Sustainable food security entails producing and consuming food in a manner that conserves the regenerative capacity of the natural resource base and maintains biodiversity for present and future generations. The feasibility of any alternative to present agricultural production systems must, therefore, include considerations which are related to sustainability.
Food security offers a complex problematique in the sense that it is – besides a well functioning food distribution to all inhabitants – composed of both nationally produced and imported food.
The FAO/Netherlands Conference on Agriculture and the Environment in 1991 stated: "In evolving towards more sustainable production systems, agriculture and rural development efforts should ensure the attainment of three essential goals: food security by ensuring an appropriate and sustainable balance between self-sufficiency and self-reliance; employment and income generation in rural areas, particularly to eradicate poverty; and natural resource conservation and environmental protection.".
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends agricultural policy review, planning and integrated programmes in the light of the multifunctional aspect of agriculture, particularly with regard to food security and sustainable development.