What is Food Security


THREE PILLARS: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) identifies three pillars that determine food security:
  1. Food availability: access to sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis
    • Food insecurity can be a long-term or a short-term event.
  2. Food access: having sufficient resources and socially acceptable means (without the aid of emergency food supplies, stealing, or scavenging) to obtain appropriate foods or a nutritious diet
    • Fast food or highly processed foods that are insufficient sources of nutrients would not solve food insecurity.
    • Access to transportation, nearness to grocery stores, and high food prices are all examples of factors that affect food access.
  3. Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent active, healthy lifestyle. It is a household-access to enough food for an 

level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. 

Though hunger is certainly linked with food insecurity, it is not necessarily the same thing. Hunger is an individual-level physiological condition that is a potential consequence of being food insecure. Someone experiencing food insecurity will also likely be experiencing hunger, but food insecurity is characterized by a lack of available resources for food and tends to be an issue of access. (See "THREE PILLARS" on the right.)

Food insecurity is complex, as Feeding America notes:

"It does not exist in isolation, as low-income families are affected by multiple, overlapping
issues like affordable housing, social isolation, health problems, medical costs, and low wages."

These overlapping issues build upon each other, and addressing food insecurity effectively often requires a response to more than just food access.

For a look at food insecurity in Maine, click here.
To learn about what the Morris Farm is doing, click here.
For a list of organizations working to address food insecurity, in Lincoln County & beyond, click here.