Page 1: Seminar - Sustainable diets and food systems - Research examples from South Africa
23th July 2019
11:30 - 12:30
Nicole Claasen completed her Masters in nutritional sciences with majors in international nutrition and pedagogy at the Jena University in 2006 and her PhD study in Nutrition and home economics at the Giessen University in Germany in 2010. She also gained technical experience in implementing food security and nutrition programs with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in Italy and Timor-Leste from 2009 to 2011. Since 2012, she is a Senior Researcher at the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR) at the North-West University in South Africa. She is involved as a researcher in numerous projects related to sustainable diets, food security and food systems, particularly in South Africa, and leads the Master’s in Health Sciences programme in Transdisciplinary Health Promotion.
In South Africa, household food insecurity co-exists with rising levels of obesity, reflecting poverty but also poor dietary habits. In this seminar, insights on sustainable diets and food systems in Vaalharts are presented by exploring six different dimensions, namely (1) food security and nutrition, (2) local food structures, (3) environmental sustainability, (4) economic efficiency, (5) socio-cultural aspects and (6) governance. Findings of our research show that agriculture plays a crucial role for livelihoods and sustainable development in these rural communities. Most food items consumed by the poorest third households are potentially produced locally but mainly sourced from supermarkets. Strengthening existing local food systems can be realised by calling on existing local assets, knowledge sharing and relationship building between relevant actors as well as synergising existing support programmes.
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