What is sustainable food?

 

Sustainability is a word that is thrown around a lot lately. It is has been used to the point where the importance and reality of its meaning has been totally diluted. Sustainability is currently being thought of as a bonus or even a fad as if it is something that would be nice to achieve, however is not realistic. Sometimes a word is best defined by its opposite which in this case also describes almost all of our societies systems; unsustainable.

un·sus·tain·a·ble  
/ˌənsəˈstānəbəl/
 
Adjective

1. Not able to be maintained at the current rate or level.

By definition a serious change in unsustainable systems need to be made for them to simply be maintained much less evolve! 

Relating this concept to our field, I googled "What is sustainable food?" and this is what I found:

sus·tain·a·ble food  

Web definitions
Food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals


With sustainable food being a newly revived and niche sector of the food industry, what is the opposite of sustainable food that the vast majority of Americans are consuming?  

Un·sus·tain·a·ble food

Food that is unhealthy for consumers and animals, harm the environment, is inhumane for workers, disrespects animals

I think we can all agree that our current conventional food system is broken and broken in a way that is destroying our ecosystem on a massive scale. So why does this unsustainable system continue to steam roll to the proverbial cliff (which is more like a pile of dynamite because of the external consequences)? You guessed it... money. It's cheaper to confine millions of animals in unhealthy and unsanitary factories, and genetically modify plants to not die when sprayed with herbicides (it is also subsidies by the government but that is for a different article). When the food gets to the grocery store the price is cheaper however the true cost is externalized. When most people buy food they are not looking at the product they are looking at only the price.

What is the solution? The answer is education. Most of our country is unaware that the food they buy is poisoning them and contributing to ecological destruction. Where someone will pay 40% more for name brand cloths because they are "educated" through the media that they are better, they buy the GMO fruit because of the lack of education regarding the consequences. When individuals start demanding better quality food with their dollar, is when change will happen. In our society every dollar that is spent is a vote for the system that will be perpetuated and the product that will be produced. It is time for people to be better informed on what they are voting for!

Despite the issues that we are facing, the wheels of change are gaining momentum! We live in an information age where people are getting the facts that they need to make more informed decisions daily. With the click of the button hundreds of people can gain access to the bit of information that triggers them to alter their lifestyle or buy a different product. If you are a person who wants to accelerate change I would encourage you to use the tools at your disposal; share a picture on Facebook with your friends, forward an article to your email contacts. Every seemingly small transfer of information is making a change to our collective consciousness regarding that topic. Change happens when different decisions are made. Different decisions are made based on education. Let's give everyone the opportunity to make change happen!

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