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Words often have more than one definition. The same word can mean different things to different people. Throughout Food 4 Thought you will come across words that you might not have heard before, so the list below will help you while you explore them.


Build your vocabulary, broaden your imagination and become a powerful communicator.




Active Citizen-Being an involved and participating member of society who takes responsibility in creating positive social change. An active citizen thinks critically about issues in society and learns about the effects that certain aspects of our lifestyles can have on others.


Advocacy – Action aimed at changing the policies or practices of decision-makers (governments, institutions and organisations) on issues of public interest through a variety of methods including lobbying, media work, popular campaigning, and changing public attitudes.


Agriculture – the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.




Blog – a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer




Campaign – work in an organized and active way towards a goal


Consumer (consume) – one that utilizes economic goods

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– to spend wastefully


Co-operative (co-op) – an enterprise or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its service


– a farm, business, or other organization which is owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits




Devastate – to reduce to chaos, disorder, or helplessness


Drought – a period of dryness especially when prolonged; specifically :one that causes extensive damage to crops or prevents their successful growth




Engage – Occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention).


– Cause someone to become involved in (a conversation or discussion).


Extension Services – Training, services and resources provided to farmers and rural households to help them improve agricultural practices. These services often emphasis increasing crop or livestock production, and can also include support for other related skills like marketing or nutrition.




Famine – Absolute inaccessibility of food to an entire population or sub-group of a population, potentially causing death in the short term. Not all food crises are famines: a famine can be declared only when certain measures of mortality, malnutrition and hunger are met.


The World Food Summit in 1996 created the definition as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.


Food Security – The World Health Organization goes on to describe food security as built on three pillars:


  1. Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.


  1. Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.


  1. Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.



Food System – all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items and the inputs needed and outputs generated at each of these steps. A food system operates within and is influenced by social, political, economic and environmental contexts. It also requires human resources that provide labour, research and education.








Identity – the fact of being who or what a person or thing is
– the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is


Import – to bring (as merchandise) into a place or country from another country


Infrastructure – the underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organisation)


– the system of public works of a country, state, or region;also : the resources (as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity










Land Grabs – Land acquisitions become land grabs when they do one or more of the following: violate human rights, particularly the equal rights of women;


    • do not follow international guidelines about allowing affected communities to give their free, prior and informed consent;


  • do not assess or consider social, economic and environmental impacts;


  • do not have transparent contracts with clear and binding commitments on employment and how benefits will be shared;


  • do not involve democratic planning, independent oversight and meaningful participation.







Mainstream – a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence


Man-made disaster – threats having an element of human intent, negligence, or error; or involving a failure of a human-made system. It results in huge loss of life and property


Media release – A press release, news release, media release, press statement or video release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, or television networks.


Multinational – of or relating to more than two nationalities


– of, relating to, or involving more than two nations


– having divisions in more than two countries










Phenomenon – a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question


– remarkable person or thing








Refugee – one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution




Small-scale producers – Small-scale family farmers, herders, fishers or forest foragers. Many grow food mainly for their own subsistence while others sell their produce at market (locally, nationally and sometimes internationally). Often they live in resource-poor conditions operating with few purchased inputs – like seeds and fertilisers – and with limited access to high-tech equipment. These are the farms in which women and the rural poor work and rely on for food.’
Subsidy – a sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help an industry or business keep the price of a commodity or service low


Sustainable – able to be maintained at a certain rate or level: sustainable economic growth


– conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources: our fundamental commitment to sustainable development




Target Audience – intended group for which something is performed or marketed; the specific group to which advertising is directed


Tenure – the conditions under which land or buildings are held or occupied.












Yield – In agricultural terms, crop yield is the amount of harvested product per unit of land. For example, if we say that a smallholder rice farmer has a high crop yield, that means that farmer can grow a comparatively large amount of rice on their small plot of land.