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Using Twitter to Surface Food Security Solutions

Leveraging social media and digital technology to hear from a wide array of voices is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s approach to enriching its understanding of the dynamic challenges facing the poor and vulnerable. One such challenge is food insecurity, or the burdens of hunger and malnutrition.

Policies and programs to address food insecurity have historically focused on rural communities. With half of the world living in cities and rapid rural-to-urban migration throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, we wanted to understand this challenge and its drivers specifically in the urban setting. Together with our partners at +SocialGood, we took a Pulse on the issue through a Twitter Chat. We were impressed with the stories and wealth of ideas shared by nearly 400 contributors reaching 1.2M users over the course of two conversations.

Here are some of the highlights:

Understanding Urban Food Insecurity

Participants emphasized that urban food insecurity varies widely—even within low-income communities—based on other dimensions of marginalization, such as gender or HIV status. Others noted that loss and waste along supply chains and low purchasing power contributes and emphasized the importance of food quality and nutrition, not just consuming enough calories.


Approaches to Fighting Urban Food Insecurity

We heard a lot about alternative supply chains, urban agriculture, the role of street vendors, and waste reduction approaches. Others flagged more specific models, such as mobile food pantries.



The coolest part was watching participants connect with each other and leverage the discussion to mobilize and build their own networks around hunger, food systems, gender, and other issues.


Check out the full conversation below and share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter using#RFfood.

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