Agency 4: Health and Nutrition
NOTE: The names and purposes of some agencies have been revised, but not all website content has been updated to reflect these latest changes. We are working to get the names and explanatory content updated, but in the meantime you may see some inconsistencies.
The fourth agency in the community is the Health, Food, and Nutrition Agency, which is part of the Human and Financial Capital Department. The agency functions in the District Bureau, which also includes the Life Plan/Education & Skills Training Agency and District Asset Leasing Agency.
The bureau is mainly focused on social empowerment, through life planning, health services, and nutrition. The agency’s primary aim is to facilitate participants to produce food that is nutritious enough to ensure a healthy populace. The agency also works to facilitate participants’ access to nutritious food, which is seen as a key factor in securing the community’s social and economic prosperity. To achieve this, the agency encourages food production that is focused more on natural nutritional quality than on industrial quantity.
The Nutrition Agency’s work is mainly performed through an online system that constantly encourages participants on healthy living, while also giving information to farmers on how to make their products more aligned with the community’s objectives. For participants’ nutritional needs, the agency’s system uses personal information and algorithmic analyses to provide detailed recommendations on what they should eat and how to get it.
The Nutritional Agency facilitates the formulation of policies that govern food production and consumption. In some instances, the departmental agents, also known as district presidents, interact directly with participants for additional advice not offered on the system, while also monitoring the effectiveness of the system in dealing with participants’ needs. As need be, the district presidents recommend what adjustments the agency president can make to the system to make it more responsive. The agency president also formulates strategies on how to achieve the agency’s objectives.
The Nutrition Agency’s duties are defined by its primary roles: ensuring that participants are able to produce and access nutritious and safe food, and informing them of the importance of this. The agency also coordinates with other agencies within the community to achieve this.
In developed economies such as the US, the UK, and Germany, agriculture employs less than 3% of the total labor force. Another 5% work in restaurants and food processing plants, meaning the total population involved in food production, value addition (processing), and nutrition is 8%. In these countries, food production is mechanized and prioritizes quantity. On the other hand, businesses that add value, including restaurants and food processors, are driven by profit and appealing to specific cultures and economic classes. These factors and considerations often negatively affect food quality (nutritional value and resource usage). Organically produced food is generally safer, more nutritious, and less destructive to the environment.
The Nutrition Agency aims to drive sustainable nutrition to the core of food production and consumption. The agency works with participants, especially those who supply the community’s food, as well as with other agencies, to enhance organic farming. Through its automated system, the agency performs the following functions:
- provides guidance and resources to stewards who produce community food
- Promote positive eating habits for participants
- Encourage taking up food production as a business among participants, including restaurants and other food services
- Food production standards’ formulation
Supporting food stewards
The Nutrition Agency assists stewards who work in the entire food-production and value-addition industry, from farmers to restaurant owners. This assistance is focused on farmers’ capacity to produce healthy foods. The agency, through its automated system, provides advice to farmers on the right farming techniques they can employ to ensure the food they produce meets the community’s standards. Through its automated system, the agency facilitates farmers’ access to funding and extension services. while also looking at how they can improve the quantity of produce without compromising the quality of produce.
To ensure the quality of food, particularly its nutritional value and safety, the Nutrition Agency formulates quality standards that cover the entire food chain, from farm to fork.
Promoting positive eating habits among participants
Through community platforms, the Nutrition Agency shares information with participants with the aim of encouraging them to consume healthful foods. The agency trains participants to appreciate the link between diet and health. The agency aims to improve participants’ access to healthful food. This includes influencing what the community produces as food, as well as identifying what it is unable to produce and therefore needs to import from the outside. Communities are self-sufficient as far as producing enough calories needed to sustain life, but they engage in outside trade to increase the variety of foods available for participants to enjoy. The agency discourages or in some instances bans, foods that it deems to be unhealthy, such as junk food.
Encourage food production as a stewardship
The agency encourages more participants to engage in nutrition, from farming to providing restaurant services. The community’s goal is having up to 35% of participants engage in the nutrition industry, whether full-time or part-time. The agency pursues this as a means of ensuring that nutrition does not focus on less-healthy processed foods and large-scale production, which often come at a cost to environmental conservation and food quality.
Food production standards
The Nutrition Agency formulates and updates the standards that guide food production within the community. The standards are premised on the assumption that consumers expect the food they buy to be of high quality and safe and healthy to consume, with good value for the money. The standards are designed to encourage industry self-regulation within the community over outright monitoring by the agency, thereby collectively driving the industry towards better quality.
