Food is by and large one of the world’s largest industries, and over the past decade, the resources, land and energy needed to get food on our plates have become vast, and become a burden on the planet. Today we look at how the choices we make when it comes to sustenance impact not just our health, but the environment around us. CGTN’s Maria Galang with more.
In the living world, things grow, die, and nutrients are absorbed back into the soil. But in a modern, fast-paced world, more often we take, we make, and we dispose – creating mountains of waste, and food has a big part to play. Many environmental experts say our current approach to food production and consumption simply isn’t sustainable, and is causing widespread degradation of the environment.
One of the ways that researchers suggest individuals and companies create a more circular economy for our food, is by cutting supply chains and getting food directly from the source. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a U.K.-based non-profit, that means food grown or raised locally, in a regenerative way. Food that’s designed and marketed for health, with a minimum of waste.
4P Foods is one of the companies looking to build on that model. Customers can go online and order healthy local or regional produce and have it delivered directly to their homes.
“4P Foods is a food hub, which means that we buy foods from lots of small sustainable local farmers, and what it’s about is building a better equitable food system. In our offerings in January for example, you won’t get cucumbers, because they’re not around, but you will get a jar of locally made pickles, that are made from local cucumber and oranges,” said Tom McDougall, Founder of 4P Foods.
Community Supported Agriculture isn’t a new concept, but it’s grown in popularity and become a convenient way for many customers to have access to fresh produce, meat, dairy, and even snacks. The farm-to-home delivery system helps lessen food waste, by not allowing consumers to choose the more attractive produce over slightly disfigured items that are just as fresh and healthy. It also reduces the choices offered at a grocery store which proponents say, is not a bad thing.
“In the 1970s, the number of items at the grocery store was around 4,000 or so, now it’s 40-60,000. And it’s not because we have new vegetables it’s because we have a new row of cereal or chips or what have you,” added McDougall.
Each year, according to data cited by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 7.5 million hectares of forests are cut down to fuel the industrial food system, contributing significantly to environmental degradation.
“Regenerative agriculture is the one thing that we have a species that can actually sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, store it in the soil, build soil health, create more nutrient dense food and create a tool that provides better economic outcomes for the 500 million smallholder farmers on the planet and that might be the only big scalable tools we have to fight back against climate change in the next century,” said McDougall.
Sourcing fresh food locally, contributing not only to the community economy but to a more sustainable way of life. Farm to table has never looked finer.
Brian Lipinski on food waste and creating a circular economy for food
CGTN’s Maria Galang spoke with Brian Lipinski, lead researcher of the World Resources Institute’s Food Program about food waste practices and how to create a more circular economy for food.