Health & Resilience

Food systems affect human health through a variety of pathways. Unhealthy diets are the most obvious link, while food insecurity leads to debilitating health impacts. Environmental contamination from agriculture also has huge human health implications, including pollution of drinking water with nitrates and endocrine disrupting chemicals, nitrogen-based air pollution, and the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Meanwhile, farmers, farm-workers, and food-workers face a range of severe occupational health risks. The COVID-19 crisis has further highlighted the role of industrial agriculture in disease spillover, as well as underlining the need to build food systems that are resilient to the disease and climate crises of the future.


All publications

The Added Value(s) of Agroecology: Unlocking the potential for transition in West Africa

West Africa has all the ingredients to become the epicenter of the global agroecology movement, and one of the frontrunners in transition to sustainable and equitable food systems. Through a three-year participatory research process, IPES-Food identified eight key obstacles to agroecology in West Africa, but also four leverage points where sustained action could accelerate the agroecological transition in the region.

Read the Full Report ( EN | FR ) 
Read the Executive Summary ( EN | FR ) 

COVID-19 and the Crisis in Food Systems

What are the impacts of COVID-19 on food systems? Why are we in the midst of this perfect storm? What can be done immediately to avert more damage to society and the economy? And what are the structural changes we now need to protect people and planet?

Read the Special Report ( EN | FR | ES )

October 2017 | Health & Resilience

Unravelling the Food–Health Nexus: Addressing practices, political economy, and power relations to build healthier food systems

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the many interconnected ways in which food systems affect human health, why these negative impacts are systematically reproduced, and why certain problems are not politically prioritized. 

Read the full report ( EN | FR | ES )
Read the executive summary ( EN | FR | ES )

January 2018

Industry-sponsored science is clouding the picture of how food systems impact health

In January 2018, IPES-Food contributed to the special edition magazine of the Food Ethics Council. The chapter considers how the current structuring, framing, and financing of scientific research bears on our understanding of the health risks generated by food and farming systems. 

Read the chapter (EN)

January 2018

Advancing equity, equality and non-discrimination in food systems: Pathways to reform

UNSCN News 43

In a chapter for UNSCN News entitled "Framing the nutrition problem: The political-economic obstacles to healthier diets", IPES-Food Panel Member Cecilia Rocha examines issues holding back our understanding of health impacts and our ability to address them.

Read the chapter (EN)


All media
September 2020

Global goals: Is there still time to save the world?


June 2020

Coronavirus response: Hacking emergency food supply chains

AL Jazeera

May 2020

Olivier De Schutter : "61% des travailleurs dans le monde n'ont aucune protection sociale"


May 2020

Tribune | Agriculture et système alimentaire en Afrique dans un contexte post-Covid-19


May 2020

Covid-19: Global food supply on a razor's edge

France 24

April 2020

Empty Grocery Shelves and Rotting, Wasted Vegetables: Two Sides of a Supply Chain Problem

InsideClimate News

March 2020

Op-ed by IPES-Food's Olivier De Schutter and Olivia Yambi


January 2019

L'Union européenne reste dans une approche low cost de l'alimentaire

L'Echo | Interview Olivier De Schutter

December 2018

Gutes und hochwertiges Essen für alle

Wiener Zeitung | Olivier De Schutter & Thomas Waitz

May 2018

Rebooting food: Finding new ways to feed the future

Reuters | Thin Lei Win

December 2017

A healthier debate is the key to healthier food systems

Food Tank | Interview with Nick Jacobs

November 2017

L’alimentation «low cost» coûte très cher !

La Libre | Olivier De Schutter

October 2017

Expert panel identifies unacceptable toll of food and farming systems on human health

Ecologist | Georgina Downs

October 2017

Obesity linked to agricultural policy, new studies say

EU Observer | David Burrows

August 2017

Agroecology as a means to transforming food systems for health, nutrition and equity in a climate changing world

Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition

July 2017

Promoting food security and health in a climate changing world

Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition

February 2017

Time to put a Common Food Policy on the menu

Politico | Olivier De Schutter & Carlo Petrini

January 2017

PODCAST | Episode 210 'The Promise of Agroecology'

'What doesn't kill you' | Molly Anderson

October 2018

Oxford Real Farming Conference opening plenary

Oxford Real Farming Conference opening plenary

June 2017

The Health Impacts of food systems

Cecilia Rocha at EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2017