Sustainability

Food Sustainability: – Just a Trend or a Lot More Than That

Every time one walk through the lanes of a supermarket buying food, we only search for the product with better taste, price and convenience. But, have you ever wondered that “Is your food sustainable or not”.  

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE FOOD?

Sustainable food is not only about how you can cultivate food and its environmental impact; it’s an amalgamation of factors from production to the consumption of food. Major goal of sustainable food is providing people some healthy and nutritious food keeping sustainability in the environment, economic and social well-being. 

According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation), “A sustainable food system is a food system that delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised.”

PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

Food Sustainability

Sustainable Food System 

There are 5 major principles of Sustainable Food and Agriculture:- 

  1. Usage of Resource:- Resource usage for agriculture should be done efficiently with minimum input and maximum output.
  2. Conservation and protection of Natural Resources:- Sustainable food directly aims at conserving and enhancing the natural resources in order to save the environment.
  3. Social Equity and Human Health: – Sustainable food should improve the health and livelihood of the people. Food with appropriate nutritional value should be available for all is one of the major followed in food sustainability.
  4. Resilience: – Sufficient supply of food during tough times or any natural calamity.
  5. Effective and fair governance in order to provide equal economic opportunities to all the producers by keeping environmental, legal, social factors in mind.

FACTORS AFFECTING FOOD SUSTAINABILITY

Different researchers have different opinions when it comes to food sustainability. Most of the concepts given by food sustainability cover following factors:-

  1. Farming Practices: – Sustainable agriculture or sustainable farming practices majorly involve increased level of output with higher environmental and economic benefits.

Food cultivated under sustainable agriculture should be highly diverse and should use crop rotation in order to maintain soil fertility. Genetically modified crops and use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides are generally avoided in sustainable agriculture. Moreover, animal welfare is also a major factor which is taken care of while following sustainable farming practices.

  1. Environmental Impact:- Sustainable food aims at minimising the natural resources during production, packaging and transportation as well. During sustainable agricultural practices, conservation of water, air and flora-fauna is taken into consideration by using minimum natural resources in the best possible way while increasing the production.
  2. Public Welfare:- Sustainable food are mostly grown without using artificial pesticides and fertilizers. Enhanced nutritional value, consumption of plant based food, and resilience are some factors which makes the food sustainable. Availability of food for all and reduction of food waste is also a food sustainability practice. 
  3. Economic Vitality and Good employment:- Not only the process is taken into consideration while choosing sustainable food, but the hygienic and fair working conditions with economic security of the workers or farmers are also very important for sustainable production of food.

CHOOSING SUSTAINABLE FOOD?

Now we know what sustainable food is and which factors are taken care of while producing sustainable food. So as a consumer, following are some ways chosen to inculcate sustainable food and eating habits:- 

  1. Food diversity: – Eat different types of food in order to consume all the nutrients in the proper amount. Sticking to single type of food products generally limit the nutrients. Hence, not providing a balanced diet to the body.
  2. Moving towards plant based food:- Reducing the consumption of meat, fish or animal products and increasing the consumption of plant based food is an important step for sustainable eating.
  3. Choose more organic food: – Organic foods are free from harmful chemicals like artificial fertilizers and pesticides making the food safer for consumption.
  4. Eat more whole food:- Consuming more whole and fresh food as compared to processed food increases your nutrition consumption
  5. Avoid food wastage:- As per a study, each household wastes around 30-35% of the food they buy which not only is hazardous for the environment but is also a reason for non-availability of food for many. So, food wastage should have restrains.

It is really important and also the need of the hour to enhance sustainability in food and agricultural practices. So, take a step forward towards changing this world into a better place by instilling SUSTAINABILITY.

Written By,

Kadambini Sharma

Student, NIFTEM

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