Our Role in Food Systems

Food systems are complex, interconnected webs of actions that impact everyone. They need intentional solutions to transform them for the future. Advancing community-led food banks is key to these solutions.
circle bowl of spices volunteer

What is a food system?

Food systems—whether at the local, national, or global level—include every person and process involved in producing and distributing the food we eat.

Our current food system is broken.

In a sustainable food system, all people would have reliable and affordable access to food, all food produced would be eaten and not wasted, and the food supply chain would not harm the planet. But currently:

735 million people

face hunger1

1/3 of all food

produced is lost or wasted, which intensifies climate change.2
What is food loss and waste?
Food loss refers to food or commodities lost post-harvest but before packaging or retail; for example, at harvest, in storage, or during transport. Food waste is food lost at the retail or consumer levels; for example, at grocery stores, restaurants, and in consumers’ homes.
1State of Food Insecurity 2023, United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization
2Food Waste Index Report 2021, United Nations Environment Program

Food banks are part of the solution—here’s how:

Locally led food banks are key actors in building sustainable food systems. Food banks recover safe surplus food from all parts of the food system and connect it with community organizations and people facing hunger.

Surplus occurs at every
stage of the food system.

Food banks recover surplus food,

What is a food bank?

then redistribute it to community service
organizations and directly to people facing hunger.

Food banks are critical to sustainable food systems because they:

Promote Food Security
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Reduce Food Loss and Waste
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Advance the SDGs
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Build Resilient Communities
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Address Child Hunger
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Enhance Nutrition
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Respond to Crises & Emergencies
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See Our Community-Led Approach