eating planet 2012
barilla center for food & nutrition

Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition

nutrition today: a challenge for mankind and for the planet
advisory board

Barbara Buchner, Claude Fischler, John Reilly, Gabriele Riccardi, Camillo Ricordi, Umberto Veronesi
in collaboration with

Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C. Nourishing the Planet Editor: Danielle Nierenberg The European House – Ambrosetti Editor: Luigi Rubinelli editorial production Edizioni Ambiente srl Editorial Supervision: Anna Satolli Design: GrafCo3 Milan Infographics: Tati Cervetto English Translation from the Italian by: Antony Shugaar; chapter 2 by Jonathan Hine Charts, graphic elements, and tables that do not explicitly states their source should be assumed to be the creations of the authors. © 2012, Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Via Mantova 166, 43122 Parma, Italy © 2012, Edizioni Ambiente Via Natale Battaglia 10, 20127 Milan, Italy tel. 02.45487277, fax 02.45487333 Printed in April 2012 by Genesi Gruppo Editoriale – Città di Castello (PG) Printed in Italy This book was printed on FSC-certified Munken Print White paper
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BCFN: the Answers to Three Paradoxes preface Mario Monti.12 Bringing Healthy Food Everywhere 1.6 1.1 1. Small and Large food for all 1.7 1. the challenges of food introduction Danielle Nierenberg. The Political Challenge of Food executive summary XV 3 XI 1.eating planet 2012 Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition nutrition today: a challenge for mankind and for the planet introduction Guido Barilla.4 1.9 How Rich Nations Squander Food New Techniques for the Transformation of Food Eating Better School Lunches and Nutrition Buying Local Rethinking the Green Revolution Yields and Environmental Sustainability Food Sustainability and Climate Change Integrated Animal Husbandry for Better Sustainability 10 14 15 16 17 18 18 20 21 21 22 26 28 28 30 32 32 33 food for sustainable growth food for health 1.5 1.2 1.14 The Role of Health Structures .10 Not by Calories Alone 1.11 The Role of Vegetables 1.8 1.13 The Importance of Information 1. Worldwatch Institute: It’s Possible to Work at All Scales.3 1.

2 The “Food Paradox”: Underlying Causes 2. Agricultural Policies Must Take into Consideration the Health and Well‑being of Human Beings action plan .10 Principal Results of the 2011 BCFN Index 2.18 Incentivize Employment of the Young the three objectives of food 1.1 The Global Scope of Food Security and Access Problems 2.5 Variables of the Model 2.7 Gross Domestic Product Versus Indicators of Well-being 2.4 The BCFN Evaluation Model 2.11 The Different Dimensions of Sustainability interviews Paul Roberts.8 Subjective Approach Versus Objective Approach: Different Outlooks in Terms of Measuring Well-being 2. In Access the Key Factor Is Diversity Ellen Gustafson.17 Popularization “In the Field” 1.VI eating planet food for culture 34 36 36 38 38 39 42 1.16 New Computer and Communications Technologies 1.9 The BCFN Indices of Well-being and Sustainability of Well-being 2.3 Possible Areas for Action a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices 2. How to Respond to Market Excesses facts & figures access to food: present and future challenges 2.19 Increasing Awareness about the Importance of Agriculture 2.6 Strategies for Controlling Volatility 46 50 52 53 56 62 67 67 68 75 81 82 84 86 89 91 95 95 98 102 new tools to measure and promote well-being 2. food for all introduction Raj Patel.15 Relaunching Agricultural Systems 1.

food for sustainable growth introduction Carlo Petrini.1 3.3 3. Virtual Water Between Underconsumption and Poor Management action plan .2 3.7 The Sustainability of the Systems Used to Grow Durum Wheat: the Barilla Case the water economy and the emergency it confronts 3.4 3.8 The Availability of Water: from Abundance to Scarcity 3.11 National Water Footprints and the Trade in Virtual Water 3. Paying What’s Fair facts & figures the double pyramid: healthy food for people.5 The Food Pyramid as an Educational Tool Some Studies of the Mediterranean Diet The Environmental Pyramid The Double Pyramid for Growing Children The Double Pyramid over the Long Term 106 112 114 116 118 121 124 129 131 136 138 150 151 155 156 160 164 167 167 170 173 toward sustainable agriculture 3.6 Current Leading Agricultural Paradigms 3.10 Choices and Behaviors for Sustainable Water Consumption 3. The Challenging Transition Toward Sustainable Agriculture Tony Allan. Herren.table of contents VII 3.9 The Right of Access to Water: Reality and Prospects 3. and sustainable food for the environment 3.12 Water Privatization and its Implications interviews Hans R.

VIII eating planet 4.10 Diet and Lifestyle and Their Effects on Longevity and Diseases of Aging 4. Companies Must Behave Responsibly Aviva Must.3 The Most Common Guidelines and Dietary Models 4.7 Guidelines for Healthy Diets and Sound Lifestyles in Children and Adolescents 4. Longevity.12 Recommendations interviews Marion Nestle.9 Demographics.2 Guidelines for a Healthy Way of Eating and Lifestyle 4.8 Recommendations longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition 4.1 A Few Key Figures: Global Trends in Chronic Diseases and their Social and Economic Impacts 4.4 Recommendations food and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow 4. and the Economic and Social Impacts of the Principal Diseases 4.11 Inflammatory States and Caloric Restriction: Possible Interventions to Slow the Aging Processes 4. Lifestyles Influence the Way We Age action plan 176 180 182 184 187 191 193 193 194 196 206 207 209 213 218 222 225 227 227 231 234 238 . The Responsibility for Children Must Be Shared Alex Kalache.5 The Spread of Obesity and Overweight in Children and Adolescents and the International Economic and Social Impact 4. Agriculture.6 Nutrients in the Different Phases of Growth 4. Food. Nutrition and Health facts & figures food for a healthy life 4. food for health introduction Ricardo Uauy.

9 Food Today: Challenges and Perspectives 5.1 5. Whoever Controls Food Controls Democracy Michael Heasman.6 5. food for culture introduction Shimon Peres. We Must Construct a Culture of Responsibility Vandana Shiva. Gender.3 5.5 5. Food for Peace—a Call for the Mobilization of Goodwill 242 facts & figures the cultural dimension of food 5.14 Mediterraneity Today: the Decline of a Model 5.13 The Mediterranean Diet and Commensality 5.10 Toward a New Vision of Nutrition 5.table of contents IX 5.12 The Salient Characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet 5.11 Guidelines for Redefining Man’s Relationship with Food the mediterranean culture: the value of a lifestyle and a culinary tradition 5.2 5.7 The Relationship Between Food and Culture: the Origins How Food Contributes to Communication and Conviviality Delight and Disgust: the Cultural Classification of the Edible Food: Social. The Consumer Culture War and the Food System: What Does This Mean for the Mediterranean Model? action plan notes .4 5.8 The Great Culinary Traditions 5.15 How to Recover the Significance of Mediterraneity interviews the great culinary traditions and the reality of food today Joaquín Navarro-Valls. and Power Roles The Symbolic Value of Foods in the Major Religious Faiths Food Prohibitions: Food and Purity Food and Culture: an Indissoluble Bond 244 246 246 248 248 250 253 254 255 255 256 261 262 264 267 268 272 273 280 282 282 284 286 289 290 5.


Three. the activity of raising livestock contributes substantially to the phenomena of climate change. The first paradox has to do with the coexistence on this planet of more than a billion people who are suffering from hunger. independent. scientifically accurate way. This however should not discourage us. One third of the entire world production of food is destined for consumption by livestock. but if anything. The underlying causes for these situations are not easy to identify and solve. The second paradox has to do with the presence on the planet of approximately three billion head of livestock. The growing awareness of these imbalances has driven us to think about the most effective ways to communicate and to involve anyone who might be interested in exploring these topics further in a serious. And yet.XI introduction by Guido Barilla * bcfn: the answers to three paradoxes We live in an era that is characterized by a number of global paradoxes. they should serve as a way of encouraging us to identify and propose new and effective solutions. A growing share of farmland is being set aside for the production of fuel. have long attracted our attention and reinforced our belief that we are giving birth to a research center with innovative and entirely original characteristics. involve. In fact it is estimated that it is responsible for at least 50% of all agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases. consequences that take the form of grave metabolic diseases such as. communicate. Once again. By so doing. From this need to inform. these are models we should rethink. in the face of an equivalent number of people who are suffering the consequences of excess of nutrition. a center for providing analysis and proposals with a multidisciplinary approach that has the objective of exploring in greater depth the major issues linked to nutrition and food on a . already. we decided to found in 2009 the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN). the global food system is capable of ensuring an adequate nutritional intake for all human beings now alive on the planet earth. diabetes. as of this writing. Moreover. in particular. The third paradox is bound up with a further form of the improper use of resources on the planet earth: competition between biofuels and food. we choose to put fuel in our cars instead of giving food to human beings in need. for instance. and debate with a view to coming up with solutions.

