Your food footprint

If you have been following Body Fusion on social media you would of seen a number of vibrant vegetarian dishes last week. This was an effort to raise awareness for a sustainable eating initiative called ‘Meat free week.’ Contrary to what you may think, it wasn’t just another way for hipsters to promote their super trendy organic magically dusted, all health curing vegetables. It was actually a practical way to get people to reduce their ‘food footprint.’

Let me clarify for you quickly, your food footprint isn’t the one you leave on the tiles when you’ve crept to the pantry for a late night snack – it is the much much bigger one that you create through the foods that you choose to eat. It involves the amount of energy and waste used and created through the production, processing, delivery and degradation of your food.

Did you know

  • The world population is expected to double by 2050. If we keep eating the way we are now we are going to need TWICE the amount of food. We won't have enough! 
  • 60% of our eco foot print (impact we have on the planet) comes from food (growth, delivery, consumption and waste)
  • 1 billion people go hungry everyday when we waste enough food to feed 3 billion?!

The stats are a bit scary right? Because we literally live in the land of plenty many of us can’t imagine what it would be like if there wasn’t any food left. Look at the ridiculous lines at the supermarkets when they close for ONE DAY at Christmas time. Unlike our grandparents, we don’t know what it means to go without, so the idea of not having a fully stocked pantry and fridge with lots of ‘just in case’ items is something many of us wouldn’t consider.

Before you throw you move your mouse to close this page – just stop and think about what you would do if tomorrow the world ran out of food. How long would you be able to live off the food you already had at home?

I’d say as a human race we are wonderful at fixing problems but terrible at preventing them! The same goes for our food supply. We have created a whole host of fortified products to meet the nutrient demands of our population when there were deficiencies, we developed trade agreements and delivery systems to distribute our food overseas and to far away communities. However, we haven’t looked very far into the future to ask, where will out food keep coming from if we continue eating the way we are?

Food sustainability isn’t a ‘cool’ topic that gets discussed much and I feel we always throw it into the too hard basket. Yes, there are political and large-scale policies at play, but we have more power than you think. So here are my tips to decreasing your food footprint.

  1. Use your power to vote – yeah, vote for the political party that is going to subsidise and pay farmers a decent wage for their produce and incentives to care for their farming land.
  2. Buy organic fair trade agreement produce – look for the free trade sticker because this ensures that the farmer who made that product is getting what he deserves for the product.
  3. Double the amount of vegetables you eat and replace at least 1 or 2 meat containing meals each week.
  4. Do your shopping at local farmers/growers markets.
  5. Find out where your local community garden is and start a plot with your family, neighbours or friends.
  6. Bring your reusable shopping bags with you and don’t use 10000 of those small bags for each different fruit/ vegetable you put in your trolley!  The local Coles in our suburb in Lane Cove is currently holding a plastic bag challenge to see how many shoppers can go without. How great is that? If you work at a supermarket or retailer how about setting your customers a challenge similar?
  7. Head to http://www.sustainabletable.org.au/Hungryforinfo/What-you-can-do/tabid/121/Default.aspx to download a list of what you can do! 

Let’s make our food last us so we can continue to love and enjoy it now and long into the future. Ain’t nobody wants to run out of their favourite food now do they?

Eat well and keep moving,

Kat. 

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Katrina Mills

Katrina is an enthusiastic and driven dietitian with a client-centered approach to nutrition and health. She understands the positive effects nutrition has on the ability to assist in recovery, ease symptoms and improve overall quality of life.