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A man scatters seeds on a paddy field.
Credit: Guru Moorthy Gokul

2022 was a big year for food and agriculture. From escalating climate change consequences to global conflict and COVID, the food system has undergone significant developments as it attempted to adjust to a rapidly changing world. In this special edition of Global Food for Thought, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs provides an overview of our work as we tracked global developments in food and agriculture.


Global Food Security Symposium 2022

Three women harvest vegetation in a field in India. Play Video

Overlapping crises from climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and conflict have brought unprecedented levels of disruption, from all-time high food and fuel prices to record rates of hunger and food insecurity impacting the world’s most vulnerable. The Council welcomed leading experts to discuss the global food and nutrition crisis, and the urgent action and coordination they recommend addressing it during the 2022 Global Food Security Symposium. 

US Commitments in Nutrition and Health for a Better Future

Approximately 768 million people faced hunger in 2020, over 100 million more than 2019, and the number of those without sufficient nutrients is even higher. In the United States, diet-related disease accounted for over half of all deaths in 2018. Globally, approximately 45 percent of the deaths of children younger than five are related to undernutrition.

For decades, the United States has also experienced a rise in chronic diet-related diseases like diabetes, with disproportionate effects seen in communities of color. And as the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the link between nutrition and both risk and long-term consequences of pathogen infection, urgency to shift governmental nutrition approaches has never been higher. Our white paper offered recommendations to turn commitments into action. 

Four speakers and a moderator discuss food insecurity on stage at the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

The Council convened a task force to provide recommendations to advance the goals of the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the first conference of its kind held since 1969.

Ambitious, Actionable Recommendations to End Hunger, Enhance Nutrition, and Improve Health in the United States: The Council partnered with Food Systems of the Future, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and World Central Kitchen to form the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. As an independent group of national leaders and experts, the task force released a comprehensive report to inform the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

A variety of vegetables are pictured at a grocery store.
Ending Hunger and Advancing Nutrition: Lived Experience Perspectives Accessing and affording healthy food is a challenge for many Americans. In collaboration with World Central Kitchen, the Council provides domestic policy recommendations reflective of listening sessions across the United States.
The Council’s Center on Global Food and Agriculture organized listening sessions around the US ahead of the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

The Council’s Center on Global Food and Agriculture, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, collaborated with World Central Kitchen to host listening sessions in Chicago, IL, Oakland, CA, and Selma, AL to help inform the task force report. The Center identified major themes in listening session participants’ feedback to develop a series of blogs illuminating key issues for consideration in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

A person reaches to grab a green grape from a shelf of fruit in a grocery store. Food and Agriculture
Reducing SNAP Restrictions to Make Food Preparation Easier for Families
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Samanta Dunford
Food preparation is a common barrier to accessing healthy, nutritious meals for families, making SNAP expansions vital to food security.
A variety of fruit is pictured at a grocery store. Food and Agriculture
Jakub Kapusnak
The Hidden Hungry: Men in Poverty
BLOG Global Food for Thought
Men often fall outside of gendered stereotypes of food assistance programs, failing to reflect nuanced experiences of hunger in the United States.
A group of people prepares food for a food assistance program. Food and Agriculture
Incorporating Dietary Needs and Cultural Requirements into Food Assistance Programs
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Natalie Burdsall
Fundamental issues in food assistance programs exclude the disability community and people requiring culturally relevant foods.
George Hall bends down to tend to his turnips in Greene County, Alabama. Food and Agriculture
Anne Thurow
Black Farmers' Voices: How the Past Influences Food Insecurity Today
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Roger Thurow
Discrimination, diminishing number of Black farmers leads to persistence of food insecurity in America.


US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tackling the Global Food Security Crisis

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield on a recent visit to Africa. Play Video

The UN World Food Programme describes 2022 as a year of unprecedented hunger, with roughly 828 million people facing food insecurity. Climate change, along with overlapping global shocks including supply chain bottlenecks and the escalating Russia-Ukraine war have impacted food systems, both abroad and at home, with increasing pricing and food shortages. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield joined the Council following her recent trip to the African continent to discuss global food insecurity and how the United States is working with the international community to alleviate this rising crisis. 

The Case for Inclusive Agricultural Development

Recognizing that inclusive agricultural development is a nuanced and multifaceted issue, this brief featured four expert perspectives on how to ensure the United States’ agriculture and food security assistance reflects not only the priorities of local communities, but also communities’ own metrics of success. The four chapters explored inclusive development through a case study of how to embed trust and flexibility into programs for greater local ownership, the need for women’s leadership, social enterprises’ potential for scalable and locally led systems change, and participatory agricultural research. The brief concluded with policy recommendations to further government efforts.

