Why a newsletter on food systems?

Because they are in trouble. And if we don’t fix them, us humans will also be in trouble. Very soon.

The way we currently produce and consume food is not sustainable. It is environmentally destructive, inequitable and frankly, what we eat is killing us. And this is not a problem limited to a single country, region or group of people within a certain socio-economic strata. It is happening in rich and poor countries in all geographic regions of the world.

But this isn’t a newsletter about doom and gloom. I plan to highlight both problems and solutions and I want this to be as accessible to anyone who is interested in food and not just nerds like myself. So if you have ideas, interests, etc, please get in touch.

What are ‘food systems’?

Essentially it is an all-encompassing term that takes into account everything related to getting food on our tables, including the impacts on health, society and environment.

The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food has one of the best explanations. It says a food system “includes not only the basic elements of how we get our food from farm to fork, but also all of the processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population”.

This is a term you’ll be hearing a lot more in the coming years. If you want to take a further dive into the definitions and terms, look at this early draft from the Scientific Group of the Food Systems Summit.

Who am I?

I’m an award-winning multimedia journalist with more than 15 years experience. For nearly 13 years, I was a correspondent with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Thomson Reuters global news agency, reporting on humanitarian issues, particularly climate change and food security. I’ve worked from Myanmar (where I’m from), Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Italy, where I’m currently based.

I’m also a massive foodie. I love to cook as well as eat. I find joy in feeding friends and family and that’s a big reason why I’m passionate about covering all the different aspects of our food systems - who grows our food, how is it being produced and consumed, why people are still going hungry, how is agriculture contributing to climate change.

I also founded the award-winning bilingual news agency Myanmar Now in the run-up to the Myanmar elections in 2015. And I co-founded The Kite Tales, a unique storytelling and preservation project chronicling the lives and histories of ordinary people across Myanmar.