including the International Forum on Food & Nutrition. a body composed of experts belonging to different but complementary sectors. climate change. analyzes. one or more specific advisors have been identified: Barbara Buchner (an expert on energy. which proposes. The BCFN is designed to pay close attention to society’s emerging needs. Gabriele Riccardi (a nutritionist). valuable ideas have emerged in recent years: with a view to understanding in what way diet and nutrition affects our . and the environment. is meant to understand. and the environment) and John Reilly (an economist specializing in environmental issues) for the Food for Sustainable Growth area. Umberto Veronesi (an oncologist). For each area. after which it formulates concrete recommendations concerning those issues. last of all. and Camillo Ricordi (an immunologist) for the Food for Health area. encouraging an ongoing and open dialogue. The Food for All area takes on the issue of access to food and malnutrition. In line with this general approach. on the one hand. and render more significant the relationship between man and food. Food for Health. Guided by institutional timeframes and by the priorities present in terms of international economic and political agendas. and develops issues. I believe. Food for Sustainable Growth. It has moreover organized events open to the members of civil society. Claude Fischler (a sociologist) for the Food for Culture area. In its first three years of operation. a major opportunity for international interactions with the leading experts in the sector. The Food for Health area has undertaken a process of study of the relationships that exist between diet and health.XII eating planet global scale. health. The Food for Culture area. now on its third annual edition. the center has undertaken and produced numerous scientific publications. From the work of this group of experts. with a view to making it possible to undertake a more equitable distribution of food and encourage a more favorable impact in terms of social well-being. Mario Monti (an economist and policy maker) for the Food For All area. hence the subdivision of the themes studied here into four macro-areas: Food for All. it has reinforced. The Food for Sustainable Growth area explores the issues of the sustainability of the agro-alimentary supply chain. gathering experience and qualified expertise on a worldwide level. and political decisions and government actions on the other hand. with the goal of thinking seriously about how best to encourage better governance of the agro-alimentary system on a global scale. The complexity of the phenomena explored in this context has made it necessary to adopt a methodology that goes well beyond the boundaries of the various disciplines. and Food for Culture. its own role as a collector and connecter between science and research. the activities of the BCFN are guided by a multidisciplinary Advisory Board. describe. through a balanced use of natural resources and a steady reduction of negative impacts on the environment.

Just three years after the creation of the BCFN. Mario Monti. Ellen Gustafson. whom we would like to thank here: Tony Allan. Michael Haesman. we developed the environmental and nutritional double pyramid. political leaders.introduction XIII state of health. Moreover. in order to establish a landmark on our journey and begin to consider new developments. . Aviva Must. with the analysis of the Water Economy and the nutritional guidelines of the leading international medical and scientific bodies. This is how Eating Planet came into being. but also for the work that we do. we believe. with a special focus on children. with the development of the BCFN index of well being. Alex Kalache. and Ricardo Uauy. Danielle Nierenberg. Vandana Shiva. Marion Nestle. Nobel laureates. * President Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. Paul Roberts. It demands. The book that we have put together struck us as the best possible way to document our passion: for man and for his daily life. we have also undertaken indepth explorations concerning proper nutrition at various ages of life. which demands that we look at more than just our corporate profitability. that we lend a hand in an attempt to create a better world. Raj Patel. Carlo Petrini. and world-renowned experts. Shimon Peres. Hans Herren. with the contributions of scientists. Joaquín Navarro-Valls. we have decided it would be useful to offer a summary of what we have developed thus far.


because it sinks its roots deep into the structures of society. or almost immediate. I should make two observations concerning specific aspects of the topic of food and the contribution that the EU. As a result. There are 27 nations. Therefore we must guard against the risk of reversibility as soon as a solution to the problem is glimpsed. After all. the risk of reversibility. can supply. action. alone. are infinitely more complicated problems that are more deeply rooted in our economic system and our society.XV preface by Mario Monti * the political challenge of food ** Why did I feel a strong intellectual attraction for the work that the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition has been doing over the past several years? Because I believe that the enormous problem of access to food represents a synthesis of the difficulties that those who work in the fields of market competition and global governance find themselves dealing with. and by considerable concerted efforts toward a general coordination. Thus. even though the solution of the financial imbalance may be daunting to achieve. as well as structures to implement those laws. At least in the case of financial issues and other macroeconomic problems. we tend to become frightened. In that connection. once a prob- . we have however observed a dangerous trend: when a problem becomes a real emergency. I’m optimistic about the European Union. with much farther reaching and longer lasting consequences. on a short term basis. in particular. we tend to go back to our old ways of doing things. and laws. decisions are being made in an emergency situation. institutions. This is what happened with the financial crisis. First of all. This means that. as well. The minute that the problem seems to be somewhat less urgent and sensitive. which was followed by immediate. solving these problems is an infinitely longer term matter. we have decision-making bodies. Agriculture and food. We live in a context in which. we are willing to give up part of our national sovereignty because we believe that cooperation is the only way to solve the problem. and no region of the world. more or less everywhere. as well as food security in its financial repercussions. could solve the problems of the financial system. demanding a prolonged effort. An awareness of an emergency surrounds the topic of access to food. it is obvious that no country alone.

we have seen to their implementation and supervision. is not an excessively ambitious model of planning to be implemented worldwide. “how” to undertake the distribution desired) come back full-force into the domestic and global political arena. and distribution (that is to say. is where the food sector most closely resembles the financial sector. For various reasons that have to do with issues of sustainability. President of the Bocconi University. the eating habits of consumers—is fundamental. understood as the possibility of achieving access to food. as far as food security is concerned. all the considerations concerning equality. inequality. There are a few proposals on the subject that I consider to be effective. in a country. are the protagonists of the market. in my opinion. And of course it is fundamental to encourage economic development and promote the increase of agricultural productivity. we have put together—pretty quickly by European standards—a new system of rules guaranteed by specific authorities. if you like.XVI eating planet lem emerges from the state of acute emergency. A third crucial aspect is the modification of the food production and distribution chain in an attempt to manage growing price volatility and ensure the existence of safety nets. but also due to considerations of individual and family health. it is clear that a potential reinforcement of global governance is fundamental. this is a sector that should receive much greater investment—in parallel with energy savings and respect for the environment from consumers (private citizens and industry). Let us take as an example the financial crisis: after all. This. Member of the . beginning of course with the idea of once again assigning a central role to food in the international political and economic program. governance does not mean blocking entrepreneurial initiatives: governance means governing the markets in general terms. and now those rules will remain in place even once the emergency is over. Quite to the contrary. what is needed. Therefore. Allow me to make a slightly more general macropolitical observation: we might say that one of the weak points of the world economical and political models over the past twenty years has been a decline in our focus on distribution. * Mario Monti (Prime Minister of Italy and also the Minister of Economy and Finance of the Italian Republic. I believe that the context in which it is possible to achieve the greatest return in terms of effectiveness is the capacity to establish increasingly good relationships between political tools and market reactions. and businessmen. that is. is less grave in the European Union. or in a group of countries. on a European level. thanks to the excellent work done by the European Parliament. like users and consumers. But now. But even the conclusive point on the production chain—which ends where the food reaches the end users. More specifically. together with the European Council and the European Commission. Governance does not mean repression.

preface XVII Advisory Board of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition from February 2009 to November 2011. 2011. . ** The considerations set forth in this essay were originally developed on the occasion of the workshop “Can the European Union Face Up to the New Geopolitical and Economic Challenges of Access to Food?” organized by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition at the European Parliament on June 15.


eating planet nutrition today: a challenge for mankind and for the planet .


and support concrete and sustainable development projects to define and diffuse solutions and instruments for developing nations. we are talking about: • building a system of commercial exchanges that is transparent. food for all encourage economic development in the poorest nations Hunger is a direct consequence of poverty. as has happened in recent decades under the pressure of their growing availability—and the failure of the mechanisms of distribution to operate properly.3 executive summary In this section we provide a selection of the most important actions in the field of food and nutrition. to highlight the move toward more coordinated and shared activities to improve health and protect the environment that are characterized in this book. export subsidies. In particular. is often the most important sector toward which we should channel investments and encourage the creation of adequate structures of regulations and laws and good systems of incentives. . which constitutes the sector that contributes most substantially to the growth of income for the weakest sectors of the population in developing nations. “responsible.” and based on multilateral rules capable of guaranteeing greater access to food on a worldwide level. implement. make it necessary to move past the paradigm of the marketplace as a system capable of self-regulation. It is hoped in general that there will be drop in the use of trade barriers. in the key sectors for economic growth. and other restraints of trade. reinforcing the mechanisms of global governance The particular nature of nutritional goods—which cannot be reduced to the mere status of commodities. Agriculture. It is therefore necessary to identify. and likewise with regard to the coordination of global policies and the reduction over time of unilateral protectionist policies.

