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Sustainable Gastronomy

Food and agriculture are at the core of our civilization and prosperity. Yet, ending world hunger remains one of our greatest challenges, with 309 million people still facing acute food insecurity in 2024, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (UN WFP). This highlights the importance of SDG 2: Zero Hunger, which seeks to achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. To raise awareness about these issues, we must recognize the importance of sustainable gastronomy.


When we waste food, we are squandering valuable resources that could have alleviated hunger. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that food waste annually uses over 140 million acres of agricultural land, 5.9 trillion gallons of fresh water, 664 terawatt-hours of energy, and 14 billion pounds of fertilizer. Meanwhile, global food waste amounts to one-third of all food produced annually, or 1.3 billion metric tons. This amount could feed two billion people, more than twice the number of undernourished people on the planet, according to the WFP. Furthermore, food waste contributes to climate change, with its production and decomposition processes accounting for 4% of the United States' yearly greenhouse gas emissions. Addressing food waste requires systemic changes, including improved inventory management, surplus food redistribution, enhanced farming and distribution practices, and shifts in consumer behavior, all of which are central to the goals of sustainable gastronomy.


While global progress has been made in promoting sustainable food practices, local efforts remain crucial. This year's Sustainable Gastronomy Day thus introduces initiatives like Sustainable Gastronomy Restaurant Week, themed "More Taste, Less Waste." Organized by World Food Forum (WFF) and FAO, the campaign launches in cities like Rome to creatively address food waste by emphasizing fresh, seasonal ingredients and sustainable cooking methods. In this regard, businesses can play a crucial role as partners in these efforts to scale up solutions for resilient and sustainable food systems, including but not limited to supporting small farmers, enhancing agricultural productivity, and fostering investment and knowledge sharing in agriculture. For example, The Michelin Green Star Awards recognize restaurants excelling in sustainable and eco-friendly culinary practices. These businesses aim to reduce waste throughout every step of the supply chain and work directly with suppliers and vendors striving to do the same. Restaurants like Atelier Crenn in San Francisco are part of this program. This 3-star Michelin restaurant focuses on locally sourced, biodynamically grown produce, maintains a meat-free menu, and composts food waste at its regenerative agriculture hub.

Emphasizing sustainable gastronomy means advocating for practices that minimize waste, leverage local resources, and actively involve communities, as opportunities to reduce waste exist at every step along the supply chain. This holistic approach ensures that everyone, regardless of their background or location, has access to nutritious food and a place at the table.


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