A yarn with my sustainably FED colleagues the other day generated a skirmish or two around the global food challenge and two pointy questions.
Do we truly believe in this whole sustainably FED idea?
Did we have enough evidence to say that ecology is the engine between food production and diet making FED the way to achieve genuine sustainability?
I qualified the pregnant pause with something along the line that everyone must pay attention to food, ecology and diet, each and in combination. Delve deep into the connections for feeding everyone. This is essential to move humanity beyond the 2%for30 year food production conundrum into the hundred-year demographic transition.
We all thought for a moment then said, “yes, and yes” to both questions.
An unequivocal yes.
Our experiences observing nature, our research over the decades, and the practicalities we have dealt with or seen others overcome in the real world of food production and conservation have convinced us.
Thinking ecologically is the best option we have.
This does not mean we reject intensification or technology solutions but that they are embedded in process thinking and a reverence for natural capital.
And the solutions already exist.
All around the world, there are farmers, supply chains and consumers getting FED right. Already there is sustainably FED in practice only the scale is small. There is plenty of room for expansion, new ideas and innovation everywhere.
We believe it.
But beliefs are unscientific
Beliefs and opinions are unscientific.
After all, a belief is ‘an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof’ or ‘trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something)’. Not exactly what to expect from healthy sceptics peddling eCourses in the scientific method.
Except that all sceptics are also human. Therefore there is a brain that can’t help itself from forming an opinion and an emotional engine that drives our conviction.
So no apologies.
Our opinion is founded on our reading of the scientific literature, our own research and lived experience. We arrived at this thinking from being bombarded with the evidence over decades.
We believe sustainably FED can help our readers and students generate solutions for a sustainable future for humanity and not just because the idea gives us purpose and massages our ageing egos.
We are not the only ones either.
Check this recent quote from researchers around the world
Business as usual is not an option if the world is to equitably, ethically and nutritiously feed its human population while meeting its sustainable development aspirations in a climate resilient way with minimal emissions (IPCC, 2019). A seismic shift in both production and consumption sides of the global food system is necessary (Davis et al., 2016; KC et al., 2018) and where appropriate, efforts to scale up and out better practices need to be rapidly deployedStringer, L. C., Fraser, E. D., Harris, D., Lyon, C., Pereira, L., Ward, C. F., & Simelton, E. (2020). Adaptation and development pathways for different types of farmers. Environmental Science & Policy, 104, 174-189.
And here is another one
There is consensus that the global food system is not delivering good nutrition for all and is causing environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity, such that a profound transformation is needed to meet the challenges of persistent malnutrition and rural poverty, aggravated by the growing consequences of climate change.Wezel, A., Herren, B. G., Kerr, R. B., Barrios, E., Gonçalves, A. L. R., & Sinclair, F. (2020). Agroecological principles and elements and their implications for transitioning to sustainable food systems. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 40(6), 1-13
We are keen for you to think ecologically too — the ‘E’ in FED.
If you do already then sustainably FED can help you apply your ideas to feeding a hungry planet without destroying its essence.