European Food Summit - Sustainable food practices one of the key elements of sustainability

Sustainable food practices one of the key elements of sustainability

Ljubljana, 8. 6. 2023

Sustainable approach, sustainable practices, sustainable eating, sustainable shopping, sustainable thinking... It is safe to say that in recent years the word sustainability has permeated every pore of our lives. And rightly so, because the need for change is clear and we need to make it happen: as a society and as individuals. 

The concept of sustainability, in its broadest sense, defines a way of living and managing natural resources in a way that ensures their use for future generations. To put it another way, sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations.

Sustainable food practices are one of the key elements of sustainability

Food production and food choices have a significant impact on the environment. The world's population is growing and, as a consequence, the consumption of natural resources is also increasing. The consequences are increasingly reflected in adverse climate change, biodiversity loss and numerous environmental problems.

Sustainable food practices focus on three aspects of sustainability: economic, environmental and social.

The economic aspect of sustainability refers to the economical use of natural resources and the profitability of food producers. It is important that food is produced and consumed in a way that is sustainable in the long term and allows food producers to be economically profitable.

The environmental aspect of food sustainability focuses on environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources. Food should be produced and consumed in a way that minimises negative environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, loss of land and biodiversity, air and water pollution.

The social aspect of food sustainability refers to ensuring access to food for all people, ensuring fair wages and working conditions in agriculture and food, and promoting healthy and balanced diets.

For sustainable food practices, it is vital that food is consumed in a way that ensures fair wages and working conditions in the food industry and that food is accessible to all people, regardless of their social and economic status. In addition, sustainable food practices promote healthy eating habits that have positive effects on human and environmental health.

Every individual contributes to change for the better, which is why we have put together some simple guidelines that can easily be turned into our daily habits.

1. Meat should not be eaten every day: Meat production results in extensive greenhouse gas emissions and consumes a lot of water and feed. What is more, reducing meat consumption and increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruit and legumes also has health benefits.

2. Choose locally and seasonally produced food:Buying food that is grown near you reduces the need for transport and thus greenhouse gas emissions. You are also supporting local farms and economies.

3. Choose organically produced food whenever possible: Organically produced food is free from harmful pesticides and artificial fertilisers, which is healthier for you and the environment.

4. Don't waste food: Make sure less food is thrown away. Use leftover food to make new dishes. If you have prepared too much, freeze the leftovers and store them for later use.

5. Reduce packaging: Buy food that is not packaged in unnecessary plastic or other packaging. This will help to reduce waste and therefore the burden on the environment.

6. Prepare your own food: Prepare your own food and avoid ready meals that are high in additives and preservatives.

7. Grow a vegetable garden: Try growing some vegetables in your garden or on your balcony. This way you can enjoy fresh and locally grown food and reduce your dependence on industrially produced food.

8. Choose sustainable modes of transport: If you want to buy food at the grocery store or at the farm, walk, cycle or take public transport. This will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help you stay healthy.

Making smart dietary choices today can make a big difference in changing our attitudes towards the environment, society and ourselves. This is our commitment to a better tomorrow.



The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),  Sustainable food systems Concept and framework:

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Changes in terms of risks/benefits of shifting diets towards healthier and more sustainable dietary models: