What is food sustainability?
We are seeing the global population continue to rise dramatically, an estimation of 9.7 billion by 2050. With natural resources stretched to their limits and the environment being exponentially polluted, food sustainability has emerged as one of the most pressing concerns of our time.
Yet, we are confronted with the urgent need to address the environmental, social, and economic challenges surrounding our food systems to achieve food security and sustainability.
What is Food Sustainability? What are trends and innovations that are predicted to make strong impacts on this issue?
Table of Contents:
What is Food Sustainability?
According to the United Nations, food sustainability refers to the availability, accessibility, and utilization of food that is nutritious and safe. These food ought to be produced in an environmentally sustainable manner, and supports local food systems and economies.
The goal of food sustainability is to create a food system that is resilient and able to meet the needs of present and future generations without compromising the health of the planet. This includes:
- reduce food waste and loss
- promote sustainable agriculture and food production practices
- ensure equitable access to food
- improve nutrition and food security for all people.
Food sustainability success or not mostly depends on the food system. It is said that Transforming the Food System is essential for human well-being and a healthy planet. It means subsystems, including farming, waste management, and supply systems, which interact with trade, energy, and health systems all need transformation.
Global Concern in Food Sustainability
The World Food Programme reports that more than 1 in 9 people worldwide — 821 million people — go hungry every day.
Food for sustainability encompasses all aspects of the economy. It is the solution for the Zero Hunger goal among 17 SDGs by The United Nations (UN). By promoting sustainable agricultural practices, responsible resource management, and equitable food distribution, food sustainability can contribute significantly to ending hunger and achieving the Zero Hunger goal.
What is Food Sustainability – Sustainable Agriculture
What is Food Sustainability really about? In this part, we talk more about sustainable agriculture closely relevant to attaining food sustainability.
It includes crop rotation, organic farming, and reduced chemical pesticide usage. By reducing soil degradation, preserving biodiversity, and conserving water resources, sustainable agriculture helps ensure the health and resilience of ecosystems, which are vital for food production.
According to Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, global warming is the most threatening factor affecting global food sustainability. It directly affects sustainable agriculture. It disrupts traditional growing seasons, affects crop yields, and creates challenges for local farmers who rely on consistent weather patterns for their crops.
Meanwhile, increased demands for food force industrial farming corporations to overuse toxic pesticides, chemicals, machinery, and genetically modified organisms to take a leadership role in the agricultural sector. “It can cause environmental change, which in turn, may leave future generations unable to meet the needs of their demands,” Kirkpatrick said.
"More than one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions stem from agriculture—over half from animal farming."
The Quest for Sustainable Proteins
What is food sustainability that comes with a solution? Consuming rich protein foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and more is nothing wrong as they provide essential nutrients necessary for maintaining overall health.
However, it’s crucial to consider the broader environmental and health impacts associated with certain aspects of food production and consumption, especially regarding air pollution.
"If cows were classified as their own country, they would emit more greenhouse gases than any country except China."
Over the years, many scientists and food production companies have made efforts to produce nutritious and delicious foods that can impact less on natural resources and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
The food industry has seen significant innovations and trends in alternative proteins in recent years. Here are the most successful ones.
The development of lab-grown meat and seafood is a cutting-edge trend that aims to provide meat products without traditional livestock farming.
"San Francisco-based Eat Just is reportedly the world’s first company to have its lab-grown meat served in a restaurant."
Pea protein is derived from yellow split peas and is a plant-based protein source. It is an excellent choice for those with dietary restrictions, as it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and often free from common allergens.
Insect and mold protein
Edible insects are gaining attention as a sustainable and nutrient-rich food source that has the potential to address food insecurity and malnutrition. Crickets, Grasshoppers, Mealworms, and Mopane Worms, for example, were hoped to address unsustainable food.
"Alternative proteins are certainly still a small slice of the market for meat ($2.2 billion compared with approximately $1.7 trillion, respectively13). But innovation is promising."
Healthy Eating – A Recipe Against Pollution
Who is responsible for food sustainability? What’s Wrong with What We Eat? In this speech in the TED Talk program, Mark Bittman raises concerns about food waste which comes from the overconsumption of foods, meat, and sugary beverages.
How you eat and what you eat are the main factors that affect social welfare and the health of the planet. Every small action from us can help to promote food sustainability. So what can we do to lessen our environmental impact and protect resources for the next generations?
The site Ibedrola has suggested 8 healthy eating habits to help us stay healthy while maintaining sustainable food.
- Balance your diet with more greens and vegetables
- Reduce consumption of meat
- Priority natural and organic produces
- Don’t overbuy the amount of food you can eat
- Prefer pesticide-free produces
- Eat seasonal foods
- Respect businesses that promote CSR
- Support local products
What is food sustainability in your opinion? Are you ready to join millions of healthy eaters who are silently contributing to food sustainability? Eating healthy is not hard, it starts with your next meal, your next shopping trip, and your next choice.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is food sustainability?
The concept of food sustainability aims to protect the environment, make efficient use of natural resources, ensure that farmers can support themselves, and improve the quality of life on our planet.
What is food sustainability example?
Food sustainability often comes with organic produce, especially fruits and vegetables that generate extremely lower CO2 emission compared to meats. Some excellent sustainable foods are mushrooms, pulses, Mussels, Seaweed Cereals, and grains.
What are the 7 principles of food sustainability?
The Global Alliance for the Future of Food recognizes even principles: renewability, resilience, health, equity, diversity, inclusion, and interconnectedness.
Ref: Mckinsey |