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Food Waste, Food Insecurity, and the Globalization of the Food Banks

June 25 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

MiFOOD webinar no. 19

Food banks—warehouses that collect and systematize surplus food—have expanded into one of the largest mechanisms to redistribute food waste. From their origins in North America in the 1960s, food banks provide food to communities in approximately one hundred countries on six continents. This presentation analyzes the development of food banks across the world and the limits of food charity to reduce food insecurity and food waste. Based on fifteen years of in-depth fieldwork on four continents, Daniel Warshawsky illustrates how and why food banks proliferate across the globe even though their impacts may be limited. He suggests that we need to reformulate the role of food banks. The mission of food banks needs to be more realistic, as food surpluses cannot reduce food insecurity on a significant scale. Food banks need to regain their institutional independence from the state and corporations and incorporate the knowledge and experiences of the food insecure in the daily operations of the food system. These collective changes can contribute to a future where food banks play a smaller but more targeted role in food systems.


Daniel N. Warshawsky, Wright State University

Daniel N. Warshawsky is Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences and International Studies at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, United States, where he teaches courses in geography and directs the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. His research examines food waste, food insecurity, and food banks in the world’s regions, with a primary focus on the cities of North America and Africa. In 2023, Daniel published a book with the University of Iowa Press called Food Waste, Food Insecurity, and the Globalization of Food Banks. Daniel earned his B.A. in geography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2003), M.S. in geography from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (2006), and Ph.D. in geography from the University of Southern California (2011). Before coming to Wright State, Daniel was Assistant Professor (Teaching) and Director of Graduate Studies in the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, where he taught courses in Geographic Information Science and Technology. In 2022, Daniel was named the Frederick A. White Distinguished Professor of Professional Service for his service to Wright State University and the broader Dayton community.

MiFOOD is hosting a series of webinars on various topics about migration and food security that highlight the progress of the project. These webinars include conceptual discussion, empirical findings and policy analysis. Through these webinars, we intend to build a community with various stakeholders for knowledge sharing, deepen the understanding of the complex intersections between migration and food security, and facilitate the discussion of effective policy interventions. Follow the MiFOOD Twitter (Moving on Empty), Like the MiFOOD Facebook page to be notified about upcoming webinars.

Food Waste, Food Insecurity, and the Globalization of the Food Banks

This webinar will take place on the Zoom platform. The link will be sent to registrants on June 24.

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Book cover with a photo of a forklift in a food warehouse

Photo credit: Preston Keres/University of Iowa Press


June 25
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Category:


Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON Canada
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