Updated: Aug 23
Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) refers to the way food is made and the impact that it has on an entire system or network including the environment, the community, the economy, and our bodies. Lately, sustainable food companies have grown exponentially. The category has caught the attention of groups and individual investors looking to monitor, produce, consult, broker, and design products, marketing strategies, and packaging, growing a once niche concern, into a collective interest.
Climate change is on the minds of the majority of consumers. Sustainable food is becoming an imperative for everyone as people shop in line with their values. Manufacturing food, no matter how fortified, will never be the same as what nature can provide us and we need enough for everyone. Getting access to real food is increasingly becoming a luxury for too many people and the resulting health risks that accompany a poor diet become a liability.
Agri-hoods & skyscraper farms
Innovative and even sleek agricultural systems from neighborhood gardens, to agri-hoods, to skyscraper farms have been on the rise, looking to circumvent some of these social issues, and the uncertainties that accompany traditional farming.
Farming has becoming an increasingly risky endeavor with extreme climate change already wiping out entire crops and for some farmers, the losses have become too great.
There has been a chilling rise in deaths of farmers by suicide in the US. The statistic reflects the grave limit at which man and nature are being pushed.
Social equality and sustainable food.
Community is another aspect that is affected by a sustainable food system. Gender and racial equality in farming is important for an economically stable food system and affects where and how food is distributed. In the United States for example, food deserts are populated areas that have limited or no access to fresh and healthy food. According to dosomething.org, “about 23.5 million American people live in food deserts” often found low-income neighborhoods and areas where education has very little funding.
“about 23.5 million American people live in food deserts”
Cooks, chefs, diners, experts and enthusiasts are all finding ways to integrate sustainable food practices and to do their part for the environment. Sustainable food recipes may suggest using foods that are low-impact, meaning that from seed to sod, they leave little to no trace from waste. Meat tends to have a higher impact on the environment than vegetables for instance, so there are a lot of vegetarian recipes that count as sustainable food.
A sustainable mindset.
Chefs looking to create sustainable experiences have looked to “local” for a while, trying to source nearby products and promote local producers whenever possible. And their sustainable mindset hasn’t just stopped at the plate. Many chefs and food industry professionals are connecting more with their communities. In person and online education is in abundance for whoever wants to find it. Chefs and producers are sharing their knowledge with their audiences, teaching best practices for everything from cooking, to growing your own food, to food waste handling, to food preservation.
Inclusivity leads to solutions.
Despite the information available, a massive drop in eating out and a rise of eating in has presented a potential pitfall for food sustainability. A new era of UberEats and Deliveroo has brought with it a sea of food packaging and waste. Fortunately, many entrepreneurs and companies have moved into the sustainability food space and are proposing innovative products, including biodegradable packaging and other sustainable solutions to accommodate our rapidly changing lifestyle.
As general awareness grows and gender and racial inequality are addressed in our food system, so will our evolution to a more sustainable food culture. It begins with an inclusive mindset which in turn brings with it, new talent and experience which can contribute to the common goal of a truly sustainable food system.