Let’s Re-imagine Food and Health in America
This issue of Why Food For Health Matters highlights the global discussions leading up to and taking place during the United Nations Food Systems Summit (September 23). Florence Egal, Senior Consultant, Urban-Rural Linkages, UN-Habitat, states that, “the world is facing a global syndemic (synergistic epidemic) … and is having problems with obesity, … climate change, … also with poverty and therefore everybody agrees that food systems are dysfunctional.”
As highlighted in our July 2021 Issue, the current food system was designed following World War II to feed a hungry globe by increasing production of staple foods (rice, wheat and maize) that were easy to grow, store, and transport. This model still exists today and is an industrial model which is based on a monoculture of these three commodities. It is also geared towards exports which required a standardized food production system and eroded biodiversity in the food supply.
This has resulted in three forms of malnutrition — undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity. In addition to focusing on making the healthy choice the easy choice, sustainability needs to be built into dietary guidance.
The Great Food Transformation published 2019 in the Lancet shows that in order to meet the 2050 Reference Diet, red meat and sugar consumption needs to be reduced by 50 percent and the consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes needs to be increased by 100 percent.
Biden-Harris Administration Commit $10B to End Hunger
President Biden addressed the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2021, “At a time when nearly one in three people globally do not have access to adequate food — the United States is committing to rallying our partners to address immediate malnutrition and to ensure that we can sustainable feed the world for decades to come. To that end, the United States is making a $10 billion commitment to end hunger and invest in food systems at home and abroad.”
This was reinforced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Samantha Power at the September 23 UN Food Systems Summit. The commitment will be divided 50:50 global and domestic. On the domestic front the goal is to invest in food systems infrastructure to ensure access to healthy diets for all Americans and resilience of its food systems.
Food and Agriculture Benchmark 2021
The Worldwide Benchmarking Alliance( WBA) launched the first ever Food and Agriculture Benchmark 2021. The report assesses the entire value chain from farm to fork and ranks 350 companies on their environmental, nutritional and social impact in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The top three companies are Unilever (71.7/100), Nestle (68.5/100) and Danone (63.5/100). The report recognizes progress made and identifies gaps and areas of improvement to transform the food systems.
The benchmark launched as a lead in to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit. This is a critical time for addressing the interconnectedness of food systems and global challenges such as hunger, climate change, poverty and inequality. While the spotlight is on major food companies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), small and mid-sized companies must also realize it’s not business as usual.
Check Out The Agrihood
Food for Health loves to profile people, products, organizations and communities designed to be a Force for Good.
Agrihood is a community driven design in the San Francisco neighborhood of Santa Clara that is a mixed income apartment complex that comes with a 1.5 acre organic farm. The farm is managed by an urban farm company that produces 20,000 pounds of food per year and is sold at a deep discount to residents.