. it has been observed that a reduction in the stockto-use ratio of cereal grains corresponds. over a sufficiently broad time horizon. then. encourage the use of new approaches and tools to measure and promote widespread well-being When we establish the general overall lines of economic policy there is a need to free ourselves from an excessively narrow view of well-being. restricted to its distinctive economic traits. Instead we should include the vast array of real facts that contribute to define the overall social. to an increase in the price levels while. There is a close tie between variations in stock and price fluctuations of food commodities. in a more transparent form. manage ways of eating Government action and the approach of nutritional models designed to take into account a general profile of sustainability is destined to become a decisive variable in political economics. the actual role that this phenomenon plays in influencing the increase in price levels of agricultural goods is still being widely debated. but rather a case of increasing in real terms the quality of the public decision-making processes. • creating a multilateral system of food reserves and improving transparency in terms of volume flows and stocks. the one thing that we can state with a relative degree of confidence is that financial speculation in the agricultural commodities market can amplify short-term volatility.4 eating planet • preventing the cultivation of crops for the production of biofuels from inter• regulating excessive financial speculation on food commodities. in the final analysis. and environmental conditions in which people live. This aspect is taking on concrete outlines in developed nations. This approach will also become crucial for the developing nations. Even though fering with the cultivation of crops for food. in contrast. Moreover. economic. not merely a matter of defining better indicators. and tumoral diseases and illnesses that derive from improper ways of eating. cardiocirculatory. in an attempt to face up to a health-care emergency that is linked to the rapid spread of metabolic. politic. a rise in the stock-to-use ratio tends to drive down prices. by setting forth a future time horizon (sustainability of well-being as against current well-being) there is the opportunity of finally being able to introduce into the public debate on policy decisions the topic of the consequences of today’s choices on future well-being. generally speaking. In particular. given the impact that it will have on the global balances of production in the realm of agriculture. This is not.

The search for solutions based on approaches that use reduced energy consumption and elevated knowledge content will in fact become one of the decisive aspects of sustainability. The factors at play are numerous (quality of the soil. availability of water. built in order to meet the challenge of phenomena of relative scarcity. It is particularly important to spread practices. but certainly one of the most significant themes with a view to the future will be the issue of the availability of energy. With special reference to future generations.) and reduced emissions. etc. something that has positive effects on one’s health and also helps to safeguard the environment. etc.). entail smaller environmental impacts in terms of the consumption of natural resources (land. without leaving the children themselves out entirely. water. The problems that arise in connection with water resources must be solved with integrated policies.executive summary 5 food for sustainable growth use the double pyramid to encourage healthy nutritional behaviors and environmentally sustainable choices Following the model of the Double Pyramid means adopting a proper diet in nutritional terms. focuses on parents and on the school system for the nutritional education of the young. The various approaches to the Double Pyramid that are proposed. and management tools. it is therefore necessary to undertake a process of collective responsibility that. guarantee widespread access to water and encourage better worldwide water management It is necessary to reinforce the commitment and the responsibility of the public institutions to guarantee access to drinking water and to adequate sanitation infrastructure for the most disadvantaged populations. encourage a balanced mix of agricultural models The global agricultural system shows a variety of aspects of fragility with which it will be necessary to deal in a positive manner through the promotion of a balanced mix of agricultural models. . in fact. models. know-how. and technologies to increase water productivity (more crop per drop) and reduce wastage. promoting the necessary investments and removing restraints of a technical and political nature. adaptation to atmospheric phenomena.

which at different times of the day take care of children. obesity. medical and scientific discoveries. encourage good behaviors and lifestyles from childhood on for better adult health The evidence in favor of the exceptional importance of a proper approach to diet and food from the earliest age appears to be undeniable. Despite the lengthening average life expectancy. and intense link between lifestyle and health. maintain an adequate diet throughout your life Over the last hundred years. The guarantee of good eating habits for children and adolescents seems necessarily to involve the implementation of a concerted effort. and the food industry). vegetables. tends to reduce to a significant degree the negative factors that cause disease and infirmities in individuals and. stretching from forty-five years at the end of the nineteenth century to roughly eighty years in 2010. tumors. and cereal grains. adopting a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. inasmuch as there exists an elevated correlation between behavior and diet in the earliest years of life and the onset of disease in adulthood. pediatricians. thus improving the lives of individuals. and the constant improvement of medical and health technology. and encourage cooperation between the various entities and players involved (including the food industry) in properly feeding young people. fats. presents convergent factors in terms of health. adopting a balanced diet. In that sense. From the studies that have been carried out it has become clear that it is indispensable to promote the further exploration of existing scientific knowledge about childhood. diet therefore plays a decisive role. These results are the outcome of improved living conditions of the population. and metabolic syndrome. direct. in some case. life expectancy at birth has practically doubled. cardiocirculatory diseases. the product of the contribution of multiple subjects (school. diabetes. A balanced diet with low content of sugars. from the earliest phases of life. In the context of individual choices. health doesn’t seem to be improving at the same rate: about 80 percent of all elderly people (older than . in order to encourage proper food-related information and the promotion of a culture of prevention. which is less thoroughly studied than adulthood. premature death. family. and salt and with a high content of fruit. for instance.6 eating planet food for health adopt a balanced diet and an active lifestyle to prevent widespread major chronic diseases There is an unmistakable. In brief. such as the Mediterranean diet. are factors capable of minimizing at the same time and in parallel the risks of the onset of overweight.

as well as the benefits that can be obtained through regimens of caloric restriction with optimal nutrition. recovering age-old flavors capable of being renewed into a contemporary taste. returning to a healthy relationship with the territory and with the context of the raw material by focusing on the excellent quality of the ingredients.executive summary 7 sixty-five). such as the Mediterranean culinary culture. What is needed is a concerted effort. taste. through a critical operation that makes it possible to preserve the best of the culinary tradition. suffers from at least one chronic illness and roughly 50 percent are afflicted with two or more chronic pathologies. It is a matter of making the most of these aspects of conviviality. though not so much to achieve a longer lifespan. and an intact social structure. protecting local territorial varieties by preserving the wealth of identities. and enjoyment of life in order to live with close ties to one’s food It is necessary to revive a number of fundamental dynamics proper to the culinary cultures that are most focused on the bond between food and the individual. an alliance among the various entities that. in order to reorient the lifestyles and ways of eating toward modes of consumption that are more sustainable in terms of health. in fact. the environment. transferring the expertise and know-how linked to the preparation of foods. but rather to live healthier and longer. action must be taken. The scale of the challenge is so great that it demands capacities to intervene that vastly outweigh the power of individual players. for a significantly longer time. . food for culture recovering and spreading the elements of culture. remains capable of implementing cooperative games aimed at the promotion of a new culinary paradigm. Therefore. In the face of a growing life expectancy and a dramatic increase in the spread of the leading chronic pathologies it is likely that—in the near future—mankind will experience for the first time in modern history an old age characterized by an average quality of life that is less than optimal. which may involve research into such particularly innovative fields as the link between inflammatory states and the onset of chronic illnesses. while it preserves the distinctive character of competition in the relationships among the operators in a single sector. educating toward a new ecology of food We must make a grand overarching deal among all the players in the world of food—including public institutions—who are increasingly concerned about the devastating consequences of the bad food choices being made by the citizens of the world.

3 1.2 1.10 1.1 1.19 Increasing Awareness about the Importance of Agriculture .7 1.18 Relaunching Agricultural Systems New Computer and Communications Technologies Popularization “In the Field” Incentivize Employment of the Young the three objectives of food 1.13 1.17 1.14 Not by Calories Alone The Role of Vegetables Bringing Healthy Food Everywhere The Importance of Information The Role of Health Structures food for culture 1. Small and Large by Danielle Nierenberg food for all 1.12 1.6 1.11 1.15 1.table of contents introduction Worldwatch Institute: It’s Possible to Work at All Scales.5 How Rich Nations Squander Food New Techniques for the Transformation of Food Eating Better School Lunches and Nutrition Buying Local food for sustainable growth 1.8 1.16 1.9 Rethinking the Green Revolution Yields and Environmental Sustainability Food Sustainability and Climate Change Integrated Animal Husbandry for Better Sustainability food for health 1.4 1.

the challenges of food The Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project strongly recommends the importance of developing and encouraging new strategies for satisfying the worldwide demand for food in fair and environmentally sustainable ways. . 1. In this chapter. we identify existing challenges in the food system and highlight ways to alleviate hunger and poverty while also protecting the environment.

and most food is produced with pesticides and artificial fertilizers. an amount we had never dreamed of earning in a lifetime. including bank accounts. affordable. Most poor households can’t afford high quality food. and the rice and other staples they buy are inferior products—rice grains are often broken or riddled with dirt and stones. land or financial services. the challenges of food Worldwatch Institute: It’s Possible to Work at All Scales.000 rupees [US$350] per season. conserve water. a group of women farmers and food processors is changing the way Indians eat.1 SEWA members sort and package rice. who has been a member since 2003. Ninety-three percent of the female workforce in India is nonunion. and build soils.” says Surajben Shankasbhai Rathwa. India. But by involving women in food production SEWA is helping women better their livelihoods by becoming more self-sufficient. and they’re providing an important community service by producing healthy. During a meeting in early 2011 they wanted to know . marketing it under their own label. a trade union bringing together more than 1 million poor women workers. and sustainably grown food to local consumers. Fifty-four percent of SEWA’s members are small and marginal farmers.2 But the women in SEWA are not only interested in what’s going on in their own community—they’re also interested in what farmers thousands of miles away in sub-Saharan Africa are doing to combat climate change. Small and Large Danielle Nierenberg.10 eating planet 1. “We now earn over 15. Director of the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project In Ahmedabad. making these women nearly invisible—they don’t have access to credit. and at a SEWA-run farm outside the city women are growing organic rice and vegetables and producing organic compost on what was once considered unproductive and “marginal” land. These women belong to the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). These women earn more income and eat better than before.