The Nutrition Agency coordinates with other agencies to achieve its mandate. The coordination can be described in three dimensions: horizontal coordination (within the District Department), vertical coordination (within the Business Support Vertical), and diagonal coordination (with agencies beyond the department and vertical)
The Nutrition Agency works with Agency 6 – the Health Agency to enable participants to understand the link between a proper diet and health, as well as the risks associated with eating the wrong food. The Nutrition Agency coordinates with Agency 4 – the Life Planning Agency so that education on proper dietary practices can be embedded in the planning curriculum. As part of life planning for participants’ careers, the Life Planning Agency encourages those who have an interest or significant knowledge in agricultural food production and the restaurant business to carry out food production as part of their stewardship. The Nutrition Agency also advises the Life Planning Agency on how to best include proper diet as an integral part of success in the community, besides economic and social success.
The Nutrition Agency’s system coordinates with Agency 8 – the Investment Bank Agency’s system so that participants who are engaged in food production can access the funding required to finance their venture. The agency also coordinates with Agencies 2 and 20 – the Stewardship and Business Planning Agencies respectively to strengthen participants’ focus on food production and value addition, even when they also engage in other business endeavors. The Business Planning Agency works with the Nutrition Agency on how to best produce business plans for farmers, who can then get the required help from other agencies, including funding from the Investment Bank Agency and business advice from the Stewardship Agency. The Nutrition Agency liaises with Agency 23 – the Land Management Agency on how to best manage the community’s agricultural land.
The Nutrition Agency liaises with Agency 3- the Leasing Agency to help farmers get the equipment they need to carry out different forms of agriculture, as needed by the community. The Nutrition Agency also works with Agency 1- the Human Relations Agency to help realize the community’s objective of having around 35% of participants engage in food production, nutrition, and related functions. Agency 18 – the QHSE Agency liaises with the Nutrition Agency in enhancing the safety and environmental sustainability of farming methods, as well as the quality standards of food produced.
The Nutrition Agency forms an important part of the participants’ quest to succeed in the community. By having such a significant part of the population engage in nutrition, the community is able to offer food that is healthier and produced with closer attention to environmental conservation and safety. For participants, the community inculcates the attitude that the production of organic food is essential for the community’s survival, as well as for individual participants’ wellbeing.
 There is a strong positive effect between the ability of a people to feed themselves, and their social and economic prosperity. This has been a major concern of the world in recent years, with tangible results where populations are well fed – Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America are prime examples. The community is premised on this, among other ideals (Wang, X. and K. Taniguchi. Does better nutrition enhance economic growth? The economic cost of hunger. Conference. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2003).
 Organic food production has been found to be beneficial to human health. The excessive use of pesticides has negative effects on the environment and humans. At the same time, use of antibiotics in rearing animas has been found to contribute to the increase of drug-resistant bacteria, which again has negative health implications for humans. The community will prioritize quality over quantity, to have a food production effort which is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable (Mie, A. “Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review.” Environmental health : a global access science source 16.1 (2017): 111).
 The United States and other developed countries’ focus on quantity in food production has directly led to diminishing nutritional value in produced food. This, in turn, leads to overconsumption, as well as negative effects on soil, water, and, more importantly, human health (Sassenrath, G. “Technology, complexity and change in agricultural production systems.” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 23.4 (2008): 285–295.
 According to FAO, organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use, by decreasing the need for agrochemicals. This in turn reduces the amount of greenhouse gases agricultural produce emits into the atmosphere, further mitigating climate change fueled by these emissions (FAO. What are the environmental benefits of organic agriculture? Working Group on Organic Agriculture. 2019: FAO, 2019).
 In advanced and newly advanced economies, the effects of agricultural extension services is well documented, especially the positive effects it has on food production. Supporting farmers with input and information improves their decision making, performance, and their ability to fund their communities. In the community, the Nutrition Agency will provide these services online, including guiding farmers on where they can get any other services from the community required to improve capacity (Ijatuyi, E., A. Omotayo and L. Mabe. “Effect of extension service(s) and socio-economic characteristics on the livelihood of Nguni cattle development project beneficiaries in North West Province: a tobit-ols regression approach.” South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (2017): dx.doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2017/v45n1a427).
 As was the case with Sri Lanka, absolute self-sustenance in food production does not always translate into economic prosperity and environmental sustainable agricultural practices. The community will be interested in only engaging in activities which play to its strengths, and importing what makes economic sense to (Davis, K., J. Gephart and T. Gunda. “Sustaining food self-sufficiency of a nation: The case of Sri Lankan rice production and related water and fertilizer demands.” Ambio 45.3 (2016): 302–312).
Increased food production and technological advances have gradually pushed more people form agriculture. The result is that a majority of the world’s population suffers from malnutrition – undernutrition, lack of micronutrients, or obesity. The shift has also had a drastically damaging effect on the environment. In the community, more people being involved in agriculture will result in more variety, therefore better nutrition and value of food (FAO. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome: FAO, 2017).
 Food production standards aim to provide equal protection to the consumers. Additionally, they also seek to level the playing field for all those affected by the standards through equitable implementation and monitoring. All those involved are also well informed of the standards and the logic behind their application (Gardner, S. Consumers and food safety: A food industry perspective. Rome: FAO, 1993).