SustainAbility is at The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and will be sharing blog updates about some of the events throughout the week.
You can read the first blog of this series here.
Food system resilience: From agricultural practices to planetary health
Event: More fruitful food systems, September 12th
“What do you hope our global food system will look like in 100 years?” This is a question I asked the panel during the More fruitful food systems event I attended this week at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Part presentation, part Q&A with the panel, this event was a report-out on the outcomes of an Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI) Workshop on this subject that took place in Colorado in August, with speakers from the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, Campbell Soup Company, UC Cooperative Extension, and an independent scientist. The presentations and ensuing discussion essentially boiled down to the push and pull of this issue: Agriculture must become more resilient, efficient and sustainable in order to both adapt to and mitigate climate change; in turn, society must embrace actual behavior change toward more diverse and plant-forward diets.
Agriculture must become more resilient, efficient and sustainable in order to both adapt to and mitigate climate change; in turn, society must embrace actual behavior change toward more diverse and plant-forward diets.
Research shows that the majority of people know they should be eating more fruits and vegetables as a percentage of their diet, but there still exists a huge gap between that knowledge and people’s actions. Despite being told how many fruits and vegetables to eat (the US government has published guidelines on this since the early 1900’s), about 75-80% of people in the US eat less than the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Relating this back to the purpose of the Global Climate Action Summit, embracing more plant-forward diets is crucial to societal resilience from both a nutritional and climate change perspective. The resilience of our global food system depends on not only resource conservation and environmental health and stability, but also human behavior, socioeconomic, and sociocultural factors.
What was the response when I asked the panel what they hope our global food system would look like in 100 years? Well, they joked that they hope we have one. In seriousness, they responded that it’s a system with: improved resource footprint, greater uses of technology (everything from individualized diets based on consumer biometrics and genetics to field-level metrics collection on farms), and increased diversity of foods in our diets. Lastly, all of that would be achieved while preserving the important cultural facets of food and sharing meals.