. By working with local residents. The organization also improves local food security by training members of women’s groups to grow and market organic vegetables. togo Les Compagnons Ruraux is an NGO based in Togo that educates farmers living in the Kpalimé Cloud Forest about sustainable agriculture practices. medicinal plants. the organization aims to keep young adults from migrating to cities. including agroforestry and intercropping. and locally processed palm oil.boy and the bucket.

environmental sustainability.fao. and maize—and has neglected indigenous foods that provide not only calo- 1. soil degradation. “Hunger Statistics. poverty. and vibrant rural and urban economies. These are problems in India and Africa alike.350 1. .020 925 925 estimated millions of people 825 1969‑71 1979‑81 1990‑92 1995‑97 2000‑02 2004‑06 2008 2009 2010 2011 figure 1.1 Hunger in the world (1969‑2011) Source: Worldwatch Institute elaboration of data from FAO. and the environmental impacts of agriculture— including deforestation. the Western food system has been built to promote over-consumption of a few consolidated commodities—including rice.” www. as well as in other parts of the developing world.050 900 750 600 450 300 150 0 878 853 845 857 873 915 1. water scarcity.200 1. and malnutrition. foodrelated diseases are on the rise. 4 Over the last three decades. high food prices. and GHG emissions—are increasing. There’s no doubt that the current food system is broken: vast amounts of food are wasted in both rich and poor countries. they are one step toward enabling agriculture not only to feed the world but also to nourish livelihoods. agriculture contributes to one-third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. wheat.12 eating planet what they could learn from their counterparts in an area of the world facing the same challenges—erratic weather events.3 we’re at a turning point. And while SEWA’s training farms and agricultural credit services won’t change the global food system on their

If we begin now. and disease.introduction | the challenges of food 13 ries but also essential vitamins and micronutrients and tend to be resistant to heat. we can build a better strategy. One result is that 1.5 But the challenges we face will not be easy to overcome. and road map for the global food system—a system that nourishes both people and the planet by finding ways to make food production and consumption more economically.5 billion people in the world are obese or overweight and thus at higher risk of diabetes. on rooftop gardens in Vietnam. It’s been roughly half a century after the Green Revolution. at research institutes in Taiwan. This needs to change. drought. cardiovascular disease. however. in edible school yards in the United States. yet nearly 1 billion people in the world go to bed hungry each night and several billion suffer micronutrient deficiencies (figure 1. environmentally.1). The solutions are out there—in market garden projects in rural Niger. Agriculture is at a turning point. at dinner tables in Italy. and in communities all over the world—but they are not getting the attention and the investment they need. vision. and socially just and sustainable. and other maladies. .

9 According to Olivier De Schutter. and protect the environment. “Traditional ways of looking at hunger are unhelpful because they focus on aggregates and increasing production. Djibouti. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia many farmers and consumers are earning just US$1–2 per day. where hunger receded dramatically throughout the 1990s. Some 11 million people are at risk of starvation in Ethiopia.6 Nearly 4 million Somalis. and corruption. More than 265 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are considered malnourished—approximately one out of every four Africans and one out of every three sub-Saharan Africans. World Bank data show that food prices increased 15 percent for many developing countries between October 2010 and January 2011 alone. the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) Food Price Index has recorded a 70-percent jump in international food prices. the number is 53 million. In Latin America and the Caribbean. however.” Governments. NGOs. and funders have invested in increasing production and improving yields rather than on the more neglected parts of the food system that have potential to improve livelihoods. Since 2007. Worldwide. decrease malnutrition. The famine is not the result of just one bad drought—although the region is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years—or one failed policy. more than half the population. many households can afford only staple crops such as rice or cassava.7 The problem of hunger is not confined to Africa.8 Food prices also continue to increase (figure 1. the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Somalia. Instead of being able to buy nutritious beans. for example. violence.14 eating planet food for all Famine reemerged in the Horn of Africa in 2011.2). It’s the outcome of decades of ignoring smallholder farmers and pastoralists and dismissing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on the region. as well as of pervasive conflict. which fill people up but provide very few nutrients. South Sudan. could be a way to help fill bellies and pocket books in both devel- . What’s needed are more investment to prevent waste from field to fork and a stronger focus on food aid and local school nutrition programs. reminding the world that hunger and malnourishment continue to be a cruel reality for many of the world’s poor. eggs. Kenya. that price spike has pushed an estimated 44 million people into poverty. and Uganda. after falling steadily throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Asia has the greatest number of hungry people: 225 million people in India. meat.10 Preventing the millions and millions of tons of food waste that occurs annually. According to the Bank. development agencies. 41 million in Bangladesh. making any increase in food prices especially painful. or vegetables. is now creeping back up. more than 1 billion people are undernourished—a number that. are in need of immediate emergency aid.

1 how rich nations squander food Even countries such as the United States. dispose of edible fish at sea. happening all along the food chain—a few percent is lost on the farm. a few percent in storage. and plant breeds designed to extend shelf life—still squander vast amounts of food. www. crop storage remains woefully inadequate. wasting crops in the places that need them most. and other wealthy nations—which have mastered the art of preventing food losses with climate-controlled storage units and refrigeration. Most farmers don’t have access to proper grain stores. the first World Food Conference (in Rome) called for a . chemicals that inhibit fungi and molds.11 In poorer countries.12 1. refrigeration. France. Much of it ends up in landfills instead of our stomachs. drying equipment. over-order stock at grocery and “big box” stores.2 Volatility of food prices (1990‑2011) Note: The 2011 data are the product of averaging the individual months. or other post-harvest storage and processing technologies. Food Price Index. drying equipment. oping and developed countries. and another few percent at markets and at home. Source: FAO. Food waste can total an astonishing 30 percent of the for all | the challenges of food 15 350 300 250 price index 200 150 100 50 0 sugar cereals meat oils dairy 1990 1993 1996 1999 2002 2005 2008 2011 figure 1. and purchase too much food for home consumption. We throw away cosmetically imperfect produce. fruit crates. As long ago as 1974. especially those in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. the United Kingdom. a few percent during transport. It is insidious.

16 “When we open up the bag.14 Another simple technology with great potential to reduce crop loss and waste is hermetic sealing: storing crops in re-sealable bags. The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is working with farmers to apply a non-toxic. In Mauritania. Very few donors. a smallholder farmer in northern Nigeria. unfortunately. “Because of the quality of the cowpeas. safely outcompetes and virtually eliminates the toxic strain. during the rainy season herders typically dispose of around 500 liters of milk per day because they have too much milk to . and other health problems. which prevents exposure to oxygen and moisture and inhibits the growth of dangerous fungi. trademarked as Aflasafe.16 eating planet 50-percent reduction in post-harvest losses over the following decade. cowpeas (black-eyed peas) are an important staple crop. Burkina Faso.2 new techniques for the transformation of food Finding better ways to process foods can also help prevent food waste. Purdue University researchers have helped farmers use inexpensive. and improved storage for half the area’s cowpea harvest would be worth US$255 million annually to some of the poorest people in the world.000 villages in Benin. food contamination by aflatoxin. the PICS project expected to reach 28. hermetically sealed bags— Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS)—to prevent pests and mold from attacking harvests.” says Balarabe Kausani. and Togo by the end of 2011. stunting. dairy production is important for both nutrition and incomes. you can add 20 percent to the price. That goal remains unachieved. making it an effective bio-control with the potential to save farmers millions of dollars per year and protect human health at the same time. Unfortunately. and preventing waste remains a vastly underfunded dimension of the agricultural development process.” In addition to preserving an important seasonal crop year-round.13 But reducing this waste can be simple. Mali. Aflatoxin contamination is caused almost exclusively by consuming food that has become moldy because of poor food storage. especially for women farmers. The strain developed by IITA. The bags also keep out insects and suffocate any larvae already present.17 1. locally occurring strain of the fungus prior to harvest. it looks the same as the day I stored it. a toxic fungus that can lead to liver cancer. for example. Nigeria. and wealthy consumers remain uninformed about how their (over)buying habits impact the environment. Niger. and help ensure safer transport of crops from farm to market. Cameroon. and effective while improving health and nutrition. Consider. inexpensive. are investing in helping farmers and food processors find better ways to store and manage crops post-harvest. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. the PICS bags also save farmers money on expensive—and toxic—pesticides.15 In Western Africa. Ghana. Senegal. Chad.

