Sustainable food system

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A sustainable food system (SFS) is a type of food system that provides healthy food to people while also providing sustainable impacts on both environmental, economic and social systems that surround food. Sustainable food systems start with the development of sustainable agricultural practices, development of more sustainable food distribution systems, creation of sustainable diets and reduction of food waste throughout the system.[1] Sustainable food systems are central to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.[2][3]

The study of sustainable food applies systems theory and methods of sustainable design towards food systems. Sustainable food systems are an important component of addressing the causes of climate change, with some estimates suggesting food systems could be responsible for as much as 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions.[4]

Definition[edit]

There are many different definitions of a sustainable food system.

From a global perspective, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsl describes a sustainable food system as[1]

sustainable food system (SFS) is a food system that delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised. This means that:

The American Public Health Association (APHA) defines a sustainable food system as "one that provides healthy food to meet current food needs while maintaining healthy ecosystems that can also provide food for generations to come with minimal negative impact to the environment. A sustainable food system also encourages local production and distribution infrastructures and makes nutritious food available, accessible, and affordable to all. Further, it is humane and just, protecting farmers and other workers, consumers, and communities."[5]

Academic discipline[edit]

As a interdisciplinary field, the study of sustainable food systems has been growing in the last several decades. University programs focused on sustainable food systems include:

Problems with conventional food systems[edit]

Industrial agriculture cause environmental impacts, health problem associated with obesity in the rich world and hunger in the poor world.[4] This has generated a strong movement towards healthy, sustainable eating as a major component of overall ethical consumerism.[14][15]

Conventional food systems are largely based on the availability of inexpensive fossil fuels, which is necessary for mechanized agriculture, the manufacture or collection of chemical fertilizers, the processing of food products, and the packaging of the foods. Food processing began when the number of consumers started growing rapidly. The demand for cheap and efficient calories climbed resulting in nutrition decline.[16] Industrialized agriculture, due to its reliance on economies of scale to reduce production costs, often leads to the compromising of local, regional, or even global ecosystems through fertilizer runoff, nonpoint source pollution,[17] and greenhouse gas emission.

Also, the need to reduce production costs in an increasingly global market can cause production of foods to be moved to areas where economic costs (labor, taxes, etc.) are lower or environmental regulations are more lax, which are usually further from consumer markets. For example, the majority of salmon sold in the United States is raised off the coast of Chile, due in large part to less stringent Chilean standards regarding fish feed and regardless of the fact that salmon are not indigenous in Chilean coastal waters.[18] The globalization of food production can result in the loss of traditional food systems in less developed countries, and have negative impacts on the population health, ecosystems, and cultures in those countries.[19]

Sourcing sustainable food[edit]

At the global level the environmental impact of agribusiness is being addressed through sustainable agriculture and organic farming. At the local level there are various movements working towards local food production, more productive use of urban wastelands and domestic gardens including permaculture, urban horticulture, local food, slow food, sustainable gardening, and organic gardening.[20][21]

Sustainable seafood is seafood from either fished or farmed sources that can maintain or increase production in the future without jeopardizing the ecosystems from which it was acquired. The sustainable seafood movement has gained momentum as more people become aware about both overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods.

Local food systems[edit]

Food distribution[edit]

Food security, nutrition and diet[edit]

The environmental effects of different dietary patterns depend on many factors, including the proportion of animal and plant foods consumed and the method of food production.[22][23][24][25] At the same time, current and future food systems need to be provide sufficient nutrition for not only the current population, but future population growth in light of a world effected by changing climate in the face of global warming.[26]

Food waste[edit]

