Food in Asia
FOCUS ASIA 15-16 April 2014
The exciting field of Food Studies embraced and examined the broad topic of food and its importance in various aspects of life. During this XXIst biannual Focus Asia symposium we sought to gain a broader understanding of the role of food in Asian societies by looking at food from different angles. Leading experts explained the multi-layered importance of food, focusing on food and identity, the economic aspects behind food, the environmental challenges in food production, and the waste complications resulting from food production and consumption. In the sub-field of food and identity, for example, the symposium sought to provide a broader understanding of the various roles food plays in different societies and to learn, through interdisciplinary exchange, about differences and similarities between societies. In its 2013 report, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that worldwide roughly one third of all food intended for human consumption is either lost or wasted. In Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, for example, as much as seventeen percent of crops are lost due to poor infrastructure. Furthermore, research has shown that with increasing incomes, food patterns change leading to, for example, increased consumption of meat and animal products. In India and China this has had major consequences for the environment and economy. Consequently, Focus Asia also had the aim of addressing the relationship between food and economy, looking at issues such as agricultural reform and sustainability.