Learning from Failure: Postwar Efforts to Establish a World Food Reserve

In the wake of World War II, policymakers in nations such as the United States, along with the leaders, staff, and representatives to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), sought to understand and address the short- and long-term causes of food and agricultural problems. This article examines the ways that tensions between national sovereignty and international problem-solving prevented the creation of a world food reserve that could be used to address food crises. For almost a decade, multiple leaders of FAO and panels of experts endorsed the value of establishing some form of reserve that the world could rely on in times of food emergencies. Through three waves of activity in the years after World War II—beginning with the ambitious World Food Board, the more limited International Commodity Clearing House, and the multiple expert-generated plans, including the exceptionally flexible Plan of Three Circles—FAO policymakers and planners were unable to overcome the reluctance of member nations to give up national control over even a limited aspect of agriculture and food production. This article examines the proposals made by FAO between 1946 and 1953 to explore the challenges between state control over agricultural production and international efforts to establish a world food reserve—challenges that persist today. Ultimately, we see that in order to better address global food insecurity, we must understand this critical tension between national sovereignty and international action.

Challenges in Implementation of a Distributed and Localised Approach to Food Manufacturing

Existing large-scale centralised food production practices are often unsustainable due to requirements for significant transportation of both raw materials and finished products. These approaches also require substantial concentrated demands on energy and water. In addition, increasing amounts of food waste are being generated worldwide by manufacturers and retailers due to their dependence on unreliable demand forecasting methods as part of centralised production practices. Regulatory pressures and policy requirements as well as consumer demands for increased variety, improved traceability, and healthy diets are forcing manufacturers and retailers to reconsider their ingredient sourcing, production, storage, and distribution strategies. “Distributed and Localised Manufacturing” (DLM) aims to provide the food sector with capabilities to improve the efficiency of production systems, to optimise logistics operations across supply chains, and to extend the shelf life of products. However, to achieve these potential benefits, the implementation of DLM will involve many challenges that need to be carefully considered and addressed. This article explores these challenges and describes four specific implementation models to aid with the development of innovative and appropriate DLM structures for various food products.

“Frenchified”: French Food and Salon Culture in Jefferson’s White House

Thomas Jefferson’s love of food was more than merely a hobby, and in fact, played a vital role in his political career. This study analyzes the food and wine he served, the people he hosted, and the size of his dinner parties and argues that the food he served directly correlated to the success of his political agenda. His distinct salon style of entertaining developed from his love of French culture and his desire to establish Washington as a capital city equal to any in Europe. Using a methodological approach centered on food politics, this article specifically addresses how dining and entertaining were utilized as a means to enact political agendas.