Nutrition and Food Systems

How might we ensure that everyone in San Diego has reliable access to nutritious and affordable food?


Diet contributes to many of the leading causes of mortality in the United States. Obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are all diseases that can be affected by dietary choices. Although underlying genetic risk-factors are also part of the equation, dietary choices are essential aspects that need to be considered. In addition to poor diets, many people in San Diego and across the nation do not have reliable access to food. In the San Diego region, alone, the San Diego Hunger Coalition’s data shows that 443,000 or one in seven people in San Diego Country experienced food insecurity during 2017. This lack of access to high-quality food sources needs to be addressed to improve health outcomes across the board.

Specific angles to explore

As populations continue to put stress on traditional farming approaches, factory farms attempt to scale farming to meet the need. Although effective, these farms can require significant amounts of pesticides and soil enhancing chemicals (such as nitrogen) to maintain monoculture farms. Shifts to new farming methods, localizing food production, reducing pesticide use, and rerouting food that is not going to be consumed are important areas in need of solutions!

Food insecurity: how can we provide support for food insecure people while improving access and utilization of nutritional foods?

Butterfly Highways: How might we protect pollinators and help pollinators move freely through the city to help gardens and plants thrive?

Locavore Movement: How might we localize food systems to provide enough food for densely populated cities?

Detection and resources: How might we better identify and support people with mental health issues?

Food Rerouting: How might we reroute food that is about to expire to people who need it?