Gorreti Ndagire (center) counts money during a Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) group meeting in Katoosi village, Ddwaniro subcounty, Rakai district, Uganda.
The Case for Inclusive Agricultural Development Amid shifts towards inclusive agricultural development, the Center for Global Food and Agriculture offers policy recommendations for further US government action.


Conference on Agriculture for Health

M.Studio Play Video

Highlighting the importance of a systems-based approach to address challenges around reducing chronic disease, supporting a healthy environment, while ensuring profitability for producers, the Conference on Agriculture for Health serves as a focal point for convening influential thought leaders. Leaders from academia, government, private and nonprofit sectors gathered together to kickoff conversations that will help to solve the ultimate grand challenge of balancing human health, environmental health, and economic vitality.

Stewardship, Sovereignty, and Solutions

In October 2022, the Council launched the blog series “Stewardship, Sovereignty, and Solutions” which features the voices of guest authors from Indigenous organizations and communities. Recognizing that Indigenous communities around the world disproportionately experience the pressures of climate change, global conflicts, and the pandemic, while simultaneously stewarding 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, the blog series aims to highlight Indigenous and traditional agricultural practices in the United States and globally. In bringing attention to Indigenous agriculture and foodways, we hope to promote a truly inclusive global food system that recognizes and actively counteracts the oppression of Indigenous peoples.

A field of grapes in Oregon is pictured nearing sunset. Food and Agriculture
Dan Meyers
Embracing Interconnectedness: How Indigenous Foodways Can Save Us
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Ife Kilimanjaro
Indigenous perspectives utilize regenerative farming practices through embodying interconnectedness, ultimately protecting the environment from climate change.
Three young girls kneel in a garden, holding vegetables and fruits as they smile into the camera. Food and Agriculture
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project
Reconnecting to Indigenous Food Sovereignty Values and Practices
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Tahlia Natachu
The Zuni Indigenous community looks towards their past to address issues around agriculture, food access, health, and the environment in sustainable ways.
Three students participating in the CRYP Garden Club learn how to grind berries. Food and Agriculture
Julie Garreau
Native Food Sovereignty: Strengthening Connection to Culture
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Julie Garreau
Community and family gardens provide the foundation for Native Food Sovereignty, and allow the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to reclaim their local food system.
A field of wheat is pictured as the sun sets. Food and Agriculture
Felix Mittermeier
A Thanksgiving Legacy: Fighting for Indigenous Food Sovereignty
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Jayden Lim
“Thanksgiving must be a day to recognize the Indigenous fight against colonization and its legacies as we seek to reclaim our foods,” writes Jayden Lim.
A woman walks along a cliff with a sheep following behind her. Food and Agriculture
Monica Volpin
Flavors and Culture: Food Systems through Indigenous Women's Eyes
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Myrna Cunningham
Productive practices of Indigenous women's groups have significant value in contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the well-being of humanity, and therefore encourage exchange and dialogue.
A herd of buffalo is pictured on a field. Food and Agriculture
Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative
Expanding "638" to Enhance Native American Food Sovereignty
BLOG Global Food for Thought by Mary Belle Zook
Federal agricultural policies must continue expanding to provide greater support for Tribally-led endeavors and choices, including self-determination and self-governance.

From Climate Pledges to Transformative Action

Acknowledging the unprecedented potential of recent commitments and international attention given to food systems and climate change, the Council convened an expert roundtable with representatives from the private, public, academic, and nonprofit sectors to move beyond abstract goals to identify concrete actionable steps for United States agrifood stakeholders. This paper outlines three key areas for action that were identified through the roundtable and offers recommendations to the private sector, donor community, civil society, academia, and government. 

Cow stands in front of a tree line with plumes of smoke indicating forest destruction in the Amazon.
From Climate Pledges to Transformative Action Can the United States deliver on its food systems and climate commitments? We offer recommendations to protect the planet and feed the world.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

The Center on Global Food and Agriculture recognizes it occupies the ancestral land of the Kiikaapoi, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Bodwéwadmi, and Myaamia people. Indigenous communities around the world disproportionately experience the pressures of climate change, global conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic, while simultaneously stewarding 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. These Indigenous tribes and nations are the original owners of this land and continue to be systemically erased by policies and practices that ignore their histories. To learn more about Indigenous foodways and practices, check out our 2022 blog series "Stewardship, Sovereignty, and Solutions."

About the Author
Communications Officer
Natalie Burdsall is pictured from the shoulders up, smiling into the camera, wearing a black blazer over a green button-down shirt.
Natalie Burdsall joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2022 as the communications officer for the Center on Global Food and Agriculture. In this role, they promote the work and impact of the Center to expand public engagement in global food and agriculture, and assist in bringing the Council’s digital transformation to fruition.
Natalie Burdsall is pictured from the shoulders up, smiling into the camera, wearing a black blazer over a green button-down shirt.