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  • Writer's pictureNina Dar

Nina's Blog: A Thought for Food

Food is not just fuel for most of us, it is emotional, about enjoyment, lifestyle, sharing, culture, identity, and communication. It is a national pastime, food programs on TV every day, many books, blogs, and podcasts, it is fair to say it is a big part of our lives. An even bigger part if you are one of the many round the world who do not have enough food or do not have access to good nutritional food.

In high income countries food is wasted, in low-income countries food is damaged or destroyed before people can use it.

Every day too many men and women across the globe struggle to feed their children a nutritious meal. In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 690 million people still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Acute food insecurity affected 135 million people in 55 countries in 2019. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition.

Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges of our time. Not only do the consequences of not enough – or the wrong – food cause suffering and poor health, they also slow progress in many other areas of development like education and employment.

In 2015 the global community adopted the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development to improve people’s lives by 2030. Goal 2 – Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and is the priority of the World Food Programme. (United Nations World Food Programme)

In the UK, estimate that:

· 8.4 million people are struggling to afford to eat

· 3.6 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year

· Over 2 million tonnes of the food wasted is still edible – that is enough for 1.3 billon meals

If that wasn’t bad enough, the impact to environment is massive.

The visualization from “our world in data” here shows a summary of some of the main global impacts:

· Food accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions

· Half of the world’s habitable (ice- and desert-free) land is used for agriculture

· 70% of global freshwater withdrawals are used for agriculture

· 78% of global ocean and freshwater eutrophication (the pollution of waterways with nutrient-rich pollutants) is caused by agriculture

· 94% of mammal biomass (excluding humans) is livestock. This means livestock outweigh wild mammals by a factor of 15-to-1.4 Of the 28,000 species evaluated to be threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List, agriculture and aquaculture is listed as a threat for 24,000 of them.

Not surprising then, that our relationship with food has a significant impact on the planet.

I spoke to Bonita Gionet, who lives in Kincardine, Ontario Canada about her thoughts on what we can do. I met Bonita during The Economists Sustainability week in 2020, one of the benefits of these conferences going online.

Bonita is an engineer with a huge passion for food production and food. I asked her not just to talk about going vegan, something that I (a lover of meat) hope is not the only answer to this crisis. She did not but she did talk about why cutting down on meat is important and how we are kidding ourselves if we don’t understand why.

Or watch it here

Bonita shows how we can do small things to make a difference and compares all the choices to giving up a quarter pounder, it makes it clear what a difference meat reduction makes.

Obviously, the end action on that list STOP THROWING OUT FOOD, is a no brainer. We can all do that starting from today, it will save you money and save the planet.

Bonita and her friends are going to have Plant Jammer Dinner Parties one of the many apps now available to “Discover a good meal in even the saddest fridge” instead of buying food in especially for the dinner party use what you have in the fridge.

Solving this hugely complex issue of sustainable food is going to take some system thinking and some real working together.

“If we are to transform our food systems so that the maximum amount of people can eat nutritious food produced in the right ways, we need to work together, share ideas, pool resources and connect as part of a global food movement. Every voice counts”

Patrick Holden CEO of The Sustainable Food Trust

I could not find any data specifically for Warrington but there are sites with information and useful resources:

It feels that this is something we could do as a community, we are probably doing things that I just do not know about. If so, please share, this is a topic we could make a big difference with.

Nina Dar

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