Our food system produces both both hunger and excess, a logic so contradictory that seems only possible in dystopic futures of cyber punk fiction. Yet this is the reality we live in – 815 million people suffer from hunger while we throw away 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year.
Against a background of growing global population, rapid urbanization and reduced productivity due to climate events, rethinking the way we feed ourselves is not only a question of sustainability, but of security.
In the literature of food waste, food loss and waste are defined as follows:
- Food Loss refers to food that gets spilled, spoilt or otherwise lost, or incurs reduction of quality and value during its process in the food supply chain before it reaches its final product stage. Food loss typically takes place at production, post-harvest, processing, and distribution stages in the food supply chain.
- Food waste refers to food that completes the food supply chain up to a final product, of good quality and fit for consumption, but still doesn’t get consumed because it is discarded, whether or not after it is left to spoil or expire. Food waste typically (but not exclusively) takes place at retail and consumption stages in the food supply chain (UNEP) .
However this obscures the waste that is generated from overproduction which is an inherent part of our profligate food system. The reality is that there is no easy answer that can solve the problem, but there’s always a starting point. Watch this 3 min summary of my talk and leave with some actionable suggestions, and read this for the highlights.
This is the first of the ‘Misplaced’ webinars – an online series of bite-sized conversations on our food system hosted by Livin Farms. Together this series features 24 speakers from 11 countries and together we present the multi-faceted dimensions of our food system.