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A sustainable food future Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM nutritionist.

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Presentation on theme: "A sustainable food future Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM nutritionist."— Presentation transcript:

1 a sustainable food future Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM nutritionist

2 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 the balanced diet nutrition & health environmental sustainability taste ‘food literacy’

3 our ‘industrialised’ food supply  designed mainly for profit (health secondary; equity largely ignored)  highly processed & packaged  huge ‘choice’, seasonality ignored  high status for animal products  loss of biodiversity ignored (may have implications for food security) © Rosemary Stanton 2013

4 consumption-based growth  grow more  process more  sell more  waste more  waist more © Rosemary Stanton 2013

5 nutrition & health linked with sustainability  the more people eat, the greater the costs of production & waste  high consumption, especially of animal foods, influences greenhouse gas emissions Edwards P, Roberts I. Population adiposity and climate change. Int J Epidemiol. 2009; 38(4): © Rosemary Stanton 2013

6 sustainability issues & food up to 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions come from production and distribution of what we eat and drink © Rosemary Stanton 2013

7 CO 2 equiv (kg/head/yr) - Sweden meat*412(47%) dairy products*116(13%) fish*47( 5%) potatoes16( 2%) other vegetables89(10%) bread and grains57( 6%) fruit19( 2%) edible fats36( 4%) sweets, juice, soft drinks83(10%) *65% total Wallen A, Brandt N, Wennersten R. Does the Swedish consumer’s choice of food influence greenhouse gas emissions? Environmental Science and Policy 7 (2004)

8 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 CO 2 equivalents - Netherlands % meat & fish28 dairy products23 potatoes, veg, fruit15 sweet beverages15 bread and grains13 oils, fats3 other foods3 in Garnaut 2008

9 sustainability issues & food  crises coming for water, oil and phosphorus (in fertilisers)  Australia highly vulnerable  ‘business as usual’ no longer valid © Rosemary Stanton 2013

10 follow the food chain all our recommendations should consider - use of resources (soil, water, energy) - fertilisers, especially phosphorus - pesticides - animal welfare ? © Rosemary Stanton 2013

11 follow the food chain implications for - food choices - skills (shopping, cooking) - growing food - waste © Rosemary Stanton 2013

12 go down the food chain? WHO and others recommend we bias our diets towards plant foods and less processed foods for health & sustainability

13 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 food choices – animal foods  ‘less’ need not mean ‘none’  look for minimum quantity of meat  look at types - (smaller animals, grass eating, minimal environmental impact)  problems with grain-feeding (40% of world’s grain fed to animals)

14 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 action on fish  more is not sustainable  choose fish listed as sustainable*  appropriate fish farming  look for other sources of omega 3s (research in progress for long chain omega 3s in grains) *Marine Stewardship Council & Sustainable fish listings * see

15 follow the food chain implications for types of food - packaged ? - fortified (functional) ? - stored ? - affordable ? - available to all ? - sustainable ? - waste © Rosemary Stanton 2013

16 waste occurs at all stages of the food chain –total spent on food = $158 billion/year –waste 20% (ie >$30 billion/year) –buy then throw out 4m tonnes edible food/year*, worth at least $8b**, enough to fill 450,000 garbage trucks)*** –food waste in developed countries could feed an extra 3 billion people * The National Waste Report 2010, Aust Govt. ** *** DoSomething! Research, available at © Rosemary Stanton 2013

17 packaging  ~ 65% packaging for food/beverages  useful because it improves shelf life and reduces food waste  a problem because it uses energy resources to produce, and more when added to landfill

18 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 packaging - action  choose foods with less/no packaging  refill water bottles from tap or tank  re-use packaging  recycle (widely available bins - in schools ?)  push governments to set mandatory rules for container deposits  lobby for recycling costs to be included in product price

19 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 processed food - action  use fewer processed products  promote products with less processing (eg rolled oats not popped sugary cereals)  teach cooking skills  get involved in school/community gardens

20 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 social global equity food miles? local foods where possible, but social global equity needs consideration –crops such as coffee & chocolate vital to farmers in many countries –globalisation means we need trade

21 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 social global equity what are the ethics of large agribusinesses owning the patents for seeds ? GM crops ? what about biodiversity ?

22 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 new emphasis needed question: is it ethical to use resources to produce so many - animal foods - modified foods - ‘functional’ foods for overfed people while others starve

23 fuel or food? ethanol-based fuels  4.4 hectares  ethanol for 1 car for 1 year, or feeds 7 people for 1 year  corn used for ethanol in the US would feed >100 million people  30-70% more energy is needed to produce ethanol than it contributes source: Professor David Pimental, Cornell University © Rosemary Stanton 2013

24 techno fix band-aids?  assume technology can fix problems (functional foods?)  ignore long-term impacts  wait for a crisis before acting  may ignore societal & environmental costs (privatise profit, expect society to cover costs) © Rosemary Stanton 2013

25 ‘new’ food system  buy only what we need  sustainable packaging  fresh, local/home grown, where possible  home cooked rather than take-away  new vegetables, grains, nuts, fruit  more sustainable farming (inc fish)  small portions of sustainable animal foods  quench thirst with tap water © Rosemary Stanton 2013

26 ‘new’ food system  question need for so much ‘choice’  emphasise problems of excess consumption (health & environmental)  prices for junk foods, through specific taxes  collection & recycling systems for (domestic & commercial) waste, subsidies for composting (domestic & commercial)

27 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 food choices - action change expectations through  education, including waste  social marketing campaigns  involvement in food systems (urban food, school kitchen gardens, cooking for adults)

28 great opportunities  more attention to soil health  carbon footprint labelling  new ways to reduce reliance on water, energy, phosphate fertilisers  grow foods with higher nutrient content  greater biodiversity (migrant involvement)  sustainable aquaculture © Rosemary Stanton 2012

29 © Rosemary Stanton 2013 what we eat social equity health protection of land & water


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