Our food future looks grim if we continue to produce food that is unhealthy and unsustainable.

We are producing fewer varieties that are no longer nutritionally dense in a way that undermines our environment, health and climate.  Irakli Loladze research found that “Across nearly 130 varieties of plants and more than 15,000 samples collected from experiments over the past three decades, the overall concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron had dropped by 8 percent on average.  Modern food is killing us.  It’s time rethink what our food future looks like.

Scary Statistics

According to WHO:

  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these over 600 million adults were obese. It is not uncommon to find under-nutrition and obesity co-existing within the same country, the same community and the same household.
  • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 40 million people each year, equivalent to 70% of all deaths globally. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.7 million people annually, followed by cancers (8.8 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).  NCD’s are a direct result of lifestyle and environment.

According to FAO:

  • Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
  • A low percentage of all food wastage is composted: much of it ends up in landfills and represents a large part of municipal solid waste. Methane emissions from landfills represents one of the largest sources of Greenhouse Gas emissions from the waste sector.
  • The total volume of water used each year to produce food that is lost or wasted (250km3) is equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River, or three times the volume of Lake Geneva.

We have a simultaneous epidemic happening – millions of people are eating themselves to death, while millions are starving to death.  All this is happening while we waste 1/3 of the food we produce.  Our health depends on a better food future.

Our Food Future

I recently watched a TEDx talk by Stephen Sherwood.  He spoke about the 3 R’s:

  • Responsibility – being that shining example
  • Relationships – establishing and building networks around a common cause
  • Reward – Finding success in such a way that you become an inspiration

So how do we move to a more sustainable food future?  It must start with you.  With you taking personal responsibility for how you are contributing to both the problem.  Be a wiser consumer.  Think about your purchase decisions; they DO have consequences for you and your environment.

Connect with other like-minded people.  For me, Spare Harvest allows me to plug into a network of other like-minded people.  Collectively we are making a difference by sourcing what we need from each other and sharing what we don’t need with each other.

We don’t need to do big changes, start with little changes that you can sustain.  Then encourage your family and friends to make little changes they can sustain.  It will be these little changes we all make that collectively will make a massive difference to our food future.  We love the 6R’s: Reflect .. Refuse .. Reduce .. Reuse .. Repurpose .. Recycle.  Maybe you could love them too in that order.

Conclusion

We have a massive food sustainability problem that is not beyond fixing yet.  But it needs every single one of us to be part of the solution.  Your behaviour has a consequence, and when we take personal responsibility for our behaviours, we are on the road to changing them.  Take some time to reflect on what you are currently doing that is contributing to the problem.  It will be this awareness that will help you become part of the solution.

You and I are our Food Future.

As Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change that you want to see in the world”