Why do Food Systems need Sustainable Entrepreneurs?
Published on: 23.09.2021
Food literacy, why does it matter
Imagine this situation, a six-year-old kid munching an apple ask you: who made this apple; where do apples come from; this apple tastes like the rainbow, are there blue apples, and so on. Depending on where you are located in the world, some mandatory food origin labels and certifications would help you give an exact answer. But there are numerous countries without a food regulation framework in place that would make origin labels and other certifications mandatory. Thus, many people lack information about the food they are eating or the food systems it goes through. Food literacy matter, not only to give correct answers to curious kids, but also because as a customer is crucial to understand the impact of our food choices on the environment, our health, and economy.
From the farm to the classroom
You may have heard about the findings of a survey conducted by the Innovation Center at the United States Dairy in 2017. According to the survey, seven percent of adults, or over 16 million people, believed that chocolate milk was made by brown cows.
Besides making the headlines, such findings bring attention to the need for education on agriculture, nutrition, agro technology, agrarian economy, in schools. In addition to learning how to make healthy choices, food literacy provides food skills to children and secondary school students. They learn how to cut food waste, plan and prepare healthy and affordable meals, but most importantly, they understand and develop critical thinking skills about issues related to food systems. All of these help younger generations make informed decisions, understand and get involved in the sustainability of food.
What makes food sustainable?
Every factor involved in the journey from seed to food waste management defines a sustainable food system. Therefore, it involves the development of local economies, decent work conditions, and sustainable livelihoods of the farmers that make the food.
It promotes the protection of diversity and welfare of farmed species, animals, crops, marine habitats, etc. Further on, food sustainability focuses on existing or innovative practices that avoid damaging, overusing, and wasting natural resources or contributing to climate change.
Another important element of food sustainability goes beyond production and consumption. Food systems have a social and educational impact both in local and urban settings. Food is an element that can build communities anywhere. For example communities of urban farmers or urban beekeepers have been growing. Such practices not only raise awareness of local economic opportunities and food safety, but also have an impact on local policies, infrastructure development, and other innovations.
Finding a career in food sustainability
People interested in making a career related to food can explore several industries, from growing, processing, delivering, and sales links in the food systems. Those jobs vary from farmer to sustainability consultant. They require a certain role in management or decision-making. Thus, jobs like farmers, cuisine chefs, grant development and proposal specialist, agronomist, consultants, researchers, policy analysts, and entrepreneurs leave room for personal initiatives, especially the entrepreneurial path.
Agriculture and food are related to a considerable number of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Numerous entrepreneurs who have joined the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition over the years had a focus on sustainable agriculture, food security, women empowerment, decent work, responsible consumption, food waste, and circular economy. They promote practices such as local producing and eating, slow food, crop rotation, zero food waste, fair trade, organic agriculture, innovative infrastructure, financial investment for small scale farmers, skill development, and skill preservation especially indigenous growing techniques, eco-packaging, reduced CO2 emissions, and even food of the future.
Do you have an idea or project that promotes sustainability in the food systems and helps tackle concerning issues such as unsustainable water use and pollution, deforestation, and biodiversity loss, overfishing, CO2 emissions, animal cruelty?
Join the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition by September 30th. Take the free online entrepreneurship training and find a network of young and experienced entrepreneurs from all over the world.