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Sustainability of food systems: 5 steps beyond the EAT Lancet Report

Credit: A.Pasqual

A new paper highlights five areas of research and action that require more attention if we are to ensure a sustainable food system transformation.

Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both.”

This sentence- the opening statement of the EAT-Lancet Report published last year- perfectly summarizes the views and positions of a growing number of scholars and experts in the world.

Food production is indeed the largest current cause of global environmental change. Agriculture occupies about 40% of global land, and food systems are responsible for up to 30% of global greenhouse-gas emissions and 70% of freshwater use. At the same time, hundreds of millions of people are food insecure, with wide-scale undernutrition still occurring alongside increasing prevalence of overweight, obesity, and non-communicable diseases; leading many to conclude: “Our food system is broken, we need to fix it”.

In a paper recently published in Nature Food, a group of scientists argue that while technological innovation will indeed be part of the solution, it is important to better prepare ourselves and acknowledge in particular that the difficulties in fixing our food systems may be less about the technicalities of the changes, and more about the political realities and the social challenges attached to these changes.

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