Social Capital Contributions to Food Security: A Comprehensive Literature Review

Foods. 2020 Nov 12;9(11):1650. doi: 10.3390/foods9111650.


Social capital creates a synergy that benefits all members of a community. This review examines how social capital contributes to the food security of communities. A systematic literature review, based on Prisma, is designed to provide a state of the art review on capacity social capital in this realm. The output of this method led to finding 39 related articles. Studying these articles illustrates that social capital improves food security through two mechanisms of knowledge sharing and product sharing (i.e., sharing food products). It reveals that social capital through improving the food security pillars (i.e., food availability, food accessibility, food utilization, and food system stability) affects food security. In other words, the interaction among the community members results in sharing food products and information among community members, which facilitates food availability and access to food. There are many shreds of evidence in the literature that sharing food and food products among the community member decreases household food security and provides healthy nutrition to vulnerable families, and improves the food utilization pillar of food security. It is also disclosed that belonging to the social networks increases the community members' resilience and decreases the community's vulnerability that subsequently strengthens the stability of a food system. This study contributes to the common literature on food security and social capital by providing a conceptual model based on the literature. In addition to researchers, policymakers can use this study's findings to provide solutions to address food insecurity problems.

Keywords: big data; food security; hunger; knowledge sharing; literature review; social capital; social network; state of the art; survey; sustainable development.

Publication types

  • Review