Newsletter no 22 – Editorial

Nutrition and food sovereignty

Illustration: Alapinta crew in Paris

This edition of the Nyéléni newsletter focuses on nutrition as a key element of the human right to adequate food and nutrition within the framework of food sovereignty. It puts the spotlight on the artificial fragmentation of food and nutrition and attempts by the private sector to capture nutrition policy spaces. Its authors describe the impact this has on people’s nutrition and the ways communities are resisting and building alternative food systems.

Human nutrition refers to the interaction between food and the human body, and the resulting health and wellbeing of individuals. The best source of nutrition continues to be breastfeeding and diversified rich traditional foods developed by cultures throughout history. Nutrition is only one of the dimensions of eating linked to human health. The best way to guarantee adequate nutrition is through the provision of diversified, safe, and balanced diets, based on local fresh produce which is agroecologically produced, and prepared according to cultural practices. Nutrition cannot be separated from food, production models, food systems or eating practices.

Malnutrition in all its forms, including obesity, is the result of poverty, hunger, deprivation and monotony of diets, with the consumption of ultra-processed products. Nutrition-specific interventions may be fundamental to reverse acute cases of and prevent malnutrition; however, nutrition supplements or similar interventions cannot replace regular access to locally-produced, healthy, and adequate diets through access and control over productive resources, adequate wages, social protection, non-discrimination, promotion of women´s rights, and food systems built within the principle of agroecology and food sovereignty.

Flavio Luiz Schiek Valente, FIAN International