The importance of creating a sustainable food system

The benefits of a sustainable Food System have an equal impact on the economic, ecological and social areas.

In general, food travels long distances until they reach us generating a significant negative impact on the environment, for example the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). There is a high energy consumption to transport them and keep them refrigerated during the trip.

We must strive to avoid the consumption of these kilometric foods as a fight against climate emergency.

The landscapes are also tasted in our mouth and these deteriorate as well as the food. The loss of crops in the countryside causes a loss of economic opportunities in the rural area that continues with a depopulation process. Meanwhile in the producing countries the consequences are worse causing pollution, deforestation or displacement of indigenous people.

It is very important to carry out actions to change the model and achieve more responsible food systems.

A sustainable food plan

To carry out this change and create a sustainable food systems, a plan is needed, and this is the Food Plan, that from some Biosphere Reserve has been launched.

The main benefits are three:

  • Economic: The increase in the production and consumption of local food means more local and more diverse employment. The sale in proximity allows the producer to keep the rural environment alive, and therefore the landscapes and the local culture.
  • Ecological: Food systems are responsible for approximately 19–29% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions worldwide, so they have great potential for climate change mitigation. In addition, the recovery of land for responsible productive use prevents the proliferation of invasive species and takes care of the landscape. The incorporation of local varieties, more rustic and adapted to the climate and soil, minimize the application of phytosanitary products, water and fertilizers. The use of useful fauna, such as insectivorous birds or birds of prey for the control of small mammals, also contributes to improving biodiversity.
  • Social:
    • The quality of the food we eat is essential for our health. The more complex and long the food chain is, the bigger the need of chemical substances. The pesticides used in conventional agriculture are a risk for health. In addition, these are collected before their ideal ripening point, which makes them less tasty and nutritious.
    • Local food markets can help generate synergies between local economic activity and social entities.

The plan must design a food strategy that stimulates the production, transformation and consumption of local products to generate and strengthen the local food market.

The objectives of such strategy should be designed with an active participation of all the agents members of the food system: local producers, agriculture companies, distributors, consumer groups, consumer associations, technicians of the administrations, foundations … All these actors must define actions aimed at common objectives:

  • Promote the consumption and production of local products and their commercialization in the local market, and stimulating organic production.
  • Improve the governance of the Local Food System, generating alliances between the agents involved, raising public awareness about the impacts of local consumption.
  • Recover land for productive use and landscape improvement, fighting rural depopulation.
  • Encourage training and entrepreneurship, especially among youth.
  • Research, development and innovation aimed at improving the quality of local products.