The Feeding of Nations: Redefining Food Security for the 21st Century, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Feeding of Nations

Redefining Food Security for the 21st Century, 1st Edition

By Mark Gibson

CRC Press

684 pages | 114 B/W Illus.

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In the last decade, the world has grown richer and produced more food than ever before. Yet in that same period, hunger has increased and 925 million remain underfed and malnourished. Exploring this troubling paradox, The Feeding of Nations: Re-Defining Food Security for the 21st Century offers a glimpse into how the simple aspiration of global food security has evolved and unfolded—with sometimes contradictory and counterproductive policies, agendas, and ideologies.

Providing a holistic analysis of the issues surrounding food security, this volume engages in a cross-disciplinary approach that makes the subject accessible to readers and academically rigorous in delivery. Topics discussed include:

  • A brief overview of our current understanding of the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition
  • Historical perspectives on the feeding of nations, to understand how we arrived at this point
  • Contemporary motivations that led to the creation of the modern concept of food security
  • The many different sectors related to food security, including agriculture, environment, and policy
  • The goals that society has set regarding food security, the means by which these are to be achieved, and current thoughts on solutions

The book contains a broad set of appendices that enable focused study on critical topics presented in the text. Uniquely amalgamating all the disparate elements of food security into one volume, it sets the record straight about the origins and evolution of the phenomenon while dispelling myths along the way.


"Undoubtedly, the consolidation of so much information on the topic in a single volume will be much appreciated by those grappling with this timely issue."

—D. M Gilbert, Maine Maritime Academy, in Choice

"I would wholeheartedly recommend this book as a reference source to anyone involved with, or interested in, food security. It is both succinct and well referenced."

Chemistry World, September 2012

Table of Contents

Food Security: What Is It, How and Who Does It Affect?

Food Security: What Is It?

Good Nutrition: A Basic Introduction

Bad ‘Mal’-nutrition: The Physiology of Hunger

Food Security: The Global Picture

History: A Fledgling Construct

Sociocultural Evolution

Governance, Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Science, Technology and Philosophy

History: Twentieth Century

Twentieth Century: The Feeding of Nations—A New Global Enthusiasm

The Inter-War Years 1919–1939

World War Two: 1939–1945

The Post-War Years

The Development Decade: 1960s

Famine, Oil and the Food Crisis: 1970s

The Lost Development Decade: 1980s

The Era of the Conference: 1990s

The Twenty-First Century: Ideological Convergence?

A Sectoral Analysis: Food Security and…

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Science and Technology


Health and Nutrition

Environment and Natural Resources

Governance, Politics and Economics

The Final Analysis—Food Security

Origins: Aetiology and Etymology—Dispelling the Myths

Causality and Future Research

Redefining Food Security

Food for Thought: Discussion and Considerations

Closing Remarks


Appendix A: Country Classifications

Appendix B: Mortality Categories

Appendix C: The Gibson Framework of Food Security

Appendix D: Metabolism

Appendix E: Micronutrients

Appendix F: Malnutrition—Its Assessment and Measurement

Appendix G: Biological Systematics

Appendix H: Millennium Development Goals

Appendix I: Global Warming—The Basics

Appendix J: Energy Sources

Appendix K: Stakeholders

Appendix L: Conversion Rates

Appendix M: Glossary

About the Author

Mark Gibson has always taken an interest in the way food has been approached, not just locally but also in the global context. There has been an elemental desire to understand more of the social, political and economic tectonics of food culture, particularly in relation to issues of food security. After training in the culinary arts, Mark remained in the industry for two decades before finally stepping into the academic world. He now lectures on many aspects related to food culture from governance to sustainability issues as well as keeping his hand in the kitchen. After completing his PhD on food security, Mark undertook to share his knowledge in the present book.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Ecology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General