throughout the year. solarpowered driers and dehydrators are helping to preserve abundant harvests of mangoes. In the United Kingdom. is available. and there are many examples of successful programs to do this from around the world. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is actively promoting such home-grown initiatives. making it an important staple when very little other food is available. The same herders suffer extreme nutritional deficiencies in the dry season when very little food. Love Food. For instance. a nonprofit organization established in 2000 that works with businesses and individuals to improve knowledge and usage of resources and cost-efficient recycling programs.000 tons of food from landfills over the last decade. and other countries. The group’s work has resulted in the recycling of more than 1 billion plastic bottles a year and has helped divert 670. the organization Love Food. This method removes moisture and promotes maturity.20 Consumers are also changing their eating and buying habits to reduce waste. Hate Waste educates citizens on food waste issues and gives simple suggestions on how to reduce personal for all | the challenges of food 17 sell or drink themselves. These collaborations provide steady and guaranteed income to smallholder farmers and fresh and nutritious foods to schoolchildren. 21 1. another way to deliver maximum value from food produced is by improving nutrition. school breakfast and lunch programs in Asia and Africa that rely on local and regional food sources are reducing child malnutrition and improving school enrollment while also boosting farmers’ incomes. helping to increase yields.3 eating better Besides reducing waste. saving consumers over US$970 million annually. providing important vitamins and nutrients to people all year long. The ulog (A-frame collapsible dryer) in Bolivia and the artisanal solar timber dryer in the Caribbean are allowing farmers to dry a number of different crops. including milk. which link local agriculture with in-country school programs. or hunger season. when villagers are most food-insecure. 19 There are many novel and income-generating ways of transforming foods so that they don’t go to waste. This value-added product can be eaten during the lean dry months. In northeast China. In Bolivia.18 In 2010 Counterpart International. India.22 . and other fruits. Hate Waste is a project of the Waste and Resources Actions Programme. papayas. such as tomatoes and potatoes. a global development organization that focuses on food security and governance. launched a multi-year assistance program that includes teaching women and subsistence farmers in Mauritania to turn milk into dried cheese. Dried cheese retains higher levels of protein and fat than other dried milk products. China. farmers tear the husks off maize cobs in the ripening stage so that the cobs can dry while maturing on the stalk.

Much of this food is eaten by the children in the school canteen.26 The children who did attend school received meals that were often of poor nutritional quality because of inadequate funding. roughly 30 percent of all school children in the country. school lunches reach 1. Twenty-five percent of what they grow is given to the needy and the rest is sold for profit. where a national school lunch program is funded through the government.8 percent where they weren’t available. says Ouattara. so that “even if we’re not there. food aid in sub-Saharan Africa is now coming from farmers in the region rather than from thousands of miles away. Thailand’s school food program does not mandate where individual schools get their food. radishes. but many children stopped going to school because of the violence.23 In Thailand. the conflict that erupted after a coup d’etat in 2002 had a huge impact on agriculture and education in the northern part of the country.” says Ouattara.” Their hope is that by educating children they can also change how parents cook and eat vegetables through “trickle-up education. The students grow kale.8 million primary school children and 700. The students and teachers know how to keep the operation going. Mariam Ouattara. onions. eggplant. compared to 2. half of which has been funneled into scholarships for students. haricot blanc (white beans). Much of the maize.4 school lunches and nutrition Ghana began its own Home Grown School Feeding Program in 2005.” And when children eat. Food from the Hood is a group of student gardeners that began in Los Angeles after the 1992 riots. and 16 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. organized a women’s group to start growing organic food and cook meals for the children. whether it’s gang violence in Los Angeles or political violence in Cote d’Ivoire. Enrollment in schools where meals were served increased by 20.3 percent.000 pupils in 200 schools across every district in the country. but the WFP estimates that approximately 90 percent of participants purchase vegetables and meat from local producers. . an NGO in N’Ganon village. The program is estimated to have assisted more than 1 million children in 2010. As a result.27 The project started with 300 students working with about the same number of women in the community to grow rice.000 kindergartners. eggplants. “it’s easier for them to become better students. and other crops.5 buying local In the same way. while the surplus is sold to help maintain the garden and the canteen. the program was reaching 69.24 School feeding programs can be especially important in areas where there’s conflict. Not only did yields and incomes decrease.”28 1.18 eating planet 1. cabbages. School retention rates increased by around 10 percent for schools with the programs. the president of Chigata Fettes et Development (Women and Development).25 In Cote d’Ivoire. By the end of 2006. “we can do the program. tomatoes.

.self employed women’s association products in vadodara in gujarat. SEWA has more than one million members and helps train women farmers and food processors how to grow. package. and market organic rice. India. spices. These foods are higher quality than the food typically available to poor consumers. and the women sell them under SEWA’s own label. and other foods. india Goods produced by the Self‑Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in the village of Gujarat’s Vadodara.

WFP also works through its partners. Agriculture was blamed for many of those problems. conservation farming. they are preparing Zambian farmers to provide high-quality food aid not only to programs and consumers in their own country but also potentially to growing regional and international markets. and other foods consumed locally have long come from the United States. but as the way forward in a world of declining fossil fuel resources and increasing hunger and poverty. Today more and more of the crops provided as food aid come from African farmers selling directly to the WFP through local procurement arrangements. and soil degradation.” according to Felix Edwards. Zambia. Sierra Leone. business leaders. In Liberia. support.29 In Zambia. they have also disrupted national and local markets by lowering prices for locally grown food. This way. activists. and Asia. and investment.S. for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Africa. WFP is not only buying locally but helping small farmers gain the skills necessary to be part of the global market. farmers are finding ways to feed themselves and their communities. food for sustainable growth In June 2012. not as naïve. Brazil. WFP buys food directly through the Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange while remaining “invisible. policymakers. WFP Zambia avoids distorting prices and helps create an alternative means for farmers to access markets through a network of Exchange-certified warehouses at the district level. including deforestation. the Rio Earth Summit was a call to action. scientists. water scarcity. mobilizing individuals and organizations everywhere to address the world’s most serious environmental challenges. soy. But today agriculture is emerging as a solution to the planet’s pressing environmental problems—and agro-ecological approaches are seen. and journalists will gather in Rio de Janeiro. and other agro-ecological practices were considered backward and inadequate ways to feed the world. biodiversity loss. and while they have provided much-needed calories. and several other nations in sub-Saharan Africa (as well as in Asia and Latin America).30 Working with local resources and local innovations in Latin America. coordinator of the Zambia P4P Program. and even provide aid to the needy. organic agriculture. These are exactly the types of innovations that need more research. to help farmers and farmer associations meet the quality standards required by the Exchange.20 eating planet rice. Twenty years ago. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) PROFIT program. As a result. . And two decades ago. including the U.

6 billion people have been affected by significant land degradation resulting from large-scale agricultural practices associated with the Green Revolution.6 rethinking the green revolution In 2008. which helped.] We need to reinvent agriculture [. there was access to fertilizer. we want an agriculture which is self-sustaining. and in research institutes worldwide. the Green Revolution technologies of the past—although they were effective at increasing yields in the short term—have not been as effective in addressing the real problem of malnutrition. In other words. there was an environment. water pollution. et cetera. “The ‘Green Revolution’ ran out of steam long ago [. Several major research reports throughout the 2000s have painted an evolving picture of agriculture. Where it worked. Hans Herren. “Emphasis on increasing yields and productivity has in some cases had negative consequences on environmental sustainability. and NGOs to outline the current state of agricultural knowledge. Their major conclusion: that “business as usual” approaches to feeding the world were not working. researchers. while people in sub-Saharan Africa have remained poor and undernourished. The most striking results in decreasing poverty and increasing crop yields were seen in South Asia.”31 1. desertification. pesticides. Many of the poorest of the poor “have . 70 percent of freshwater withdrawals are for agricultural irrigation. in parliaments and board rooms. there were many factors involved.. it was not only just breeding of high-yielding crops. According to Dr. urbanization.” its benefits are unevenly spread. inputs. World Food Prize Laureate and co-chair of IAASTD. there were roads.. the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) was released.. is an agriculture that is not based on those inputs.” Nearly 2 billion hectares and 2. and other environmental challenges. And that’s why I think we need to reinvent [the Green Revolution] for sustainable growth | the challenges of food 21 This shift is happening in farmers’ fields. actually. one that shows how food production can help address climate change. 1. This monumental report took more than four years to complete and brought together 400 of the world’s leading scientists. What we want. The overuse and misuse of artificial fertilizers and pesticides have produced toxic runoffs which create coastal dead zones and reduce biodiversity. Today. causing salinization of water supplies in developed and developing countries alike. unemployment.7 yields and environmental sustainability According to IAASTD.32 Although the Green Revolution is considered a “success. development agencies.] Although the Green Revolution has promoted the production of more food.

