International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

The Food and Human Security Index: Rethinking Food Security and ‘Growth’

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Volume 19, issue 2 (2012), pages 176-200

Author: Michael Carolan
Affiliation: Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, U.S.A.

ISSN: 0798-1759


The goals of this article are multiple: to challenge conventional understandings of food security; to show that economic growth per se cannot be relied upon to adequately feed the world; to convince critics of economic growth to pay closer attention to issues related to food in their assessments of ‘development’; and to up-end established beliefs around the so-called Global North–South divide; and confront the belief that the latter must follow in the food-prints of the former. The author introduces the Food and Human Security Index (FHSI) with these ends in mind. A FHSI score is calculated for 126 countries by looking at indicators of objective and subjective well-being, nutrition, ecological sustainability, food dependency, and food-system market concentration. The ranking of scores has some counter-intuitive placements, which ought to be reflected upon as new lines are drawn around food security in the twenty-first century.

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