High Profile Magazine
Marcela has worked with multinationals leading the way in sustainability (Unilever, Quorn, Divine Chocolate, the UK’s highest-ranking BCorp), and as a food entrepreneur seeking to transform how we produce and consume food. Marcela is studying a Masters in Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University, specialising in circular, regenerative agricultural models.
Food lovers’ steps to protect the planet
I love food, it’s one of life’s most immediate and deepest pleasures. It’s also becoming clearer how the food we put in our bodies has such a powerful effect, both on our health and that of the planet. So, let’s take steps to ensure we make that effect a positive one!
1. CUT THE WASTE
Food waste is a big problem. It is said that we need to double the production of food to feed 9 billion people, but the truth is that we already produce enough food for everyone on the planet… the trouble is, 30% of all the food produced is wasted! This has serious repercussions for the environment -and for households’ budgets. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA.
With the average household throwing £700 into the bin by throwing out edible food, there are many opportunities to make some savings… You can reduce food waste at home by freezing leftovers, or make sure to use what my grandma called “the smell test”: just cover things and use your nose.
Among the most-wasted foods is bread, and Friends of the Earth has 40 ideas on what to do with bread! Worth a look!
2. EAT MORE PLANTS
Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and huge amounts of water and feed. This is the biggest driver for deforestation, and then, the vast majority of the food produced is not even for humans, but for animals. With global meat consumption soaring 500% between 1992 and 2016, it is clear we need to rebalance our diets by choosing plant power and reducing our intake of animal proteins. There are lots of choices available on the market now!
3. EAT MORE VARIETY
75% of the world’s food supply comes from just 12 plants and 5 animal species. Greater diversity in our diets is essential as the lack of variety in agriculture is both bad for nature and a threat to food security. Knorr and WWF have identified the Future 50 Foods that can help reduce the environmental impact of our food system, whilst also improving your health!
4. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
What’s better than fresh, home-grown produce straight from the garden? As well as being healthy and delicious, home-grown has virtually no carbon “foodprint” compared to shop-bought food that had to travel for many miles to reach your plate. This year, I will grow tomatillos again to make an awesome delicious and zingy Salsa Verde. I will also grow various beans and peas, chard and beetroot. In fact, it will be time to sow the seeds very soon – why don’t you give it a go too?
5. TRY NEW APPS
I love Pawprint. It is an app and online tool that helps you measure, understand and reduce your carbon footprint from the palm of your hand. Giki is pretty cool too, it is a free mobile app that provides ethical and sustainability information about more than 250,000 products. It can tell you anything from whether the packaging is recyclable to whether ingredients, including palm oil, were sourced responsibly.
What other tools do you use to reduce your carbon footprint and to help you make better, more sustainable food choices? I’d love to know!