Former Food Planet Prize Jury Member Rami Zurayk is a Professor of Ecosystem Management and the Director of the Food Security Program at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut. His current research focuses on the relationship between landscapes and livelihoods, food politics, and local food systems. He is a former member of the Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts of the World Commission on Food Security and Nutrition.
Q: What do you see as the most pressing issue(s) in reshaping the global food system?
Equity! The transformation of the global food system will require commitments at various levels: production, value chains, food environments, and consumption. It will also need to engage all actors, from states and governments to civil society. And the issue of equity cuts across all those levels and actors.
Improving food productivity, introducing new technologies, producing more food in a nature-friendly way, and adopting sustainable and healthy diets alone cannot bring about the desired food system transformation. For our food system does not only exploit nature, it’s also built on tremendous inequalities. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is making it abundantly clear. A sustainable transformation of the food system is one that conserves nature AND enhances social justice.
Q: What would you like to achieve by being a member of the Food Planet Prize Jury?
To help select truly innovative initiatives that have demonstrable and scalable positive outcomes. Projects that can help contribute to environmental and social sustainability, as well as global food system resilience.
Q: What unique experiences or knowledge do you bring to the jury?
A vast experience of the food systems of the Global South. As a natural and social scientist, my ability to evaluate initiatives based on their technical and social merits, as well as their potential contribution to the food system resilience, is also an asset for the Food Planet Prize Jury.