Monday, August 4, 2008

Sustainable Food solutions and Waste management

Image: Food wasted in a week: US Department of Agriculture. In India food waste starts from the field due to poor storage and transport facilities at the farm end itself.

An immense opportunity waits to be tapped with regard to Food waste. Enough cannot be said of the amount of waste that is generated in particular by the consumerist mentality of the current generations in terms of food and several aspects relating both directly and indirectly to the food industry. The primary problem that can be seen clearly is one of distribution. The cycle of demand and supply can be met with much greater ease if only a strong distribution network could facilitate it. In India, the land of contrasts, the issue is always one of extremes- Of simultaneous drought and floods, of slums and high rise buildings that share a wall, of children who study in the dim light afforded by the street lamps while others live in over-lit mansions and most strikingly, of starvation and excess.

What will it take towards creating a food network that will be sustainable worldwide? The answer is complex on many levels and yet calls for immediate consideration, action and solution. With the liberal policies of globalization undeniably linking everyone together through good times and bad, no one is spared the consequences of the actions of the other. There are many simultaneous and conflicting consequences that arise as a result of our agricultural policies and the technology that is implemented. On one hand, there is an increase in yield per unit of land as a result of which there is less requirement to cultivate new land. This leads directly to facilitating the sustenance of numerous natural life forms and securing their habitats. At the same time, this comes at the cost of permitting enduring harm to natural resources such as water and soil by imbuing them with immense quantities of prolonged chemical exposure and this leading to a speedy deterioration on these fronts.

The immediate challenge confronting us now is in increasing the production of food to be able to meet the demands of the future without any harmful impact on the environment. Another significant challenge in this realm is to ensure that everyone has access to adequate food to live a fit and fruitful life.

In order to be able to live up to the needs of the future and tackle them successfully, a strategy must be concocted that will encompass the relevant policies and the technology required that will enable us to eradicate food uncertainty, food shortage, and undernourishment in a manner that is in harmony with an ecologically sustainable management of natural resources.

There is a need to connect with the learning that we garner from such a macro-perspective and an understanding of the global phenomenon, in order to apply this newly gained knowledge into our own immediate surrounding. Discipline begins at home and in this regard there are numerous examples of food waste that we can see all around us- our very own canteens and cafeterias, home kitchens etc are huge opportunities for creating a sustainable system of waste food recycling which can cater towards fulfilling many constructive and urgent needs of communities around us. Within this large spectrum of the food chain from pre-process to post-consumption to disposal, waste generation and utilization exist innumerable opportunities that make not only ethical and social sense but also have the ability to generate several layers of economic independence.

Attached are a few links of relevance in this regard.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.