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food waste is responsible for 8 percent of global human-made greenhouse gas emissions.[27] The FAO concludes that nearly 30 percent of all available agricultural land in the world - 1.4 billion hectares - is used for produced but uneaten food. The global blue water footprint of food waste is 250 km3, that is the amount of water that flows annually through the Volga or 3 times Lake Geneva.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sustainable food systems Concept and framework (PDF) (Report). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  2. ^ "FOOD SUSTAINABILITY: KEY TO REACH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS". BCFN Foundation: Food and Nutrition Sustainability Index. 2018-10-01. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  3. ^ "Sustainable food systems" (PDF). Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
  4. ^ a b Garnett, Tara (February 2013). "Food sustainability: problems, perspectives and solutions". Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 72 (1): 29–39. doi:10.1017/S0029665112002947. ISSN 0029-6651.
  5. ^ "Toward a Healthy, Sustainable Food System (Policy Number: 200712)". American Public Health Association. 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  6. ^ "Sustainable Food Systems". Masters of the Environment. 2018-08-10. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  7. ^ rebecca (2019-05-23). "Sustainable Food Systems Certificate". Harvard Extension School. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  8. ^ "Sustainable Food Systems | University of Delaware". www.udel.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  9. ^ "Sustainable Food Systems | Nutrition & Dietetics | Mesa Community College". www.mesacc.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  10. ^ "Breakthrough Leaders for Sustainable Food Systems - University Of Vermont Continuing & Distance Education". learn.uvm.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  11. ^ "Food Systems". www.uvm.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  12. ^ "Sustainable Food Systems Degree Vermont | Sustainable Food Systems". Sterling College. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  13. ^ "Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems – Sustainable Food Systems Initiative". Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  14. ^ Mason, J. & Singer, P. (2006). The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. London: Random House. ISBN 1-57954-889-X
  15. ^ Rosane, Olivia (29 November 2018). "Our Food Systems Are Failing Us': 100+ Academies Call for Overhaul of Food Production". Ecowatch. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  16. ^ Nestle, Marion. (2013). Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health." Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520275966
  17. ^ (1993); Schnitkey, G.D., Miranda, M.; "The Impact of Pollution Controls on Livestock Crop producers", Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
  18. ^ (2001); Bjorndal, T., "The Competitiveness of the Chilean Salmon Aquaculture Industry", Foundation for Research in Economics and Business Administration, Bergen, Norway
  19. ^ (1996); Kuhnlein, H.V., Receveur, O.; Dietary Change and Traditional Food Systems of Indigenous Peoples; Centre for Nutrition and the Environment of Indigenous Peoples, and School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
  20. ^ "Earth Stats." Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Gardensofbabylon.com. Retrieved on: 7 July 2009.
  21. ^ Holmgren, D. (March 2005). "Retrofitting the suburbs for sustainability." Archived 15 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine CSIRO Sustainability Network. Retrieved on: 7 July 2009.
  22. ^ McMichael A.J.; Powles J.W.; Butler C.D.; Uauy R. (September 2007). "Food, Livestock Production, Energy, Climate change, and Health" (PDF). Lancet. 370 (9594): 1253–63. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61256-2. PMID 17868818. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2010. Retrieved on: 18 March 2009.
  23. ^ Baroni L.; Cenci L.; Tettamanti M.; Berati M. (February 2007). "Evaluating the Environmental Impact of Various Dietary Patterns Combined with Different Food Production Systems" (PDF). Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 61 (2): 279–86. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602522. PMID 17035955. Retrieved on: 18 March 2009.
  24. ^ Steinfeld H., Gerber P., Wassenaar T., Castel V., Rosales M., de Haan, C. (2006). "Livestock's Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options". Retrieved on: 18 March 2009.
  25. ^ Heitschmidt R.K.; Vermeire L.T.; Grings E.E. (2004). "Is Rangeland Agriculture Sustainable?". Journal of Animal Science. 82 (E–Suppl): E138–146. doi:10.2527/2004.8213_supplE138x (inactive 2019-10-23). PMID 15471792. Retrieved on: 18 March 2009.
  26. ^ "Sustainable food systems - UNSCN". www.unscn.org. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  27. ^ "Food wastage footprint & Climate Change" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization.
  28. ^ "Food wastage footprint, impacts on natural resources" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization.

Further reading[edit]