October 16 is World Food Day – this year’s theme is “Our Action Are Our Future. A Zero Hunger World By 2030 is Possible,” as determined by: The National Food and Nutrition Security Commission; the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment & Sustainable Development; The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; and the World Food Day Committee. This initiative connects to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, specifically number two for Zero Hunger.
Today, over 820 million people are suffering chronic undernourishment, while 672 million people suffer from obesity, 1.3 billion are overweight, and 1/3 of all food annually gets wasted around the world. Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 requires the mobilization of rural areas, governments, smallholder farmers, and the global community. CURes continues to advocate for holistically healthy and sustainable communities, an integral piece of which is equitable and just food systems.
Don’t Waste Food. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire production of food in sub-Saharan Africa (222 million tons compared to 230 million tons, respectively). Globally, this accounts for approximately a loss of one of every three food calories produced. In the United States alone, 40% of food is thrown away daily. Globally, the annual cost of food waste is $1 trillion, and is the third largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. In developed countries, the largest source of waste is in the home; here’s what you can do to reduce your own waste:
- Plan shopping trips using a portion planner to avoid over-buying
- Make food last longer by using your fridge and/or freezer, and don’t automatically throw food away based upon expiration dates
- Use leftovers
- By funny looking produce – you can even order Imperfect Produce online
- Practice FIFO – First In, First Out
- Keep track of what you throw away and change buying habits accordingly
- Donate what you can’t use
- Learn how to can, pickle, and preserve your foods
- When going out to eat, share meals if portions are too large, and make sure to always take-home leftovers
- Educate others!
Produce More, With Less. The global population is expected to reach 9 billion in 2050. This requires innovative new farming techniques and crop diversification, which can rebuild soils and create more resilient crops. Current intense agricultural techniques contributes to deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion, and greenhouse gas emissions. Organic farming is one potential strategy, as it can increase soil quality and increase yields. Urban farming, though not realistically possible at the required scale, could offset some of the contributions from rural areas. You can contribute by:
- Starting an edible food garden – you can even do so in an apartment
- If you are a California resident, joining the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program
- Encouraging and advocating for public gardening space in your neighborhood
- Support your local sustainable food organizations – such as these in Southern California
Adopt a More Healthy and Sustainable Diet. Sustainable cooking includes preparation and choices across the food chain. While grass fed meats and responsible seafood (especially small schooling fish) may carry lower carbon footprints than alternatives, reducing animal protein intake is a meaningful step individuals can take to lessening climate change. Produce and grains are less intensive on the environment and release fewer greenhouse gases during their growth and production. In areas where people use fuel powered cookstoves, clean alternatives could decrease global emissions and increase health. You can make your meals more environmentally friendly by:
- Decreasing your animal protein consumption
- Shopping at local farmers’ markets – this decreases the emissions associated with food transportation
- Eating foods seasonally, which also decreases food transportation emissions, as the foods travel further to reach places that do not produce them during their natural growing season
- Eat less foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar
- Some alternative sustainable food options include: sea greens, hemp, regenerative meats, traceable fish, and plant-based noodles
- Purchase Fair Trade coffee, teas, and other products
- Cut down on your shopping and eating-out waste – don’t purchase plastic water bottles, bring reusable bags and other containers, bring reusable silverware if none is available, use reusable cloth towels
- Use the bulk food bins at the store – cuts down on emissions-heavy packaging on other products
Advocate for #ZeroHunger. Share this information with your friends, family, and communities. Get involved with your local sustainable food and anti-hunger organizations. Support global anti-hunger initiatives. Learn about food equity and policies that impact individuals’ abilities to grow their own food.