” says Judi Wakhungu. medicinal products. We need a comprehensive approach to providing food security in Africa.35 table 1. said that “we are putting food that appears cheap on our tables. The concept of multifunctionality recognizes agriculture as a multi-output activity producing not only commodities (food. The WDR notes that GDP growth originating in the agri‑ cultural sector is twice as effective in reducing poverty as GDP growth starting in other sectors of the economy. and the biological diversity on which all our futures depend. agrofuels.” And in 2008. international governments need to make smarter and more targeted investments in rural development. and cultural heritages. Foresight report. soil. social.1). new tech‑ nologies. co-chair of the IAASTD committee. Robert Watson. According to the report. agriculture can drive rural development and stimulate econo‑ mies in developing countries. particularly women. but also non-commodity outputs such as environmental services.1 – the road toward agro-ecology 36 World Bank: “World Development Report 2008— Agriculture for Development” (2008) The 2008 World Development Report (WDR) highlights agriculture’s contribution to eco‑ nomic.and long terms.” The Green Revolution.22 eating planet gained little or nothing. says the report. and land. and political growth in sub‑Saharan Africa and Asia. “Addressing climate change and achieving sustainability in the global food system needs to be recognized as a dual imperative. According to the U. To make this a reality. tended to focus narrowly on yields and very little on biological interaction. Several other major reports also point to more environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger and poverty (table 1. chief scientist for the World Bank and the director of IAASTD.8 food sustainability and climate change The IAASTD report isn’t the only one to come to these conclusions. and policymakers must encourage local governments to implement agricultural and environmental sus‑ tainability measures more effectively. landscape amenities. is “the inescapable interconnectedness of agriculture’s different roles and functions. and ornamentals). Nothing less is required than a redesign of the whole food system to bring sustainability to the fore. on the other hand. says the Bank. “We need a more integrated approach that links agriculture to health.” according to the report.K. the World Bank World Development Report also recognized the need for agriculture to be more environmentally sustainable in the short.”33 “Agriculture operates within complex systems and is multifunctional in its nature. and also to education. are given better access to capital. but it is food that is not always healthy and that costs us dearly in terms of water. feed. to water security. and at least one out of seven members of the human family still goes to bed hungry each night. fibers. Global Food and Farming Futures. Dr. to energy services.34 1. . Multifunctionality. Agricultural development can only become a viable strategy if smallholder farmers.” according to IAASTD.

. The International Institute of Tropical agriculture (IITA) is working with cassava farmers in Nigeria to develop cassava varieties that are disease and pest‑resistant and high yielding. cassava provides a daily source of energy.woman peeling cassava in ibadan. The introduction of these improved varieties has already provided food for some 50 million people in Nigeria. They’re also helping farmers find ways to add value to cassava through processing the crop into gari and foo‑foo. nigeria. In many parts of Africa.

and emphasizes the threat it presents towards hunger. leadership can drive international action. with recommendations for the future. As the global community is increasingly mobilizing around hunger and malnutrition re‑ duction. and reducing poverty in some of the poorest countries in the world. and climate change by incorporating agroforestry. This report highlights 20 successful policies. This report looks at the challenges of climate change and analyzes their effects on food security. and support from the government—which the report recommends addressing by rewriting the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act and establishing the importance of poverty reduction and development in U. which Bread for the World claims leads the way for effective and sustainable development policy by focusing on bottom‑up. Bread for the World states that U. and NGOs. and more effective imple‑ mentation of AKST at the local level.24 eating planet International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge. particularly in Africa. and highlights its own role in these efforts. leaders must encourage smallholders to develop diversified farms that are resilient to pests. However.S. and illustrates how these accomplishments can provide both lessons and inspi‑ ration for continued efforts in the future. In particular. and food insecurity for millions of people. livestock. A major finding was that the one‑size‑fits‑all approach to agricultural development hasn’t worked. The report analyzes the causes of these price surges and provides recommendations on how to reduce the likelihood that a similar food‑price crisis will happen in the future. development assistance—a lack of technical capacity.S.S. disease. The World Food Programme stresses the importance of institutional support for these processes from the local. the report highlights the new Feed the Future initiative. Feed the Future suffers the same weak‑ nesses of other U. and cover cropping. IAASTD recommends a greater emphasis on agroecological farming techniques. and some regions of Central America. researchers. In the recent past decades. It took more than four years to complete and brought together 400 of the world’s leading scientists. local‑led approaches. and Technology for Development (IAASTD): “Agriculture at a Crossroads” (2009) The IAASTD highlights past. science. malnutrition. the poorest areas of southern and south‑east Asia. pro‑ grams. improving rural livelihoods and human health. and recommends a number of aspects in which its policies can be strengthened. climate change offsets some of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI): “Millions Fed— Proven Successes in Agricultural Development” (2009) The United Nations’ Environment Programme: “The Environmental Food Crisis” (2009) The United Nations’ World Food Programme: “Climate Change and Hunger” (2009) Bread for the World Institute: “2011 Hunger Report—Our Common Interest: Ending Hunger and Malnutrition” (Nov. To combat price vol‑ atility in the long‑term. significant progress can be made in eliminat‑ ing hunger and malnutrition. food price volatility. international leaders can create grain re‑ serves to be used as a buffer in times of emergency and eliminate biofuel subsidies that divert edible crops to fuel production. and investments in pro‑poor agricultural development in Africa. and international levels. The World Food Programme views climate change as the defining challenge of our time. fostering economic growth. present. and future agricultural development. and promoting eq‑ uitable sustainable development through a better understanding of agricultural knowl‑ edge. In order to address this. including who will be most affected and what policymakers can do to facilitate successful adaptation for the future. policymakers need to limit the effects of global climate change by incentivizing more energy‑efficient lifestyles and promoting agriculture’s potential as a tool to fight GHG emissions. Science. according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Conventional agriculture hasn’t recognized that agriculture and local ecosystems are dependent on one another. and food production problems have created increasing strain feeding the world’s hungry. Asia. and Latin America. which is being further compounded by the impacts of climate change. knowledge transfers. Dramatic food price increases in 2008 led 110 million people into poverty and 44 million people into hunger. The report summarizes its findings in four main messages: broad‑based economic de‑ velopment is central to improving living conditions. foreign policy. national. development agencies. the report states there is a growing consensus within the inter‑ national humanitarian community on the need to adapt global and local food systems through investments. The IAASTD focused on ways of reducing poverty and hunger. the rising world population. For the medium‑term. Farming. To limit food price volatility in the short‑term. By focusing on agricultural development. funding. This report analyzes the role of the United States in fighting hunger globally and its for‑ eign food assistance policies. smallholder development. and technology (AKST). focusing on improving both food access and food production. and Climate Change to 2050” (2010) . and innovations. 2010) International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI): “Food Security.

production‑intensive farming methods of the Green Revolution. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization: “Save and Grow” (May 2011) The Howard G. The Commission began in early 2011 and has launched its Summary for Policy Makers. and helps respond to climate change adaptation and mitigation. incorporating organic fertilizers and zero‑till soil management.” This “Brown Revolution” focuses on agorecological food production techniques. and agronomic factors that have created structural poverty and hunger in the African continent. The Commission is working to identify which policy changes and actions are needed to help the world achieve food security in the face of climate change.” or SCPI. The United Kingdom Government Office for Science / Foresight: “The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and Choices for Global Sustainability” (2011) The Foresight report was a two‑year project. incentivize energy efficient lifestyles and food pro‑ duction techniques. and health of their children who will then have a better chance to become productive and engaged citizens. economic. education. Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization: “The State of Food and Agriculture 2010‑2011” (2011) In developing countries. and academia. so it’s imperative to have their voices and concerns raised at the policy table. ecosystem. women do most of the farming but typically do not have access to land rights. involving over 400 leading experts and stakeholders from 35 countries. over 73 percent of farmers in Africa are considered small‑ holders. Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change: “Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change” (2011) . Foresight notes that balancing future demand and supply. and basin planting. advocates and international leaders need to promote diverse. nutrition. not exclusive. but rather through a grassroots “Brown Revolution. Female farmers are just as capable as men. One way to balance increased food production with the environment is to focus on “sustainable crop production intensification. and reducing food waste. legume planting. This “save and grow” approach to farming mim‑ ics natural for sustainable growth | the challenges of food 25 benefits of rising incomes. Buffett Foundation: “The Hungry Continent: African Agriculture and Food Insecurity” (2011) Climate Change. World Bank. But international leaders can work to balance food demand and supply by improving sustainable production. Leaders can also prioritize smallholder voices. This gender gap manifests itself as a yield gap on the farm. The report identifies critical food and ag‑ ricultural issues and possible policies and interventions for addressing those challenges. The FAO encourages farmers and policymakers in developing countries to reconsider the homogenous. This 350‑page text analyzes the political. implementing new science and technology. To combat hunger and climate change. they increase the food security. Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). or financial services. The report suggests that Africa’s recovery will not come from the same strategies used in Latin America and South Asia’s “Green Revolution” of the mid‑20th century. and help vulnerable populations adapt their food systems to chang‑ es in climate. The Commission focused on bringing together existing evidence on sustainable agricul‑ ture that contributes to food security and poverty reduction. water flows and pollination cycles. targeting the most vulnerable populations. The report also notes that as women become equal shareholders in the home. reduced tilling. European Union. will all be major hurdles. with a full report to follow in 2012. These farming methods maintain a long‑term vision of sustainability that will allow fam‑ ily farms to prosper. Closing this gender gap would not only empower women and strengthen communities but it could also boost agricultural productivity and bring as many as 150 million people out of hunger. Finally. international trade plays an essential role in mitigating some of climate change’s effects. and reducing loss in the food production system. policymakers need to prioritize rural de‑ velopment and poverty eradication. industry and civil society. such as soil conservation. context‑specific solutions to hunger and poverty. regenerative systems that are inclusive. These techniques have proven suc‑ cessful. and geographic context. including the United Nations. but their lack of support and resources reduces their harvests by an average of 20 to 30 percent. and protecting biodiversity. The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change is an initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change. cover cropping. Their policy recommen‑ dations include raising the level of global investment in sustainable agriculture. this means developing agriculture that is specific to its particular climate. reducing carbon emissions from agriculture. food price volatility. advocates need to get loud and busy promoting the benefits of agroecological farming and small‑scale. To help foster this type of agricultural renaissance. and investing in agricultural productivity improvements properly can enhance food security and mitigate the impacts of climate change. but adds inputs like fertilizers and pesticides in targeted amounts when necessary. with average yield increases of 80 percent in 57 low‑income countries. They also need to concentrate on conservation agri‑ culture. education.

