International Institute for Environment and Development
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Sustainable diets special
This sustainable diets special edition IIED newsletter gives a round-up of our recent 'Healthy Diets Week' which coincided with World Food Day and launched the October 2019 issue of Environment & Urbanization, 'Getting food on the table in cities'.
Women selling fruit and vegetables at Lusaka City Market (Photo: Salim Dawood/Hivos)

Harnessing the potential of Zambia’s informal food sector

Like many developing countries, Zambia’s informal food market is growing, driven largely by rapid urbanisation. Selling a variety of products at relatively low prices, informal food vendors offer access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food. With low-income households purchasing more than 90% of their food in informal outlets, they play a crucial role in feeding Zambia’s urban poor.

But given the nature of informal markets, managing them has been a complex task for the government. Mangiza Chirwa of Hivos Zambia and Chenai Mukumba of CUTS International in Zambia discuss a new report that explores how harnessing the potential of the informal food sector and integrating it into urban policy planning could help Zambia meet SDG2 ‘zero hunger’ and improve the diets of people across all income groups.

Environment and Urbanization, October 2019
Environment & Urbanization

Getting food on the table in cities

Food policy debates have become increasingly sophisticated, reaching beyond a focus on food security and production to questions of quality, nutrition, affordability and inclusiveness. Yet this expansion of knowledge has largely not extended to urban areas.
The current issue of Environment & Urbanization attempts to fill this gap with papers from Vietnam, Uganda, Canada, Haiti, Chile, Cambodia, Nepal and Namibia.

Many of the papers are open access until 16 November, so download them now.

"Incorporating the urban dimension of food and nutrition insecurity requires attention to many aspects of urban poverty and inequality that affect diets, including income, housing and basic services."


–  Cecilia Tacoli, IIED principal researcher
Women in Jember, Indonesia, purchasing food from local vendors (Photo: Ian Rahmadi/Hivos)
Guest blog by Anne-Marie Mayer

Dietary indicators need overhauling, food diary study finds

A recent study assessing dietary quality in Indonesia showed there is an urgent need to develop and validate assessment methods that will address the triple burden of malnutrition in an integrated way.

Read the guest blog
Low-income communities in the Cambodian riverside town of Neak Loeung have to cope with regular flooding by living on raised platforms above the floodwaters (Photo: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights)
Blog by Cecilia Tacoli

Urban food insecurity and malnutrition are about more than just food

Food insecurity, malnutrition and obesity are increasingly becoming urban issues, affecting the health of millions of children and adults. This blog discusses the new issue of Environment & Urbanization, which looks at the wider context of urban food and nutrition security and the challenges for policymakers.
The canteen created by teacher Siti Latifah has children clamouring for more healthy food (Photo: Hivos)
Q&A with Siti Latifah

Encouraging the availability of healthy and diverse foods for students

Creating change often starts from the ground up. IIED talks to a teacher in East Java province, Indonesia, about how she is working with parents and pupils to learn about healthy food choices.

Read the interview.
Mathias Kigongo is the Chairperson of Buikwe District in Central Uganda. (Photo: Mark van Luyk/BrandOutLoud)
Q&A with Mathias Kigongo

Promoting healthy diets from the bottom up in Uganda

Mathias Kigongo is the Chairperson of Buikwe District in Central Uganda and a practicing farmer. He has been collaborating with Slow Food Uganda and Hivos under the Sustainable Diets for All programme to support the creation of Food Parliaments in Buikwe.

Read the interview.
Evelyne Flora Latabu is a diet champion from Bardege working with farmers to encourage them to diversify their production and consumption (Photo: Joseph Muhumuza)
Guest blog by Immaculate Yossa Daisy

The Ugandan diet: food voices and choices 

In a new photo blog, farmers, food providers and consumers from Gulu, Buikwe and Kabarole Districts give their personal views on the Ugandan diet and food supply.

See the discussion and photos.
Informal food markets in Zambia: perspectives from vendors, consumers and policymakers in Lusaka and Kitwe
Discussion paper, 32 pages

Informal food markets in Zambia: perspectives from vendors, consumers and policymakers in Lusaka and Kitwe

Informal markets play a critical role in providing affordable, accessible and diverse food for the urban poor. In Zambia, the informal sector is a major source of employment and livelihoods. This discussion paper provides evidence on the current status, perceptions, challenges and policy context of the informal food markets in Lusaka and Kitwe, with the aim of identifying key points for action and policy.

Download the paper.
The urbanization of food insecurity and malnutrition 
Briefing, 4 pages

The urbanization of food insecurity and malnutrition 

This Environment & Urbanization brief explores how urban poverty, defined across multiple dimensions, limits access to safe, nutritious and convenient food. It also examines the social aspects of urban food access, notably the gendered nature of food-related responsibilities.  

Download the briefing.
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