global crisis - Sustainability in food retailing today
With all the talk of our food safety recently it brings to mind another very important subject-sustainability. Now most of us shrug and say what does that have to do with me? It is a world-wide concern on every level from farmer to those who buy and eat the food. Many of us don't even give a second thought to where that carrot was grown or how. Oh a few do say I only buy organically grown, espevially those with babies. Often peditricians suggest making your baby's food from only organic vegetables and hormone free meats.For many people, the subject of traditional agriculture conjures idyllic images of farmers working in harmony with the natural ecosystem, while others think about farmers battling pests, disease, and climatic extremes in a feast or famine struggle to produce a marketable crop and sustainable income. In reality, traditional farming methods deliberately trade biodiversity in agricultural settings for increased productivity.
And the pressure today on agriculture to increase production is tremendous. The global population is increasing, poverty and malnutrition are at critical levels, arable land is decreasing and fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce.
In considering the near and long term repercussions, it's nothing short of a global crisis. And, as the industry that interacts with consumers on food issues, food retailing is undeniably at the center of the matter. Food retailers and manufacturers are rallying around sustainability issues, but their immediate concerns are the environmental footprints of their own facilities and supply chain processes. As long as the quality of farmers' raw material remains high and is low cost, processors, marketers and retailers are apt to ignore agricultural methods.
And yet, food retailers and manufacturers can encourage practices that are scientifically shown to provide sustainable benefits and can help increase consumer awareness and involvement of sound food production methods. Fortunately, innovation and technology are transforming agricultural systems, promoting biodiversity, conserving soil and water, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and shrinking the environmental footprint of agriculture systems.
Now you say that is all fine and good, but how can I-just one person affect this problem? Any thoughts how each and everyone can help?