World Food Day: 4 tips for sustainable eating

October 16 has been declared by the UN as World Food Day. The theme for World Food Day 2020 is “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future”.

This marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with a view to looking towards the future we need to build together.

In this article, we look at what we can do to encourage sustainable food systems and nourish our bodies.

Dietitian Mbali Mapholi says our future food systems need to provide affordable and healthy diets for all and decent livelihoods for food system workers while preserving natural resources and biodiversity and tackling challenges such as climate change.

“We have an issue of food insecurity, issues of malnutrition with all its forms and we cannot live into the hands of the government, we need to also find our solutions to our own problems,” she says.

Below, Mapholi shares her top four actions that as a dietitian she recommends people can take as means to try to save our lives and the planet.

Choose a variety of foods

Without a doubt, a healthy diet contributes to a healthy life. When we choose to eat a variety of foods, we encourage a variety of foods to be produced. This is not only healthier for our bodies but healthier for soils and our environment because a diverse diet favours biodiversity.

Eat seasonally

Did you know that you reduce your carbon footprint when you buy produce that’s in season? When food is out of season in one part of the world it has to be imported and travel a long way before it arrives at your local market. Eating seasonal food can also be riper, tastier, and more nutritious.

Buy local

Whenever you can support local producers of food by buying locally grown fresh food, such as from a farmers’ market in your community. In doing so, you are helping smallholder farmers that produced the food, your local economy and you are encouraging crop diversity.

Grow your own food

If you have a green space at home, access to a garden, or a balcony with space for plant pots, you can learn how to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You’ll learn a lot about how food is produced and grow your appreciation for all the work that goes into cultivating produce. A door-sized vegetable garden can easily feed a household of five people.