufficient access (or entitlements) to a sufficient quantity and quality of food to support the growth of children and permit an active, healthy life at all ages. Together, food production and access constitute food systems. Insufficient or unpredictable food supplies commonly result in malnutrition, illness, poor cognition, and both acute and chronic diseases. Poor food security tends to link with economic impoverishment to create conditions that lower agricultural productivity, and in turn, lead to poorer management of multiple land uses, potentially affecting a variety of related ecosystem services. In contrast, poor food security has been associated with another type of poor health in populations with intermittent food access: periodic overconsumption of calories relative to energy expenditure, leading to overweight/obesity and related chronic diseases. It is an open question whether the dominant forms of agriculture and aquaculture contribute to these problems by way of the variety and quality of foods produced. Regard- less, the character of food systems holds systemic outcomes for people and environment. The challenge is to better understand how to improve the two sides of food security by changing agricultural and aquacultural systems and the environmental consequences of these changes. Possibilities include increased food productivity, more food diversity, biofortification, and im- proved food distribution systems. 47

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48 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES Key Questions • How can food security best be measured in order to examine associa- tions with human outcomes? • How can the performance of food systems be measured in regard to the health and well-being of both the human and environmental subsystems? • How do agriculture and aquaculture affect food security, and how does a lack of food security affect human health, and in turn, agricultural/ aquacultural systems? • How can food security be made resilient to sudden shocks such as natural or man-made disaster?” Reading Blasbalg TL, Wispelwey B, Deckelbaum RJ. Econutrition and utilization of food-based approaches for nutritional health. Food & Nutrition Bulletin 2011;32(1):4S-13S(10). [Abstract available.] Bouis HE, Hotz C, and McClafferty BH. Biofortification: A new tool to reduce micronutrient malnutrition. Food & Nutrition Bulletin 2011;32(1):31S-40S(10). [Abstract available.] Swindale A and Bilinsky P. Development of a universally applicable household food insecurity measurement tool: Process, current status, and outstanding issues. J Nutr 2006;136:1449S–1452S. Wiesmann D, Hoddinott J, Aberman N-L, and Ruel M. Review and validation of dietary diversity, food frequency and other proxy indicators of household food security. Prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI): Rome, Italy, July 2006. Wolfe WS and Frongillo EA. Building household food-security measurement tools from the ground up. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2001; 22:5-12. Wunderlich GS and Norwood JL. Food insecurity and hunger in the United States. An Assessment of the measure. National Academies Press: Washington, D.C., 2006. IDR TEAM MEMBERS • Sylvie M. Brouder, Purdue University • Fabrice A.J. DeClerck, CATIE • Peter S. Kettlewell, Harper Adams University College • Ashley M. Latta, University of Maryland • Emilio F. Moran, Indiana University • Seth C. Murray, Texas A&M University/Texas AgriLife Research • Thomas L. Rabaey, General Mills Inc. • Penny K. Riggs, Texas A&M University

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49 IDR TEAM SUMMARY 5 • Jean B. Ristaino, North Carolina State University • Diego Rose, Tulane University • Osvaldo E. Sala, Arizona State University IDR TEAM SUMMARY Ashley M. Latta, NAKFI Science Writing Scholar University of Maryland IDR Team 5 was asked to design production systems for ecosystem services that improve human outcomes related to food and nutrition. Currently, the global food system fails approximately two billion people, ~1 billion of whom are undernourished, while another ~1 billion are obese. With the global population growing at a super-exponential rate, the problem of meeting nutritional needs will only grow. Food production and distribution systems are not sustainable nor do they enhance the services upon which the systems depend. There was much debate throughout the first day of discussion about the meaning of the team’s challenge and how to create viable solutions with- out a clear understanding of the task. While the team struggled, initially, to find focus and clarity, the first breakthrough came when the team members agreed that “human outcomes related to food and nutrition”—such as malnourishment—is encompassed by the phrase “food security,” which has been defined at the FAO, World Food Summit as: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” With a clear definition of food security, the team began to consider whether or not the assigned challenge encompassed the reality of the food security problem. After lengthy discussion, the team members crafted what they believed to be the most concise statement of the problem: “Current food systems do not match the energy and nutrient needs of an expanding population and are not sustainable.” “Food systems,” in the problem statement, is meant to encompass all elements of the “field to fork” system, which includes production, processing, distribution and consumption. The team agreed that major infrastructural issues exist that threaten human outcomes for food and nutrition, primarily inadequate integration across cultures, environments, populations, economics, science, and technology.

