Since 2015, the number of food-insecure people has increased due to conflict, climate change, and downward trends in economic growth. To add perspective, Dr. Villarreal revealed that there are currently two billion people who are overweight, 672 million who are obese, and 820 million who are hungry and undernourished. Conflict has had a role in these figures, because there can be no peace without food security and no food security without peace.
In nearly every case, conflict is the cause of food insecurity. Since 2010, the pronounced increase in conflicts around the world has impacted all aspects of food insecurity. In fact, a majority of those suffering from food insecurity live in areas of conflict because the availability, accessibility, stability, and the utilization of food are all at risk.
Additionally, food insecurity has the potential to cause conflict. History shows that food can be used as a war weapon, causing civilians to be the group that suffers the most. For example, many governments have toppled or changed due to an inability to manage food shortages, and the high prices of food in 2007-8 caused many food riots.
Conflict may also arise because of competition over natural resources. In the case of water, for example, since agriculture uses up 70% of the usable water on Earth, many countries rely on other countries' water sources, which can spark conflict among nations. Additionally, in post-conflict situations, multiple claims on land can create struggles among communities.
Overall, the evidence presented by Dr. Villarreal demonstrates that there is a need to address food security and peace together to change current trends. FAO recognized this need, and in May 2016 it established the Nobel Peace Laureates Alliance, an advocacy group which aims to help in conflict prevention and promotes projects in post-conflict countries. Students of the M.A Food Studies and M.A. Peace Studies programs realized how important the topic was for their respective programs and considered how they could collaborate further in the future to contribute to improving food security and peace.

- Author: Amanda Wakefield