My name is B and I’m from London (that’s not me in the photo). As a believer that “actions speak louder than words” I took it upon myself to be the sustainable food advocate amongst my friends and travel 10,553 miles from London to Sydney to learn just how it’s done.
Imagine my surprise when I was told those doing it best were only 300 miles away. Not to say that Sydney isn’t booming with the adoption of better food practices, farmers markets and sustainable food systems, I just wish I’d booked a connecting flight via Amsterdam…
A 2014 survey conducted by Oxfam America looked at the 125 healthiest countries in world and Netherlands was awarded the number one spot! The survey was based on a range of factors including food availability, affordability, quality, and the rate of diet-related illnesses. Netherlands took the top spot as compared to its other European rivals, they have lower food prices and better nutritional diversity. So a country that is better known for its liberal drug laws also celebrates a winning diet consisting of mostly vegetables and diary…an interesting mix!
Despite high obesity levels (27%) Australia came fourth on the list joining with Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal – countries that celebrate quality produce. UK, America and Canada didn’t feature at all – surprised? Probably not. But for countries that spend on average 17p of every £1 on food it’s definitely a cause of concern and something that will need to be addressed for the sake of future generations and their access to affordable, good quality food.
This survey was produced not as a recommendation for the next best eating holiday spot – although the Netherlands is lovely, but to instead raise awareness that around the world one in eight people go to bed hungry despite there being enough food for everyone. The report highlights issues of over consumption, mis-use of resources and increasing food wastage. Driving awareness of these issues worldwide helps to create a better perspective of the country you’re living in and the lessons that can be learned from those doing it a little bit better.
What can we do?
Change starts with one person so don’t let the gravitas of the situation stop you from getting involved. There are small everyday choices we can make to go against these negative statistics and take ownership of how we interact with food. Here a few food related hints and tips that can make a difference:
- Trade up: decide to buy something free range, organic or responsibly sourced that you’re not already doing.
- Plan ahead: sounds simple but by deciding what you’re going to eat/cook for the next few days will aid in what you buy and reduce wastage.
- Buy wonky: some much great produce gets thrown away because they don’t look exactly the way we think they should but they are fine to eat so dig in!
- FIFO: stands for First In First Out so when you’re unpacking the shopping into the fridge/cupboard – bring the older products to the front. That way they’re less likely to get forgotten and go bad.
- Use it all: tempted to cut the skin off everything? Maybe think about keeping the skins on foods like potatoes and cucumbers or the stalks on broccoli. The skin is usually where the most nutrition is so enjoy.
For a more details visit Oxfam America