If you’ve watched any David Attenborough programmes / nature programmes / read or watch the news, you’ll know that there is a growing pressure on the global food system. We are over-farming, producing too much food and creating too much waste. The global population is growing at an astonishing rate – it is expected to increase to over 9 billion by 2050.
To produce more food using our current methods is unsustainable, we would require more land, more water, and more non-renewable energy, which are finite resources… BUT there are some things we can do to reduce our pressure on the global food system:
1. EAT LESS MEAT
Why? Raising livestock not only contributes significantly to the greenhouse gases that are being released into the atmosphere – either directly from the animals themselves or indirectly from the resources that go into raising them.
I am not asking you all to become vegan overnight – I don’t think I could do it myself! But there are small changes we can all make to reduce our meat intake:
- Do meatless Mondays
- Do a meat-free week once a month
- Opt for eating veggie most of the time but eat meat on special occasions / when you go out
2. THROW OUT LESS FOOD
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year. In the UK alone it is estimated that annual food waste is 10 million tonnes, which has a value of over £17 billion a year. So what can you do to reduce this?
- SHOP SMART – Check your cupboards before you go shopping and create a food plan + shopping list of the things you need.
- FREEZE IT – Freeze food such as leftovers, bread, fruit, and meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.
- LEFTOVERS FOR LUNCH – Keep any leftovers to eat the next day, add to tomorrow nights dinner, or simply pop leftovers into a freezer proof container and reuse later that month.
- RECYCLE OR COMPOST – if you absolutely must throw out your rotting fruits and vegetables, you can compost them or recycle them in your local food waste!
3. EAT LOCAL + SEASONAL
Buy your food from local farms and eating local food, especially in season, is often a good way to support sustainable farming practices. It means your food has a much smaller carbon footprint, and also supports the local economy! It also encourages us to eat a wider variety of foods than we would when shopping in a supermarket.
In terms of pricing, it’s also usually cheaper to buy your fruits + veggies there than at a super market!
In terms of animal welfare, you can chat to your butcher about where the meat has come from (when you do buy it) – ensuring you’re supporting ethical free-range practice!
4. BRING YOUR OWN
Plastic is a major problem, but I don’t want to bang on about how bad it is for the environment when David Attenborough’s already done that for me (check out the last episode of Blue Planet 2 for more)! Things you can do to reduce your plastic usage:
- BAG FOR LIFE – don’t forget it when you go to the shop!
- COFFEE CUPS – ask your barista to fill yours up instead of their disposable ones with the plastic lids – a lot of places gives you money off for this! I use a keepcup (they’re not that expensive and great quality)
- STRAWS – the UK has officially declared war on straws, but some drinks (G&T, for example) taste better through straws, plus it’s nice to have something to stir with! You can buy a cheap set of reusable metal straws from Sainsbury’s for only £7.
- CUTLERY – a lot of food stands / cafes only stock disposable cutlery – and while some of this is wooden and therefore better than plastic, it has a horrible texture. To get around this, bring your own set – this Joseph Joseph set is only £14!
- RECYCLE – if all else fails, ensure you clean and recycle your plastics (you can check which plastics can be recycled on your local council’s website)