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50 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES This concise, two-part problem statement laid the framework within which the team could characterize human outcome failures, identify and address major threats to food security, and craft possible solutions, all within the context of ecosystem services. Threats to Food Security The team members created a lengthy list of threats to food security and opportunities for mitigating those threats. Some of the basic threats to food security include questions of ability, access, and utilization. Threats were identified within every stage of the “field-to-fork” system. While extensive, the list is by no means complete. Threats to production and distribution include the emergence of major diseases, such as cassava mosaic and wheat rust, an underestimation of dis- eases, lack of crop diversity, inefficient production contingent upon market forces (e.g., cattle production based solely on grass when the price of corn is high). A major threat to distribution is reliance on petroleum. There are also political threats, including government instability, inadequate, and too few, public dollars going toward agricultural research. Economic threats include speculation on food prices and ever-changing market forces. Other threats to food security include the psychology of the consumer; that is, their taste preferences, their unwillingness to purchase more expen- sive foods, resistance to Genetically Modified Organisms, and an overall dissociation from food production. The psychology of the farmer is also involved. The team raised this question: how do you convince the farmer of ecosystem services benefits? For example, how do you persuade a farmer to invest money to begin growing a more sustainable crop when there are no financial incentives to change his current operations? Each of these threats is compounded by rapid population growth— global food demand is expected to double by 2050—and climate change, which results in various problems such as too little or too much rain. In an effort to mitigate climate change, biofuel development is an emerging industry. But biofuel production often results in competition for land and resources that can negatively impact food security because biofuel often comes from grain. The team outlined opportunities for mitigating threats and improving food security. These opportunities included halting the transmission of disease, moving agriculture closer to urban populations, encouraging Com- munity Supported Agriculture (CSAs), biofortification, and diversification.

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51 IDR TEAM SUMMARY 5 Each of these opportunities represents the beginning of solutions to the food security problem. For example, moving greenbelt diversity closer to urban populations would reduce the distance between food production and the consumer. This would improve ecosystem services of land that may be blighted in urban areas, reduce the carbon footprint of that food system, improve water infil- tration and storm water control, produce nutritious food, and potentially improve soil quality. But the team readily agreed that these opportunities must be place- specific. Broad solutions would not suffice because food security needs and agricultural goals differ geographically. Eliminating Threats: Finding Place-Based Solutions In lieu of broad solutions the team began to create a graph that illus- trates the connections between the food system (e.g., producer, distribu- tion, and consumer) and entities that directly impact the system; that is, economics, science and technology, education, public policy, and ecosystem services. This gave the team the framework required to conceptualize link- ages and develop solutions.

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52 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES Once a base food system illustration was created, the team then sought to illustrate the same processes within two different case studies. With case study-specific illustrations, the team was able to isolate the strongest con- nections in specific locations, thereby identifying which changes might have the greatest impact. Case Study 1: Ecosystems California rice lands: changes in Services management of rice straw decomposition Producer Distribution Economics Consumer Food security Science & Technology Public Policy Education Ecosystems Case Study 2: Services Turkana in Kenya Producer Distribution Consumer Economics Food security Science & Technology Public Policy Education

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53 IDR TEAM SUMMARY 5 After brainstorming food system improvements for each case study, the team was able to isolate three solutions that encompass major issues across food systems. First, make agriculture production more multifunctional and resilient, which includes farm level services, off-farm services (e.g., distribution), and integration of production practices as a system. Second, develop missing indices of environmental factors. For example, develop an ecosystems services footprint, much like the current carbon footprint, to measure impact on ecosystem services. Finally, change the nature of the incentive system. The team suggested changing subsidies to encompass ecosystem services and nutrient density through taxes, tax exemptions, and penalties. Future Research and Improvements With almost every solution offered, the team was able to identify a knowledge gap that impedes progress, requiring further research and policy- making. Some of the important gaps in science and technology identified by the group include a way to quantify ecosystem services in the context of food security, an understanding of how to influence the incentive structure through policy changes, the development of new technologies to meet pro- jected food and nutrition needs in a changing global climate, place-based adaptation of technologies, an understanding and incorporation of local knowledge on agrobiodiversity to increase food security, and other trans- formational technologies. The team concluded that with further research, solutions to improve long-term food security could be developed and the subsequent benefits to society would include enhanced human potential and quality of life, environmental conservation, and human conflict reduction. These benefits represent a large step toward enhanced ecosystem services and ecological sustainability.

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