Feature:

Nourish With Love

By Rob Cameron

The food that should nourish us frequently does anything but: we witness hunger and malnutrition on an unacceptable scale; we experience increasing ill health through obesity and NCDs; and food production is the single biggest contributor of harm to our planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems.

Our common heritage and every child’s birth right is a stable resilient planet. If we are to address climate change successfully, restore ecosystems, reverse biodiversity loss and achieve social justice we need a fundamental rethink of our food system. Our food system cuts across all of the Global Goals and if we are to get even close to achieving them then we have just 13 years to turn the food system from a cause of harm to a cure.

That’s why food is so important to us at SustainAbility and that’s why this edition of Radar is dedicated to it.

We believe there are three essential components to move food from cause of harm to cure:

  • First, our food system has to be centred on the eater. We all want delicious food. We all need delicious food that is good for our health and for the planet. It is time to combine “deliciousness” with human and planetary health.

  • Second, food production must be rethought not only in terms of minimising its negative impacts but even more so in terms of accentuating its positive impacts on the environment and the livelihoods of those who produce it.

  • Thirdly, we need new business models, investment thinking, public policy and regulation to drive change – changes that will reward positive outcomes and punitively punish negative impacts.

I recently returned from the 2017 Stockholm Food Forum curated by the EAT Foundation and it is thrilling to report the incredible energy that is being applied right across the system. From community activists to academics, from business leaders to chefs, from investors to NGOs, from start-up food companies to high-tech high rollers – there is a sense of purpose that I believe is now unstoppable.

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To nourish with love is to care passionately about the food we eat, the food we share and how that food is produced: with love for Mother Earth. We can all nourish with love.

As Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener, says “planting a carrot can be an act of resistance”. We have the power to drive change. Why? Because the will is there. That will is feeding off the interplay between food and love. Danielle Gould, CEO Food+Tech Connect, says we need to “lead with love”. She’s right and we can apply that thought directly to our food. So we need to “nourish with love”. To nourish with love is to care passionately about the food we eat, the food we share and how that food is produced: with love for Mother Earth. We can all nourish with love.

We at SustainAbility are redoubling our efforts. We will apply our skills, experience, connections and passion in several areas: driving cross-sector learning – for example between pharma with food, and between emerging technologies and food. We will focus on value chains in the restaurant sector. We also believe that one of the most pressing needs is to improve First 1,000 Days nutrition and are committed to doing so through dialogue and trust building. We will share and collaborate wherever we can, so we look forward to your feedback on this issue.

About the author

Rob Cameron

@Rob_Cameron_

SustainAbility CEO working for just & sustainable future for all and fairness in trade (when not rowing, cycling or skiing).