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Wasting Food in a Hungry World

Posted 3 years, 6 months ago in SFYN Blogs

Are Food and Hunger two sides of the same coin? At the moment, we live with more around a 7 billion people on this planet. At the same time, we produce enough food for 12 billion people. Nevertheless, almost one billion people suffer from malnutrition and hunger. How is that possible? Read more about Carlo Petrini thoughts on ‘wasting food in a hungry world’.

Written by Alessandro Zeppegno
Photo credit: Martina Camporelli

We live in the 21st Century and still people die because of hunger and malnutrition; 800 million people do not have access to or do not have enough food. Even in the Western world people die because of limited access to food. At the same time almost 40% of all the food we produce ends up as waste. Carlo Petrini: “This situation is very difficult to understand.” Not only in the Western countries we are wasting food. We are also ‘losing’ food in African countries, due to the fact that some food cannot be transported from rural areas to other areas. Besides, a lot of biological food cannot be sold because of some esthetical issues. Some food do not meet the standards of the market and can be seen as ‘ugly’. Another reason for wasting food refers to financial speculation: sometimes it costs more to collect all the fruits on the lands. But also waste in households plays an important role: the waste that is caused by any of us by not using all food products we buy.

So, why did we let this happen? After a crisis, you have the feeling to produce more and more. In Europe, the philosophy became to waste food, because the resources of this planet were infinite. This situation as it is in Europe, and in the world, does not sustain any longer. According to Carlo Petrini we have to change the mentality, we have to change the paradigms and we have to change the way in which we produce our food. However, it is hard to change a system that has been the system for hundred years. That’s why we need to change our lifestyles to be able to make a structural change.

The system is based on a global level that often results in monoculture. But what happens at a local level is just as important, if not more important. Carlo Petrini “The global economy is decided by big powers that are more powerful than governments. But we want local economies.” According to Carlo Petrini, people have to engage themselves in the local economy, not only for themselves, to sustain themselves and to get access to the food, but also for the community and to help the local farmers. Carlo Petrini: “Farmers know their local product much better than any scientists, economists or agronomists.” The economy has to become community based, producers and consumers have to be on the same side.

Carlo Petrini: “If together we can create these community-based economies, things will change.” Monoculture will transform into diversity. Diversity will lead to a wide range of food products and a rich biodiversity. Individuality will make place for community and everybody will be included in the local economy. Local, diversity and community-base are three key elements to establish a more sustainable agriculture.

Carlo Petrini: “If you want to change the world, don’t do it with sadness, do it with joy."

Nothing is impossible.