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Food and Beverages | Tuesday, May 03, 2022

For several decades, the concept of food sustainability has been the subject of research, and it has increasingly engaged public attention in recent years.

FREMONT, CA: Food sustainability refers to producing food in a way that protects the environment, makes efficient use of natural resources, ensures farmers' self-sufficiency, and improves the quality of life in food-producing communities, including both animals and people. This concept is at the heart of a movement to address the reality that more resources are invested in our global food system than extracted.

Sustaining food sustainability is critical for various reasons, many of which are interconnected. However, the fundamental reason is that it affects humanity's ability to produce enough food for everyone on the earth, both now and in the future. The food industry is already incapable of feeding the world's population (9 percent of the world's population lacks access to sufficient food). And, with the world's population predicted to reach ten billion by 2050, food production will need to expand by 60 to 70 percent to fulfill this increased demand.

To achieve this expansion, hundreds of millions of hectares of forest would need to be converted to farming, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. Furthermore, agriculture today produces more greenhouse gases than the whole transportation sector, including all modes of road, air, and sea transport. Expanding this industry by 60 percent to 70 percent would have a detrimental effect on the environment. It may even be impossible. Food production presently consumes 70 percent of the world's freshwater. Increasing that consumption to meet the increased demand for food will place additional strain on already restricted resources.

Food sustainability is about feeding the world today and in the future by reforming its agriculture system, not by expanding it. This attempt will confront enormous obstacles, as it is a multidimensional problem with numerous contributing variables.

Along with food security (the ability to feed the current population without jeopardizing future generations' ability to provide for themselves), other critical variables include nutrition and health, social justice, natural resource management, and animal welfare. Farms require healthy soil to produce healthy produce, and our approach to food waste (which is a big problem) must also become more sustainable. Additionally, sustainability entails ensuring that food systems benefit all people, not just those in prosperous countries or urban areas. Developing a system that allows farmers to exist above poverty is a critical component.

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