I think a lot of people are confused about what “food sustainability” means. This is partially due to the fact that our current food system in the US is extremely broken and also because there are so many conflicting ideas out there, so I will share my definition and the one which will provide the backbone of this site.
A truly sustainable food system is one which nurtures the people, the animals, the land, the community and the environment.
People – enough nutritious healthy food for everyone & fair wages for workers
Animals – humane treatment from birth to slaughter including natural diets.
Land – with the proper care, land can be enhanced by farming and become more bio-diverse. Animals if raised correctly can fertilize the land instead of pollute
Community – keeping $$ in the local community, providing jobs
Environment – growing locally and seasonally eliminates the need for polluting chemicals and transportation.
A recent study conducted by the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin calculated that 16% of the energy consumed in the US was used to produce food, but that 25% of food produced is wasted each year. This energy lost is actually worth more than our US off shore drilling! Now isn’t that a giant unsustainable kick in the pants when we have an increasing population going hungry, getting sick and climate change may be at the tipping point?!?!
We are currently at such a critical time in our food system. Since the industrial revolution, we have been operating under the assumption that bigger is better for business. The government subsidizes the wrong crops on a mass scale so that the food which ends up in our super markets is super cheap, but is stripped of nutrients. You truly get what you pay for! Our population is getting sicker and sicker. Obesity, diabetes, cancer and allergy rates are at an all time high and it is expected that within the next few years, each child born will have a 25% chance of getting childhood diabetes.
I think people often forget that the food that we eat is our fuel. It is what keeps us operating in tip-top shape, and if we get the right fuel, there becomes very little need for medicine. I am a BIG believer that solving our food issues would also solve our healthcare issues. I see people spend insane amounts of money on cars and the top quality fuel for them, but then they go and eat the cheapest most unhealthy foods and drive to their next doctor’s appointment. We need to start sustaining our own health, and if we do it right, the animals, the land, the community and the environment will follow right along!