The theme that the World Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) had given to World Food Day this year 2021 was “Our actions are our future”. And so it is, like everything in life, each step and each action we undertake determines our future. We, all of us, are an active and responsible part of a complex, living and moldable system called food system.
FAO defines food systems as the set of actors and the relationship of the set of activities established between all of them through the different interrelationships that make the production, transformation, distribution and consumption of food possible.
The elements that make up the food systems are multiple and integrate both aspects of the production, storage, processing, packaging, logistics as well as issues related to quality, nutritional, safety, and price related aspects, even issues such as information and behavior of the consumers. Taking into account all these factors – and many others – – and their interrelationship, it is not unreasonable to think that food systems are of crucial importance for many of the challenges and objectives that we must face at global level, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among these objectives, and particularly two of them, are those aimed at achieving “Zero hunger” (SDG2) and “End of poverty” (SDG1) on which, today #WorldFoodDay put special emphasis.
Most of the current food systems are not capable of adapting, anticipating or being resilient to stressful situations or of supplying the present needs, in some cases, nor the anticipation of the needs of a growing population.
A sustainable food system integrates varied and sufficient, nutritious and safe food with a fair price for all, where there are no forms of malnutrition and no hunger. Policies and strategies are necessary, but also our personal contribution as being active members of the system is also necessary. Every time we choose foods, we make multiple decisions and do our part towards our healthy, but also, more sustainable diet, which contributes to the restoration of natural resources. Towards an equitable trade, leading the way towards the eradication of poverty and malnutrition, thus protecting human rights.
On World Food Day, every October 16 since 1979, the collective action of a large number of countries is promoted to carry out events, communication and dissemination activities with the aim of promoting the need to eradicate hunger and guarantee healthy diets for all of the members of this planet.
We must address challenges related to world population growth, climate change, diet-related diseases, depletion of natural resources and associated specific situations such as pandemics or natural disasters.
The European Union proposed to address the challenge of food security and nutrition through research and development policies aimed at guaranteeing the future of our food systems so that they turn into more sustainable, resilient, responsible, inclusive, diverse and competitive within the FOOD 2030 strategy and it is intended to provide solutions to four major general priorities of the food system:
- NUTRITION: ensuring healthy and sustainable diets
- CLIMATE: achieve climate-smart and sustainable food systems that adapt the climate change
- CIRCULARITY: reducing the use of resources and improving the efficiency of food systems, including zero food waste
- INNOVATION: fostering sustainable and accessible food sharing for all communities, cities and rural areas, developing data-driven food and nutrition systems that meet societal needs
In this sense, FUSILLI Project (Fostering the Urban Food System transformation through Innovative Living Labs Implementation) general aim is achieving an integrated and safe transition towards food systems in pan-European cities and their peri-urban areas by creating a sustainable urban food plan, with environmental, social and economic aspects that integrates actions in the four pillars of the FOOD 2030 strategy. Yes, we have the future of food in our hands. Each step that each of us is taking in the right direction ensures food and nutrition for healthy and sustainable diets while maintaining the environment, our health, equality and social inclusion and the economy. We are part of the change that we want to achieve!