Introduction into sustainable food systems.
Kids born in the next decade will get the opportunity to live well into the twenty second century, a thought so exciting and at the same time so daunting. This will be our grandkids! So I present to you a challenge; how can we leave this world a better place to them than how we found it? Sustainability in its most common terms is defined at leaving the environment in the same or better state for future societies than how we got it.
The cornerstone of civilizations has always been sustainable food systems, when societies refrain from producing food sustainable they ceased to exist. One of the best definitions of a sustainable food system, is that of Calgary: “A sustainable food system is a collaborative network that integrates several components in order to enhance a community’s environmental, economic and social well-being. It is build on principles that further the ecological, social and economic values of a community and region.” The characteristics of a sustainable food system will look as follow (based on Pothukuchi and Jufman, 1999):
- Is secure, and therefore reliable and resilient to change (including climate change, rising energy prices, etc) and accessible and affordable to all members of society:
- Is energy efficient’
- Is an economic generator for farmers, whole communities and regions’
- Is healthy and safe;
- Is environmentally beneficial or benign’
- Uses creative water reclamation and conservation strategies for agricultural irrigation;
- Balances food imports with local capacity’
- Adopts regionally appropriate agricultural practices and crop choices’
- Works towards organic farming;
- Contributes to both community and ecological health;
- Builds soil quality and farmland through the recycling of organic waste;
- Support multiple forms of urban as well as rural food production;
- Ensure that food processing facilities are available to farmers and processors;
- Is celebrated through community events, markets, restaurants, etc;
- Preserves biodiversity in agro-ecosystems as well as in the crop selection;
- Has a strong educational focus to create awareness of food and agricultural issues, and
- Is fairly traded by providing a fair wage to producers and processors locally and abroad.