While I am in tune with sustainability issues it has often seemed a bit remote from ‘everyday’ for me – probably a bad admission. Dr. Jennifer Wilkins, Cornell University, USA is especially interested in food choices for sustainability; she has advised on policy and written widely on this topic, including a regular column in the US press entitled ‘The Food Citizen’. Dr. Wilkins inspires inspires with her ability to take sustainability from the macro- to a personal level. She raises the thought of ‘luxus’ consumption and its personal consequences: obesity and life-style diseases, impact on the food resources available to others and on the environmental impact on emissions, water and power usage. Part of her story is the growing interest in the US for Community Supported Agriculture and she quotes a 500% increase in Farmers’ Markets in the US from 1994 to 2012 (Farmer’s Markets in Australia are not all accredited but I suspect the increase has been greater in Australia). Among her mass of information the most engaging aspect for me is the challenge to develop a ‘personal food policy’. This means including decisions about individual choices of what to eat, what and where to purchase, and consideration of waste.
A ‘personal food policy’ could include:
- the balance between plant-based and the resource-intensive animal-based foods
- ‘food miles’ (food-kilometres never sounds right to me)
- provenance of foods and seasonality – looking at Farmers’ Markets and local options
- targeting food wastage (below the horrifying 40% average for retail food purchases).
More changes on the way for me.
Good starting points for local buying:
http://www.whitehat.com.au Guide to markets in most states.