7 Principles for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System

We are passionate about promoting socially, economically and ecologically sustainable food systems that are beneficial to the health of individuals, communities and the environment. A healthy and sustainable food system emphasizes, strengthens and makes visible the interconnected and inseparable relationships between different sectors (from production to waste disposal) and the characteristics (that promote health, are sustainable, resilient, diverse, just, economically balanced and transparent) of the system. One of Frances Moore Lappe's solutions for positive change is to eat more vegetables and less meat. Since 70% of all agricultural land is used for livestock production, red meat and dairy products may be responsible for a large part of global warming.

Additionally, the use of fossil fuels to produce meat proteins can be 2.5 to 50 times higher than plant-based proteins. It can be difficult to expect people to completely stop eating meat for a long time, but reducing the amount of meat on our plates is a great place to start. For ideas on how to do this, check out our pages on low-meat alternatives and vegetarian meals for meat lovers. Or try participating in Meatless Monday. Lappé also points out that almost half of the food we could eat never reaches our plate.

It is lost during sowing, processing or other stages of the food chain. For example, a typical restaurant wastes between 40 and 50 percent of its food. This food waste ends up in landfills and is a net loss of energy used to grow, harvest, transport, sort and dispose of it. Packaging related to our food and beverage choices also plays an important role in the impact of global warming on the food system. From emissions related to container production to collection and transport of used containers to landfills, much of this waste is unnecessary.

Every year in the US alone, 30 to 40 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away - that's approximately 130 bottles per person!Greg Seaman founded Eartheasy in 2000 out of his concern for the environment and his desire to help others live more sustainably. As an editor, Greg combines his education in cities like New York, Boston and San Francisco with 31 years of living “off the grid” to provide us with a balanced perspective on sustainable living. In his free time he enjoys gardening, working on his house and building a wooden sailboat with hand tools.Organic farming is another way to promote sustainability in our food system. It combines modern science with respect for nature and biodiversity.

It ensures healthy agriculture and nutrition while protecting soil, water and climate without polluting the environment with chemical inputs or transgenic crops. It also puts people - consumers and producers - at the center of the issue instead of corporations. Lappé emphasizes the environmental and nutritional value inherent in consuming real foods - foods that are as close as possible to their natural state without undergoing energy-intensive processing or containing chemical-laden ingredients. With a grant from the Working Group on Food Systems & Public Health at W., national leaders from nursing, nutrition, planning and public health professions came together to create a shared platform for changing food policies across systems. Greenpeace's vision for food & agriculture outlines what organic farming means and how it can be summarized in seven general principles based on scientific evidence. Consumers can make a difference by finding ways to reduce waste during food selection & preparation as well as making use of food waste by learning how to compost. In Diet for a Hot Planet, Lappé exposes interests that resist change in the food production system as well as deceptive tactics used by companies to divert criticism.

Consumers can contribute to the organic food movement by supporting local farmers who are developing sustainable farming practices. This will help reduce transportation-related emissions, reduce pesticide & herbicide use, build healthy soil & stimulate local economies. Processed foods are designed for convenience & durability during transport as well as having a long shelf life & perfect appearance. Developing a personal relationship with food preparation is key to reducing climate-related impacts associated with food. Buying food in bulk will also save a lot of packaging waste compared to buying packaged foods in individual servings for “convenience”.

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