Sustainable Food Production
Sustainable Food Production
For hundreds of years Sustainable Food Production has typically been a small scale affair with gardeners, allotment holders and farmers producing various in-season food crops for their own consumption or to sell at local markets.
But sustainable farming practices are also essential in feeding the worlds growing global population as the competition for land use not only for building and development, but also for the growing of biomass energy crops becomes more challenging.
The amount of food an individual can consume is largely determined by that individual’s standard of living. Of course this concept also applies to nations as a whole. In order to provide adequate food supplies for future generations introduces the concept of “food sustainability”, in which food crops are grown side-by-side with energy crops contributing to a more sustainable food system.
“Sustainable” is a popular and much used word these days not only being used in relation to food production, but also for sustainable energy sources, sustainable fuel systems, or environmentally sustainable, etc.
The use of the word sustainable in the context of alternative and renewable energy systems invokes an image of a reliable and renewable abundance that will last forever. But any consideration of “sustainable” must be clearly defined and placed within certain parameters in relation to a fixed size of population.
Agriculture depends heavily on the available and natural resources with the global growth in energy crop cultivation increasing the competition for land use, in particular competition with food production. The over working of the land can cause environmental harm, but it also provide many environmental benefits as well.
Humans have been cultivating their food crops for over tens of thousands of years with sustainable agriculture and food production being the main source of employment. Today with modern practices and machinery, greater areas of land can be worked by few people with more and more of the land being used to grow biomass products for energy production. Over-farming of the land has been blamed for many environmental effects, including climate change, land degradation and deforestation.
But while food is essential for the growth of life and to help keep us fit and healthy, it also plays an important role in establishing our cultural identity with many countries being famous for their particular foods. For example, pizzas from Italy, tacos from Mexico, or rice and noodles from China. In today’s modern society all sorts and types of foods are eaten and traded easily around the world.
Healthy people depend upon a healthy and sustainable food system that can provide a nutritious diet for all peoples, while at the same time protecting the capacity of future generations to feed themselves by using food resources more efficiently.
Eating well and eating a variety of different foods is an important part of encouraging better food production for all with the foodstuffs that children eat from an early age being carried through into older life. This not only has an impact on the health and well being of everyone, but also on the general health of the planet.
Encouraging children to learn more about where food comes from and how it grows from an early age can encourage more interest about the food on their plates and may be helpful in encouraging them to both try and to eat a greater variety of different foods including fruits and vegetables.
Many food related conditions and diseases, including poor diet, under-nutrition, over-weight and obesity as well as general food safety risks are all interlinked. Sustainable food production and policies that comply with international food safety standards and promote good health are at the center of many countries food strategies promoting sustainability from the farmers field to the dinner plate. But also, sustainable food is about food culture and the decisions made today about growing, buying, storing, cooking and recycling of waste food will impact on future generations.
Sustainable food systems and sustainable agriculture policies aim to improve the efficiency of food production while preserving the diverse and natural ecosystems upon which the world’s food supply depends. For example, the efficient use of agricultural lands, improvement of soil nutrients, forestry and oceanic management, etc, all help towards minimising the environmental threats, of climate change, land degradation, freshwater scarcity and contamination of rivers and water courses from agricultural chemicals.
Also higher productivity and improvements in farming contributes to better nutrition by increasing incomes where agriculture and food services accounts for a large share of the economy and employment by reducing the overall cost of food in the shops and supermarkets for all consumers.
Buying locally grown, seasonal or organic foods which have been grown, processed and packaged near to where you live when planning meals is where sustainable food really begins. Buy sustainable fish and seafood’s but above all, reducing food waste and storing your food wisely all helps to reduce food consumption. The benefits of composting and recycling cannot be overstated.
In today’s ever hungry world, the production of sustainable foods has to compete for biomass and non-food energy crop production meaning there will be a significant increase in competition for the use of fertile agricultural land and a possibility in the future of rising food prices.
Sustainable food production systems can help maintain the balance between food production and energy crop cultivation. Getting the most food from every drop of water and piece of land saves resources for the future and makes our food systems more sustainable. Turning wastes like manure or food scraps into rich and valuable fertilizer can improve sustainability.
Then a Sustainable Food system is made up of the environment, the people and processes by which agricultural and farmed products are produced, processed and brought to consumers without sacrificing the long term health of the ecosystems and vital cultures that provides our food.
Every aspect of the food system has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods and therefore on the consumers ability to choose healthy diets meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need for sustainability.
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