The variety of ways that food can be acquired have been studied by a range of disciplines. This panel encourages contributions from various disciplines that seek to elucidate the various political dynamics of food access from an intra-household to national level.
Access to food is inherently political if we understand the wide variety of factors that structure food acquisition. At country level, the factors that determine the pattern of food exports, imports and aid transfers are fundamentally linked to issues of governance, corporate interests and geo-politics. Understanding these dynamics is complex as the reality is that food markets are interconnected with other markets in complex ways. The Food Price Crisis of 2007/8 highlighted not only the globalisation of many food markets and the consequent reduction in domestic sovereignty over food outcomes, but also the interconnected nature of food, biofuel and financial markets. The ability for an individual to access food depends on a complex inter-play of the factors that affect the household and their status within it. Food can be acquired through own production, purchase, gifting and transfers, again affected by policy, social hierarchies and the moral economy. Within this complexity certain patterns of inequality are evident. Gendered differences in food access are clear, and so are inequalities in the character of diets between rural and urban areas, high and low income groups.