At Feedback, we believe everyone should have access to secure, nutritious food – and we believe we should be able to do so without trashing our planet in the process. At the moment, food production and retail are controlled by corporations that prioritise profit over protecting the environment or feeding people healthy food. This is having devastating consequences, which we urgently need to address.
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 accounting 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.
Feedback’s plan for a better food system
Our food system is broken, firstly because it is linear – in other words food travels in one direction, from production and processing, to consumption and disposal. In the process, huge quantities of resources are used to grow and transform our food, including petrochemicals and fossil fuel energy. Then we generate significant amounts of pollution in disposing of it, for example through landfill.
The second problem is that our food system is growing beyond what our planet can sustain. All along the process of growing, processing, distributing and consuming food, vast amounts go to waste (a third of all food grown, it is estimated). And because no one bears the cost of these losses, nor of the wider environmental impacts of agriculture, our food system is characterised by overproduction. Despite the fact that millions of people go hungry worldwide, millions also suffer the health costs of overconsumption – and we all suffer the environmental impacts of wasting precious water, land and energy on growing food that is never eaten. The fact is, we don’t need a bigger food system, we need a better one.
HERE’S WHAT OUR CURRENT, LINEAR FOOD SYSTEM LOOKS LIKE:
BUILDING A CIRCULAR, STABLE, LOW-INPUT FOOD SYSTEM
This better food system would gobble fewer resources to produce food, and lose 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 is reined in.
These ‘best use loops’ create a small, circular, low-waste system that fits within the limits of our planet, while feeding everyone on a fair basis.
That’s where we need to get to – and pretty quickly, because currently our food system is the single biggest problem standing in the way of tackling climate change, biodiversity loss and other major environmental problems.
We believe we can secure nutritious and delicious food for all without trashing our planet – but we need to work together. We need to take ownership of our food and how it gets to us, including holding the companies who produce and sell it to account.
Feedback needs your support, and your voice, to help us pilot real alternatives to our current food system, and to campaign to call out big business where we need to, and campaign for governments to catalyse change.
The solution means getting together, getting our hands dirty and growing a food system that nourishes us as well as the planet.