What is food sustainability?
In short…it is maintaining a food system that is safe and healthy for everyone starting from the production of food all the way to putting food on your table. It means making food in ways that are safe and healthy for the environment and the consumer. But it doesn’t end there; our practices at home, such as reducing food waste, and reusing and recycling food also support food sustainability.
Why think about sustainability?
The way we shop and eat not only impacts our health, but the environment too. Our current food system has contributed to:
- pollution and climate change
- deforestation and soil loss
- loss of natural resources such as water
- food shortages and the risk of losing certain food items
Small and big changes we make together can change food production. There is hopeful change for our future as some food companies and environmental organizations are working on practises that are healthier for the environment. These actions include using less water, reducing food loss, growing crops that help support our ecosystem and protecting the small amount of land we have to grow food on.
6 ways you can help improve the food system:
- Choose more plant-based foods. Replace some foods that come from animals with meat alternatives such as nuts, seeds, beans or lentils. Meatless Monday’s can be a great place to start.
- Follow Canada’s Food Guide which promotes lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein rich foods.
- When possible, eat local and seasonal foods. Choose foods that have been grown in Ontario. Did you know that Ontario grows over 50 different kinds of vegetables and fruit?
- Eat less processed foods. These foods are higher in added salts and sugars and require more single use plastic waste that often ends up in landfills.
- Minimize food waste by using leftovers, making different dishes with your food items, and using up all your fresh produce before buying more.
- Grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs by a window, on your balcony, or in your yard. You can also rent a plot of land at a community garden to grown your own food.
If we all start choosing our food in sustainable ways, we can positively change the food system to become healthier and safer for both the planet and ourselves!