Sustainable Food Practices
I feel that sustainable food practices is a nebulous term (how do you operationalize “sustainability”?). Yet the umbrella term "sustainability' will be key to food consumption for Generation Z and their future children. We see this in many areas.
Here are some key trends that I have found with respect to Gen Z food consiousness:
- Demand for transparency in food production
- Ethical brand consciousness
- Presicion agriculture, robotic agriculture, hydroponics, permaculture: topics that are growing momentum among end-users and future farmers
- Health and wholesomeness
- Growing interest in ending food waste
- Urban agriculture. Growing your own food is chique
- Vegetarianism and veganism on the rise. Established meat companies accepting this trend by expanding the portfolio to include meat imitations and redefining themselves as "protein companies". Growing interest in in vitro/ cultured meats.
- Alternative protein sources. Insects?
- Redefinitions of genetic modification. E.g. CRISPR technologies
Completely beneficial and frankly necessary if we are going to sustain life on this planet.
For the past 100 years we have destroyed our farmlands in dramatic fashion through climate change, over reliance on chemical agriculture and far too much emphasis on animal agriculture. We need to get back to organic farming, the way it was done for thousands of years excluding the last 100 years. We also need to dramatically shift our diets more toward plant based diets. There is absolutely no reason we should be focusing 70% of US farmland to grow feed for animals.
I wrote an article on this topic called How the US Destroyed its Food System (and How Regenerative Agriculture can Save It).
By defintion sustainability is always about considering th eneed of future generations. So for a food practice to be considered sustainable it must net out to have a benefit to future generations. For agrilcuture, this is more straight forward than the rest of the food system. The rest of the food system has a number of structural problems that can undermine the effectiveness of a sustainable food practice. Food delivered through Wal-Mart's supply chains may net out better for GHG emissions but may create local food delivery systems that are more fragile, especially if the local Wal-Mart closes.
As a sustainability practitioner for a health system and lead for the purchasing cooperative we invested in with eight other health systems - we believe there are opportunities to feed ourselves and save the planet through regenerative agriculture as well as practicing animal husbandry that is more environmentally friendly and limits the use of therapeautic antibiotics.
Theoretically it makes sense. Tactically we've begun to identify third party auditing bodies and certifications for products we seek to source and serve whose phlosophies align to ours.
We're also seeking to source more local food driving regional economic development, reduced carbon emissions due to food transport, and supporting transparency of the food supply chain, among other benefits.
What’s your definition of sustainable?
If you’re asking about agricultural practices, it’s about the responsible use of resources and practices to insure the immediate land and its environs are not adversely affected and preferably are improved while supporting an ever growing population at ever lower total costs. That does not necessarily imply organic....an important distinction.
If food production in total is considered, the only add is the global environment and society. It’s really just common sense...again not necessarily organic at all.
It is a broad question but definitely yes, sustainable food practices will be beneficial for future generations. These practices avoid the use of processed food, chemicals and other harmful ingredients. Usually we can find this food visiting farms and farmers markets or buying local food at the grocery during the right season. I think we are starting coming back a bit from junk chemical food to the sustainable one.
Anything done to improve planet Earth by increasing recycling and sustainability is a good thing. Technology is a very helpful tool that should be used for making the world a better place. Better farming techniques, using GMO's and equipment made it possible to grow more food to feed more people. It also allowed to grow food in areas that were in more difficult to grow areas. Everyone needs to increase their knowledge about what items that can and can't be recycled. This education should start from the recycling companies themselves and be promoted by all levels of government. These programs will help the educated consumer make a better choice as to what product to buy and use that can and will be more Eco friendly. Farming should increase the use of organics and use less of or eliminate the use of pesticides and other chemicals harmful to people, pets, animals, marine life, drinking water sources.
The single biggest recycling challenge is collection and separation. Overall, except for truly cheap applications with low performing romance thresholds, industry simply cannot accept the costs of collection and separation. Worked here a long long time. It’s just very infeasable in a total scale.