Achieving food security worldwide raises a number of issues with regard to the distribution of global resources. On the one hand, access to resources and ecospace is essential for individuals in order to survive; on the other hand, the allocation of the earth’s resources as well as risks and responsibilities are relevant for the global community. Yet, elements of access and allocation are various and complex, encompassing social, environmental, and economic dimensions in an increasingly fragmented global governance structure. Drawing on the multidisciplinary governance framework on access and allocation by Gupta and Lebel, this paper provides a synoptical review of the literature on food security of the past decade from the perspective of the earth system governance scholarship. This article addresses the question: what have we learnt about access and allocation issues in the area of food governance and its implications for food security? In addressing this question, this review examines how institutions, norms and power affect access to and allocation of resources. The paper draws out key trends and lessons from the literature to conclude that research needs to be sensitive to the complexity and intersectionality of food, the systemic challenges that it poses, and the broader political economy around it.