There’s much discussion about our food system. Not often are the issues summarized.
Professor Tim Lang of the UK’s new Food Council warned that the current system, designed in the 1940s, was showing “structural failures”, such as “astronomic” environmental costs. It followed on from the dust bowl in the US, the collapse of food production in Europe and starvation in Asia.
I do want to stress, when we’re saying how terrible things are, that actually there have been huge advances in the 20th century; increased output of food, more people being fed, wider range and availability, people being fed better and life expectancy rocketing in many countries for all sorts of complicated reasons, but within that, diet has been a critical factor.
BUT. The environmental cost has been astronomic. The impact on public health, which is what my colleagues and I work on a lot, is immense.
Diet is now THE single, biggest factor in causing premature death worldwide.
Thirty years on and the world was now facing an even more complex situation
In order to feed a projected nine billion people by 2050, policymakers and scientists face a fundamental challenge: how can food systems work with the planet and biodiversity, rather than raiding and pillaging it? We all know that waste is everywhere; it is immoral what is happening in the world of food.
A sustainable global food system in the 21st Century needs to be built on a series of “new fundamentals“.