Ideas for change

This page contains some examples, and will be expanded over time based on input from producers, food producers and, we hope, you. Here are a few ideas to start with that can help to reduce your diet’s impact on the planet.

Take…

A steak…
Meat consumption is reaching increasingly unsustainable levels and the environmental costs of such an unbalanced diet are enormous. Producing a kilo of beef using industrial farming systems releases on average 36.4 kilos of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (the livestock industry produces 14,5% of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, a higher percentage than the transport sector) and requires around 15,500 liters of water and 7 kilos of plant-based feed. Continuing to eat meat at the rate to which the West has become accustomed (and which developing countries are now approaching) is unsustainable. This is also because excessive consumption is closely linked to the suffering of animals in intensive farms.

…what you can do
Eat less meat, of better quality, from farms that take care about the welfare of their animals and the quality of their diet. Choose local breeds and buy lesser-known cuts of meat to help prevent waste.

A shrimp…
Have you ever wondered where the shrimp on your plate come from? Often they come from the tropics, where they are fished intensively. But stocks are close to the maximum limit of exploitation and the techniques used to catch them are devastating to the environment. So are farmed any better? No, because vast swathes of mangrove forest are destroyed every year to make way for shrimp farms, with serious consequences for the environment and small-scale fishers.

…what you can do
If you don’t want to give up eating shrimp and prawns, then make sure they come from seas local to you. But the best option is to choose lesser-known but equally delicious alternatives like langoustines, slipper lobsters and other crustaceans.

A banana…
Globally, the banana industry is controlled by five multinationals that grow the fruit on huge plantations, using massive amounts of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and fungicides, and often exploiting local laborers. After the harvest, the bunches of bananas start a lengthy journey, first by ship across the ocean and then by road to warehouses where they are ripened before being sold. The market is dominated by just one variety, Cavendish, while the many others are ignored.

…what you can do
Make an extra effort: when buying bananas, choose organic and fair trade fruit, which offer better guaranteeof environmental and social sustainability.

Snack cakes and sodas…
Are you sure the best snack is an industrial cake and a sugary drink? Maybe you don’t know that industrial sodas—sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and full of additives and coloring—are one of the main causes of obesity. Or that snack cakes almost always include palm oil among their ingredients. Large areas of rainforest are cut down every year to make way for oil palm plantations.

…what you can do
Think a little harder, take a little more time and try replacing unhealthy industrial snacks with something more wholesome: an organic fruit juice, some freshly squeezed OJ or a homemade smoothie. Bread, butter and jam; a homemade cake. Doesn’t that sound good?

The garbage…
If you’re not careful, every time you fill your shopping cart, you’re also filling your garbage can. Don’t believe it? Where do all the plastic bottles end up, the excess packaging, the food you bought but didn’t get round to eating and the food you didn’t even buy—the apple with spots, the crooked carrot—because it never made it to the supermarket? The figures for global food waste are shocking: In North America and Europe, each of us wastes around 280 to 300 kilos of food a year. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, millions are suffering from hunger.

…what you can do
Pay closer attention to what you buy. Choose seasonal produce, which hasn’t travelled thousands of miles to reach your kitchen, and if possible, buy directly from the producer. Learn how to cook and use up leftovers, which can be turned into meatballs, croquettes and timbales.

Work in progress! Here you’ll find some initial information about Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018. Come back in June for the full program of the event.