Causes and Consequences of an Unsustainable Food System


  • Chryslyn Pais


It is often agreed upon that food and shelter are the two most important elements of human survival. At the same time, millions of people around the globe are either malnourished or living in hunger. The purpose of this paper is to present a macro-scale critique of the current food system and its connections to poverty and hunger. The first section of this paper is an introduction to the market commodity nature of the food system. This is followed by the exploration of unsustainable practices that are used within each sector of the system (these being production, consumption, distribution and transportation). I then outline how each of these unsustainable practices has led to or has further exacerbated poverty and hunger in the urban [and rural] context. The motivation for writing has come from a service-learning placement at a food redistribution centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Personal reflections have left me with critical questions on the topics of hunger, poverty, food security and sustainability. This paper therefore seeks to make connections between these between these social issues.






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