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🍏 "The Future of the Food Ecosystem & the Power of your Plate"

TED Climate

Photo by Dan Gold / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli
Category: 🍏 Sustainable Food | Food Ecosystem

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Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:30] “The Rockefeller Foundation has some pioneering research on the true cost of food in the United States, which indicates that even though we spend 1.1 trillion on our annual food expenditure, we actually spend 2.1 trillion on costs linked to health and climate, all because of our broken food ecosystem. These same statistics have been replicated all over the world. In fact, according to the UN Food Systems Scientific Group, our food system is value-destroying. There's a need for urgent action from at least three lenses. A health lens, an equity lens, and a climate lens.

[3:19] “Starting with the climate lens, we must modify how we grow food and reduce food waste. Our food ecosystem is one of the largest contributors to climate change. We keep cutting down trees to grow more food, and we keep wasting food, which ends up in landfills and rots, generates methane. The good news is that we have the technology and the science today to grow enough food to feed the world and to address our food waste problems. We have the knowledge, but we're not using it.”

[4:40] “Through my work with Sahel Consulting, we're demonstrating that farmers can double and triple yields without hurting the environment. We're using technology and science from our local research institutions, and we're proving that in Africa. There are great examples for the rest of the world to emulate. Now we need to scale these interventions. And we need to ensure that our governments, our private sector, our farmers, are incentivized to change behavior and to improve lives.”

[5:47] “Second, we must ensure that healthy food is affordable and accessible for the most vulnerable. This is a huge challenge. Unhealthy food kills. […] One out of every five deaths is linked to unhealthy food. And yet, one third of our world's population cannot afford a healthy diet. This is a big challenge. Now food is medicine. Healthy food gives us long and productive lives. And during COVID, we've seen the impact of closures, shipping challenges that have affected food prices, and the most vulnerable have had to shift from healthy diets to unhealthy diets because they are cheaper. This has caused more damage to lives all over the world.”

[7:32] “We must also hold our private sector companies responsible for the amount of sugar and salt contained in food. We must set standards for what healthy food is and define healthy food according to plant-based diets, low salt, low sugar, and keep all of us accountable. We must also encourage our governments and ensure that at the local, state, and federal level, our school feeding programs prioritize healthy food, our public procurement programs prioritize healthy food, and collectively, we ensure that we keep the standards high for everybody.”

[8:21] “Third, we must support small- and medium-sized enterprises. In the food ecosystem, small- and medium-sized enterprises are the bedrock of our economy. They create jobs, they are innovative, and they can pivot very quickly. But during the pandemic, […] they’ve been most affected by shocks. […] Through Nourishing Africa, I work with entrepreneurs in 37 African countries who are scaling sustainable businesses, building healthy food companies and demonstrating that strong, small- and medium-sized enterprises, committed to sustainable agriculture and healthy food, can become change agents.”

[10:55] “The next time you eat a meal, ask yourself a few questions. Who grew this food? Where was it grown? When was it grown? How many steps and stops did it make before it got to your table? How much food waste was generated because of this meal? Let your answers influence your next meal. The fact that you have a choice gives you privilege and also gives you a voice to demand that the solutions to the food ecosystem align with what works for people and planet. We must collectively create a food ecosystem that works not just for us but for future generations. Our children and grandchildren will hold us accountable for what we chose to do today to transform the food ecosystem.”

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🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 12 min | 🗓️ 05/14/2022
✅ Time saved: 11 min

Additional Links:
TED Video: “The future of the food ecosystem -- and the power of your plate”

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