Our vision for the food system
Food production is the single greatest impact humans have on the environment: the wasteful, high impact practices used by Big Food to produce our meals are driving deforestation, draining our freshwater reserves and exhausting our soils – and account for over quarter of our global greenhouse gas bill.
Meanwhile, around a third of all food produced worldwide is wasted. This is a dangerously reckless approach to feeding the world – and it can’t last. Quite simply, food production driven by profit is destroying our chances of feeding ourselves in the future.
We are delighted that our model is being used far and wide by many organisations! Feel free to use but please make sure its source is correctly attributed with the following reference: Model developed by Carina Millstone for Feedback (2017), www.feedbackglobal.org
Our current food system – linear and wasteful
Here’s our current, linear food system. It requires huge quantities of resources to grow, process and transport our food, and wastes a vast amount in the process (around a THIRD of food produced is wasted around the world). Our current food system is constantly growing, requiring more resources, including land, and further encroaching on the natural world. And yet we don’t need a bigger food system to feed everyone fairly: we need a better one.
A sustainable food system
We believe there is an alternative. Our vision for the food system is of a circular food system, one which gobbles fewer resources to produce food, and loses far less food in the form of waste.
In fact, a defining principle of our circular food system is that food previously seen as ‘waste’ actually has value, and can be used as a resource. Ideally this surplus food should be used for the purpose it was originally intended: usually this means that if food is still fit for human consumption, it should feed people. If not, it should be repurposed to feed livestock and fish, and finally, fed to soils through compost and manure. All three levels of the food system – humans, animals and soils – need to be fed and replenished to create a sustainable future.
As what was formerly seen as ‘waste’ is reused, less waste pollution through landfill disposal is created, and less resources are needed to produce food in the first place (because we are using almost all of it, instead of throwing it away, we don’t need to produce as much). Overproduction and relentless growth are reined in – this means land is no longer under unnecessary cultivation, enabling the natural environment to flourish and our planet to regenerate.