Reform, Resistance, Resiliance


By Eric Accardi //

“Distinguished ministers, honorable delegates and observers, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen” announced Gerda Verburg, CFS chair, as the commencement of the forty first Plenary Session of the Committee on World Food Security began at the FAO here in Rome, Italy 2014. I was sitting in the middle of an international meeting, and became overwhelmed with the representation of power in the room. This is, after all, the essence of these meetings – power struggles and representation. Read more…


Lessons from Language: CFS41 in Hindsight

by Khristian Méndez //

Two weeks ago, Chairperson Gerda Verburg was wrapping up CFS41 in a room that had perhaps a third of the people who were there on opening day. An exhausting experience, this plenary session of the CFS planted several ideas in me about language. If you like numbers, ghosts, or interpretation, keep reading.

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The Hidden Value of Words

by Grace Burchard //

When I first walked into the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, I was unsure of what to expect. I had never been to a formal policy debate, so my nerves were high, my heart frantically pounding blood through my system to allow my brain to take in the surroundings. The first thing I noticed about the Food and Agriculture Organization building was the complexity of it. Each room had the name of a different country, and the hallways seemed like a maze, making footsteps frantic to find the room that you intended to be in.

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The CFS + Nutrition: A Sticky Situation

by Jace Viner //

The time had finally come, and before I knew it, I found myself tucked away on a seat on a massive jet plane. I’m squeezed in between the window and a director of food for some swanky hotel in Boston. We talk about why I’m going to Rome and his job, and the way the CFS and his company interact in certain aspects. Most of the conversation I was nodding my head in agreement, trying not to argue my point about how important supporting local food producers is, and he spent a lot of time explaining that Cisco makes it much easier to supply for a hotel full of guests. I was tired and nervous for my flight, so I didn’t spend much time entertaining that idea and quickly went back to reading. It reached the point in my flight where they were handing out strange dinners with everything wrapped in plastic, and though I knew it was too late to eat, I ate some pasta and sipped water out of a tiny plastic container – think about the way applesauce is packaged. Soon I was watching the lights of Ireland below create gold veins across the deep, green land, fell asleep as the sun rose on the flight into Italy, and boarded a train that sped me into a city where Italian words began to wash over my ears.

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Words and Power: Language on Human Rights

by Kristen Dunphey //

Being a first time observer of the Civil Society Mechanism and the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has been a mind boggling experience. After about twenty minutes in a CSM plenary I came to the conclusion that very little would be accomplished.  And I couldn’t imagine how anything could be accomplished when CSM was thrown into a pool with a high number of member states as well as the Private Sector Mechanism.

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