As an expert in the field of food systems, I have spent years studying and analyzing the various factors that contribute to a sustainable food system. It is a complex and ever-evolving topic, with many different perspectives and challenges to consider. In this article, I will share my insights on the key attributes of a sustainable food system and why they are crucial for the future of our planet. One of the most pressing issues in the global food system is food insecurity. While there has been some progress in reducing overall food insecurity, the number of undernourished people worldwide is still higher than it was in 1970.
To address this challenge, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has established the Food Chain Crisis Management Framework (FCC). This framework aims to eliminate structural food insecurity by implementing economic changes that improve access to food for those living in poverty. In the 1990s, concerns about global warming brought a new dimension to the discussion around food production. The impact of food production on greenhouse gas emissions highlighted the interconnectedness of environmental issues on a global scale. In the United States, food security is defined as “access by all people at all times to sufficient food for an active and healthy life”.
This access is dependent on not only food production but also on industrial processing, distribution, and marketing systems that bring food to consumers, particularly those living in urban areas. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, which represents over 99% of the world's population, plays a crucial role in ensuring food safety. This international body sets standards, guidelines, and codes of practice for food safety based on scientific evidence and input from member countries. However, as agricultural trade has expanded, so has the risk of unsafe or unhealthy foods being produced in one country and affecting consumers in another. This highlights the need for a global approach to food safety and security. Over the years, experts from various disciplines have worked together to identify threats to the sustainability of the food system and develop an action plan to address them.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) defines a sustainable food system as one that provides healthy food for current needs while also maintaining healthy ecosystems for future generations with minimal negative impact on the environment. One of the key challenges in achieving a sustainable food system is the need for increased food production. It is estimated that we will need to increase food production by 2.1% to meet the growing demand. This increase must come from improved productivity of factors such as land, which is becoming increasingly scarce. A great example of how this can be achieved is in Detroit, where efforts are being made to transform the city into a sustainable food system.
This shows that primary food production is not the only source available to consumers in today's food systems.