Sharing meals together is a simple and delightful ritual, and it’s hard to imagine any celebration where food doesn’t play a central role. In short, we can’t live well without eating well, and the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored that a healthy diet can shield us from diseases.
Today, food systems drive environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, and are responsible for 37% of greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly one in every ten people in the world suffers from severe food insecurity, which at its worst means they have not eaten anything for days. Most of the world’s premature deaths occur due to diet-related diseases and one-third of all the food produced globally is wasted, while people who grow it populate poverty statistics.
These are only broad brushstrokes. However, it’s clear that changing our food systems for the better would win us a chance at a liveable world, where everyone enjoys good health and prosperity.
Making such changes entails resolving complex systemic challenges and joint coordinated action from all sectors of society on local, national and global levels. Here are five ideas drawn from SEI’s research for how to drive transformation in food systems – ideas that might not usually come to mind.