The concept of food security can be looked at through the principles of the Five A’s:
1. Availability: Sufficient food for all people at all times.
2. Accessibility: Physical and economic access to food for all at all times.
3. Adequacy: Access to food that is nutritious and safe, and produced in environmentally sustainable ways.
4. Acceptability: Access to culturally acceptable food, which is produced and obtained in ways that do not compromise people’s dignity, self-respect or human rights.
5. Agency: The policies and processes that enable the achievement of food security.
When one or more of these Five A’s are not met, then a person can fall into food insecurity.
"Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary and cultural needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life."- Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations (2003)
The main causes of food insecurity are unemployment, low income, and high food costs. Food available in rural and remote grocery stores is expensive, poor quality and often unavailable. There are also barriers to the consumption of food harvested from the local environment including lack of equipment, changing tastes (young people may not have a taste for traditional foods), loss of skills and preparation expenses. Contamination of the food supply and climate change are two other important considerations.