Food for the planet: 5 takeaways from 2022

The connection of food to health, both for humans and for the planet, has often been overlooked and neglected over the past 200 years in the Western world. However, in 2022, the importance of food to the planet has re-emerged as an integral part of everyday good health and healing, a way to protect and restore the earth’s ecosystems from climate pollution. Let’s look at some of the 2022 stories about plants, sustainable farming practices and clean farming technologies to understand the importance and place of the food renaissance in our lives.

First meals and disappointments at COP27

Sustainable diets are defined by the UN as “diets with low environmental impact that contribute to food and nutritional security and a healthy life for present and future generations.” Research has suggested that 20-30% of environmental impacts in Europe and the UK originate from our diets, including the impacts of food production, processing and retail. It is also now widely accepted that eating meat and animal products generally has a greater environmental impact than plant-based foods.

first Food Systems Pavilion it prospered at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh. it was an opportunity for spread this message to build sustainable, resilient and equitable food systems everywhere. Organizations, institutions and advocates for change expressed concern about providing equitable and healthy food systems.

Tom Benton in chatham house writes that “COP27 maintained a firm focus on supply-side solutions to address food insecurity, while avoiding the more politically contentious demand-side issues of ensuring nutritious and sustainable diets for all.” WWF agrees, noting that Koronivia’s joint work on agriculture continues to focus closely on Agriculture production.

Little agreement was reached on the importance of transforming food systems to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change. Climate action requires systemic and integrated approaches to food.

Pay farmers for carbon offsets

Ag indigothe world’s largest AgTech startup, announced that it paid more than $3.7 million to 450 U.S. farmers in 30 states for producing carbon offsets during the 2021 crop year. The payments went to farmers enrolled in indigo carbon, a program that helps growers adopt sustainable practices, such as cover crops and no-till, that draw CO2 into the soil and capture emissions. Indigo’s second annual carbon farming payment is more than triple the amount given to farmers in their maiden pay.

Farmers receive 75% of the average purchase price for each carbon credit, and Indigo adjusts payments annually to reflect the carbon price increase through additional payments to growers who produced credits at a lower cost the previous season. . Indigo credit prices have risen from $20 to $40 in two years, and the company predicts they will continue to rise as global demand increases. Indigo is the first company in history to produce agricultural carbon credits at scale (approximately 20,000 credits issued in 2021) and is on pace to break its inaugural numbers during its second credit issue, scheduled for early 2023.

Certification Standard for Sustainable Agricultural Crops

Millions of people are eating less meat and dairy. While their reasons for doing so vary widely, from a focus on personal health to the climate crisis, cruelty to animals, and more, more consumers than ever are choosing to turn to plant-based alternatives. Many new plant-based food products are appearing on supermarket shelves, but it has become difficult for consumers to discern how healthy many of these new products are due to inaccurate or inconsistent product labels. While consumers seek food that is good for people and the planet, some companies make illusory climate and environmental commitments that won’t take effect for decades, making them functionally meaningless.

Providing greater clarity and veracity to the market is essential to vegetarian food. Because consumers of plant-based products need a reliable way to know what they are buying and eating, and because companies need a way to back up their claims and differentiate their products from the competition, in December 2022, SCS published Version 3.0 of the Certification Standard for Sustainable Agricultural Crops.

It is a comprehensive framework and a common set of requirements grouped into 3 categories: business integrity, sustainable agricultural practices, and ethical stewardship. Sustainably Grown is a detailed framework that applies to farming operations around the world, large and small, and provides a roadmap for meeting the emerging market for social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

Opting for an independent assessment by a neutral third party allows the use of a simple claim, Sustainably Grown, to attract buyers and consumers. Third-party certification under this internationally recognized standard ensures that growers work diligently to provide a safe and healthy work environment, support farmworkers and communities, and protect vital environmental resources such as clean air, clean water, and wildlife habitat while reducing energy consumption. , carbon emissions and waste.

Another important development is the recognition of “Trailblazers” in key performance categories. In short, Producers can take their commitment to sustainability even further by choosing to meet additional requirements that allow them to achieve recognition in one or more of the following cutting-edge Trailblazer categories: Living Wage, Regenerative Agriculture, Empowering farmworkers, community development and Champion of Biodiversity.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Announced new resources and new agreements from the USDA’s Indian Food Sovereignty Initiative, which promotes traditional ways of eating, indigenous food markets and agriculture, and indigenous health through foods tailored to the dietary needs of American Indians /Alaska Native (AI/AN). USDA is partnering with tribal service organizations on these projects to reinvent federal food and agriculture programs from a indigenous perspective and inform future USDA programs and policies.

“USDA is committed to empowering tribal self-determination and bringing indigenous perspectives to agriculture, food and nutrition,” Secretary Vilsack said. “These new videos, posts and guides will support Indian Country and educate the farming community at large.”

New resources raise awareness of indigenous and native foods at USDA and among tribal youth, communities, and native farmers: a user manual for interested ranchers, regional seed storage centers, videos on collecting wild plants and indigenous people, recipes and cooking instructional videos. using indigenous foods, a short-form digital media series to engage native youth in food sovereignty and gardening, traditional indigenous ecological knowledge, and a manual on best practices for humanely managing and harvesting bison in the field , among others.

Food Donation Improvement Act

In a rare bipartisan achievement, the Food Donation Improvement Act approved in both the US Senate and House of Representatives and is now heading to President Biden’s desk for final approval. The Law will take an important step to end hunger and food waste, helping to make a dent in hunger; The FDIA strengthens existing protections to better support businesses, manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and restaurants in donating their millions of tons of excess food. The legislation was supported by a coalition that includes the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, WeightWatchers International, the Food Recovery Network, Bread For The World, NRDC, the Healthy Living Coalition, and many international organizations. individuals.

US congressman against hunger Jim McGovern urged his colleagues to support the legislation. “Hunger is not inevitable,” he said. “We don’t have food shortages; we have a mismatch between abundance and need, a mismatch we can resolve by passing this bipartisan common sense bill.”

The climate crisis exacerbates hunger and malnutrition by threatening the nutritional quality of crops, as well as crop productivity. Advocacy for policy change is key to transforming the food system, according to Danielle Kidenberg of the Food Tank, and this type of legislation “can help solve hunger, support farmers and protect workers and the planet. Simply put,” says Nierenberg, “these are moral and ethical choices that we must make regardless of political affiliation.” The bill points out how the hard and necessary work of systemic transformation in food and agriculture can be carried out for the benefit of all.


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