Tanzania. rather than separating crops and livestock from nature. Because the trees “fix” nitrogen from the air and deposit their biomass and leaves on the soil surface. “We look at evergreen agriculture as a way of in fact assisting in reinventing agriculture for a more climate-smart farming in the future. Agroforestry. These fertilizer trees provide shade. wheat. is actually increasing. And while forests and grasslands are still rapidly declining. “It’s indigenous to Africa. Malawi.39 1. including Central America. Agro-ecology mimics nature. not dreamed up by researchers or scientists but has been a practice of farmers in places like sub-Saharan Africa for generations. the soils become increasingly fertile. preserving biodiversity. improve water availability. By using ducks and fish instead of pesticides for pest control in rice paddies. Kenya.9 integrated animal husbandry for better sustainability Farmers in Japan and other parts of Asia are also finding ways to add nutrients to crops without depending on expensive artificial fertilizers or toxic pesticides. plants. in fact. Dennis Garrity. and protecting crops from harsh sunlight.38 Integrating trees with crops can double or even triple yields compared to crops that are grown without a canopy. more than 30 percent of agricultural lands enjoy tree cover. destroys habitat for birds. calls this “evergreen agriculture”. The ducks . and other species. and Faidherbia trees. such approaches are highly complex. while protecting the environment at the same time. relying on the extensive knowledge of farmers and an understanding of local ecosystems. Gliricidia. Tephrosia.”37 This “reinvention” was. including sequestering carbon. and add the natural fertilizer nitrogen to soils. and many other countries. In some regions of the world. The trees also provide a variety of ecosystem services. these farmers are providing additional protein for their families as well as increasing incomes. the former director general of the World Agroforestry Centre. integrating trees with annual and perennial crops maintains green cover on the land throughout the year. stimulating higher crop yields. Dr. Clearing land for agriculture. is a good illustration of how farming and ecosystems can work together. And the trees that make this system possible are trees that are readily available to millions more farmers in the future. According to Garrity. according to the World Agroforestry Centre.26 eating planet But agro-ecology does not mean a return to old-fashioned or outdated practices. for example. On the contrary. Both perennials and annual crops can be used. millet. sorghum. crops such as maize. and vegetables are being grown along Acacia.” says Garrity. Zambia. whether it’s in the Brazilian Amazon or the rainforest of Congo. In Indonesia. the number of trees on farms. agro-ecological systems integrate farming with the environment. Sesbania. prevent soil erosion. especially of cereal crops.

insects. demonstrated higher resistance and greater sustainability than conventional farms immediately after the storm. while also increasing yields. or those engaged in agro-ecological or sustainable land management practices. the International Rice Research Institute reports that these systems have resulted in 20 percent higher crop yields. the Philippines.” explains Norman Uphoff. stronger tillers (stalks). the fact that SRI practices allow crops to be more spread out has also helped make them more resilient to storms: “With less plant density. SRI increases the productivity of resources used in rice cultivation by reducing requirements for water. They can resist the mechanical shear power of wind and rain. it killed at least 90 people and caused an estimated US$250 million in damage to the country’s agricultural sector. in addition to having larger panicles. and Taiwan allow farmers to raise hogs. and using a minimum amount of water instead of flooding fields. weed seeds. pesticides. In Bangladesh. and other pests. and rice on the same farm. This type of system generates little waste and provides diverse and stable sources of food and income for farmers. have larger root systems and thicker. the domino effect of falling down with a strong wind cannot happen as . Practicing farmers have seen their net incomes rise by 80 percent. The study found the “sustainable” farms.44 According to Erika Styger. more grains. for sustainable growth | the challenges of food 27 eat weeds. director of programs for the SRI International Network and Resources Center. and enhancing their flavor. The manure from the pigs is used to fertilize the tilapia ponds and rice fields. Mixed-crop and livestock agriculture systems in communities in China. 43 One reason for the resilience to storms is that rice plants grown under SRI practices are generally stronger. helping reduce the labor needed for weeding. weeding regularly. synthetic fertilizers. which caused millions of dollars of damage in the country. But farmers in the Luzon region in the northern part of the country are reporting that rice grown under the system of rice intensification (SRI) has shown remarkable resilience to heavy winds and rain. strengthening the plants. chickens. and the duck droppings provide nutrients for the rice plants. adding compost from organic matter to the soil.42 When Typhoon Pedring hit the Philippines in October 2011.40 These systems can also work with other animals. and herbicides.41 Agro-ecological practices also help farmers better cope with natural disasters. and heavier grains. A 2001 study by agro-ecologist Eric Holt Giménez compared “conventional” and “sustainable” farms on 880 plots of land with similar topography in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch in 1999. This helps create deep root systems that are better able to resist drought. “SRI plants. SRI practices include transplanting seedlings when they are very young and growing them widely apart. professor of government and international agriculture at Cornell University.

to discuss—around a table of nutritious. “You can actually create an incredible dinner in an incredible space. Investments in agriculture and hunger relief. meaningful conversation at the table about what needs to happen to make sure that food is a tool for change. especially to children in utero and under age three. to droughts and flooding. farmers. wildlife. have often not actually delivered in terms of nutrition.28 eating planet easily—which is different with the conventional high density population which also have weaker stems. “which has long been an alien concept to the agriculture and even the hunger community. agriculture.”46 That conversation is necessary because the connections among nutrition. including maize. we need to refocus our efforts on nutrition. “It doesn’t matter where you live or who you are. 47 1. and how we produce food haven’t always been clear. wants to have dinner with you.”45 Whether it’s SRI in the Philippines or agroforestry in sub-Saharan Africa. the economy. sustainable. executive director of the 30 Project. Gustafson wants to make sure that over the next 30 years we create an agricultural system that’s healthy. and public health advocates all over the United States are helping start that conversation. and affordable. donors. and to extreme weather events. and have a really important.” she says. such as . she says. and rice. and governments still tend to focus on calories rather than nutrients. and public health. wheat. the lead health and nutrition specialist for the Human Development Network at the World Bank. According to Meera Shekar. She’s been bringing people together in places as diverse as San Francisco and Sioux City.” Focusing on agricultural yields or caloric intake in efforts to feed people has often interfered with delivering actual vital nutrients. journalists. Over the last 20 years the food output of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia has become more concentrated on raw commodities. The dinners she’s holding with corporate leaders. parents. food for health Ellen Gustafson. Gustafson started the 30 Project because she believes that hunger and obesity both spring from the same source: inadequate nutrition and poor agricultural infrastructure. Iowa. one very important thing that agro-ecological practices build is resilience—to price shocks. and less on more nutritious indigenous foods. That resilience benefits not only farmers but also consumers. locally grown food—visions for a healthier food system.10 not by calories alone Funding agencies.

SEWA is a country‑wide network of cooperatives. self‑help groups. India. fruits and vegetables. banks and training centers that help bring an end to injustice and foster the social.Organically grown gooseberries in the village of Gujarat’s Vadodara. india . organic gooseberry plants in vadodara. economic and political empowerment of women. The Self‑Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) trains women farmers how to use sustainable and organic agriculture practices to grow rice. gujarat.

a research institute that works in Asia and Africa. Dyno Keatinge. unfortunately. “Our food systems create sick people and failure to act decisively on this issue kills almost 3 million adults each year. and more than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from one or the other. there’s been very little funding for research on how to make those starchy staples palatable and nutritious. such as cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases as well as type 2 diabetes. Sixty-three percent of global deaths are caused by noncommunicable diseases. Increase consumption of vegetables. has about 100 grams of vegetables available per person per day. the Philippines. They lead to poor mental and physical development. though. Many farmers who once grew vegetables have had to focus their attention on staple crops. blindness. starkly describes the importance of vegetables in the diets of children: in Mali. and degrade performance in work and in school. Obesity and malnutrition are the most obvious and painful symptoms of a broken food system.7 million in fruit and vegetable research. the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research invested US$118 million in research on cereals. 49 1. are a luxury for many of the world’s poor. lower rates of vegetable consumption are linked to higher rates of mortality in children under five years. Tanzania. Not surprisingly. iron. for example. researchers and policymakers have paid less attention to the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). and this rate is expected to rise. While poor nations receive a great deal of attention for high malnutrition rates. however. Niger. Vegetable production is the most sustainable and affordable way of alleviating micronutrient deficiencies among the poor.48 Vegetables. And while Africans in particular get most of their calories from starchy crops. that result from unhealthy and inadequate diets. Low. the director general of AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center. but just US$15.” . further crippling communities already facing poverty and other health problems. sorghum. and mortality declines and the average weight of children increases (figure 1. Niger. Niger has one of the highest child malnutrition and mortality rates in the world.” micronutrient deficiencies—including lack of Vitamin A.and middle-income countries often also face a double burden of under-nutrition and over-nutrition.30 eating planet millet. which is at the low end of a scale that reaches 800. Often referred to as “hidden hunger. and vegetables. that leads to illness and disease.11 the role of vegetables Dr.3). and anemia. But ignoring vegetables and fruits can have disastrous consequences. In 2002. and other countries. and iodine—afflict some 1 billion people worldwide. especially among children.50 It’s not just the lack of vegetables and other nutritious foods in our diets.51 According to Olivier De Schutter.

“Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health. and productive life. or health—are inextricably linked. and policymakers from around the world to discuss the issue. IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan said. “The costs of dealing with NCDs are soaring in both rich and poor countries. well-nourished.000) 250 200 150 100 50 philippines niger mali 60 50 children < 5 underweight (%) 40 30 20 10 niger mali b tanzania philippines tanzania 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 vegetable availability (g/person/day) vegetable availability (g/person/day) figure 1. Dr. and poor health are denying billions of people the opportunity for a healthy. nutrition. It is obvious that the health sector alone cannot prevent all these premature deaths and chronic illnesses.” brought scientists. We are more likely to succeed in addressing the challenges if we understand these links and put them to work for people’s benefits. researchers. and the poor of the world are the most vulnerable. and other food-related health problems. All of our efforts—whether in agriculture. Source: FAOSTAT 2010. deputy director of global health at the Council. Rachel Nugent. NGOs.53 At the conference.” 52 The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has also recognized how the health and agricultural sectors need to combine forces in order to address malnutrition. IFPRI’s February 2011 conference in New Delhi. malnutrition. “We are standing face to face with some serious challenges: hunger. obesity. NCDs will cost $30 trillion globally between now and 2030.3 Availability of vegetables and infant mortality Note: National vegetable availability as a factor in the health status of vulnerable groups associated with (a) preschool mortality and (b) childhood (<5 years) undernutrition.”54 . according to research by the Chicago Council on Global for health | the challenges of food 31 a 300 children < 5 mortality rate (1/1. said. and WHO 2011.

1. farmers. Food Corps service members partner with local organizations in sites across the country. program is Food Corps. The Trust runs community-based nutrition and food systems programs that have helped reduce the number of obese children there by half. while also bringing in new energy and ideas.S. the White House launched the nationwide initiative Let’s Move. Vegetables are often cooked so long that they lose most of their nutrients. one of the newest parts of the AmeriCorps program.13 the importance of information Many consumers are simply unaware about what foods are nutritious. Food Corps is working to address the country’s childhood obesity epidemic by focusing on nutrition education. nutrient-rich food choices. foundations. the World Veg- . To solve that problem. A more broadly based U. and national media. One successful model is The Food Trust in north Philadelphia in the United States. Educating farmers and consumers about growing and buying more nutritious crops is important.32 eating planet 1. But researchers like Chuck Benbrook of the U. and is the only profiling system that estimates overall nutritional quality based on 27 nutrients. and not just in laboratories or at conferences. which may help it reach its ambitious goal of reducing childhood obesity rates to below 5 percent by 2030. It enables consumers.56 In 2010. a new tool that helps consumers identify smart. It is also occurring at the grassroots level in kitchens and back yards all over the world.4 hours of nutrition education each year. but students in schools working with Food Corps will receive at least 10 hours. school gardens. meals. but we also need to learn how to prepare vegetables in ways that help maintain their nutritional quality.S. American children on average receive only 3. and farm-to-school programs.12 bringing healthy food everywhere Creation of those linkages to make agriculture healthier is happening. including vitamins and minerals. for some time now the USDA has created and manages a database that provides a classification of all food products and gives their ingredients. The NQI provides a comprehensive.57 Moreover. Food Corps has received support from food policy activists. and daily diets. data-driven measure of the benefits of individual foods. The Center recently released its Nutritional Quality Index. moreover.-based Organic Center are helping consumers make more informed food decisions. helping to support community initiatives that are in touch with local needs. under the leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama.55 Although the program is relatively young—it was established in 2009 and began operating in 2010—it has already achieved much. and researchers to know which foods deliver the biggest bang for the buck nutritionally.

and indigenous medicinal plants. an international coalition of hospitals and health care systems. HIV/AIDS patients at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in the Soweto township in Johannesburg are not only eating more nutritious foods but growing them as well.K. there’s a McDonald’s restaurant right in the building. a physician with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. irrigation and water conservation. the lack of nutritious food extends into many hospitals.” says David Wallinga. Having hospital systems start to make these demands of their meat suppliers has injected a healthy dose of common sense into a very industrialized food system where health is often the last thing anyone thinks about. and hundreds of people are coming and going every day.”60 In South Africa. and several other states also house fast-food restaurants. It’s also a unique opportunity to help people . and religious groups. for instance. labor unions. food. partnered with HIV South Africa in 2006 to create a one-hectare training garden at the Baragwanath Hospital. is leveraging the purchasing power of hospitals and health care systems to support food that is more nutritious and environmentally friendly.58 1. public health advocates. The women learn how much better the food tastes—and how much less fuel and time it takes to cook. bringing home nutritious vegetables. announced this summer a partnership with Murray’s Chicken. They have high walls and guards to protect the plants.14 the role of health structures Surprisingly. Minnesota. Even richcountry hospitals can fail on this score: at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere.-based NGO. for health | the challenges of food 33 etable Center works with women farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the nutritional value of cooked foods by shortening cooking times. to supply its hospitals with chicken raised without either antibiotics or arsenic feed additives. “But that didn’t stop the chicken industry from continuing the practice over the last 60 years. whose staff co-founded HCWH and the food initiative. even by health professionals. a New York producer. Patients from the hospital’s clinics receive training in permaculture. Ohio. fruits. “Hospitals and community clinics lend themselves to strong garden projects. “Neither arsenic nor antibiotics [is] necessary for growing chickens. nurses. a 41-hospital system in Arizona.59 Health Care without Harm (HCWH). Hospitals in California.61 “Often the connection between health care and nutrition is not made. and herbs. Nevada.” says GardenAfrica co-founder Georgina McAllister. The patients then cultivate and harvest the garden. doctors. nutrition. HCWH member Catholic Healthcare West. a U. and California. environmental organizations.


eating planet

to make the connection between what they eat and their own health, creating sustainable approaches to healthcare and wellbeing.”62 And at the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, families of child patients are given food to prepare in the outdoor communal kitchen, where a chef teaches cooking and nutrition. The hospital also has a garden, giving families the opportunity to learn which types of nutritious crops can be grown locally. The daily cooking classes and free seeds to take home encourage patients to start their own household gardens. AHC’s outreach programs follow up with patients, checking on their gardens, teaching basic hygiene and disease prevention methods, and digging wells for communities to gain access to clean water.63 With better and more effective food, nutrition, and agricultural policies—and better communication between public health practitioners and advocates and the agriculture community—we can look beyond simply increasing crop yields and caloric intake to building a better food system.

food for culture
In villages outside of Kampala, Uganda, something unusual is happening among rural youth. For the first time, many of them are excited about being involved in agriculture—and instead of moving to the city after they finish primary school, many are choosing to stay in their communities to become involved in the food system.64 Betty Nabukalu, a 16-year-old student at Kisoga Secondary School, manages her school’s garden. She explained how the project has taught the students “new” methods of planting vegetables. Before, she says, “we used to just plant seeds,” but now she and the other students know how to fertilize with manure and compost and how to save seeds after harvest. She says they’ve learned not only that they can produce food but that they can also earn money from its sale.65 Kisoga School developed the program with help from Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC), which is also helping to build leadership skills. Betty represents students from her school in the local Slow Food Convivium (the convivia are groups of Slow Food International members dedicated to preserving local food cultures). DISC is now part of Slow Food International’s Thousand Gardens in Africa initiative, which hopes to start gardens in communities across the continent. Thanks to DISC, students no longer see agriculture as an option of last resort, but something that they can enjoy, is intellectually stimulating, and will provide a good income.66

cocoa pod, togo

Cocoa pod in Togo. Nearly 70 percent of the world supply of cocoa, the primary ingredient in every chocolate bar, comes from West Africa, where some 16 million people depend on the crop as their primary source of income. Unfortunately, many cocoa trees across the region face the threat of disease. To help these communities, groups like the World Cocoa Foundation are supporting programs that encourage the sustainable production of this valuable resource.


eating planet

1.15 relaunching agricultural systems Unfortunately, youth in both poor and rich countries confront serious obstacles to productive careers in agriculture. The International Labor Organization of the United Nations reports that global youth unemployment saw its largest annual increase ever recorded from 2008 to 2009, from 11.8 percent to 12.7 percent, representing an increase of 4.5 million unemployed youth worldwide. This leads to obvious economic insecurity as well as, in some cases, revolution. The recent uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and elsewhere are largely driven by angry youth who are protesting high food and fuel prices, lack of jobs, and other social inequities.67 And the disconnect between young people and the global food system continues to grow. Young people, whether they live in Italy, the United States, Thailand, Guatemala, or Togo, do not grow up wanting to be farmers, and consumers all over the world have forgotten basic cooking skills because of an over-reliance on processed foods. Agricultural diversity is declining: the bulk of diets in rich countries consists of six foods, including maize, wheat, rice, and potatoes. Agriculture is looked down on as a career and often viewed as work for the poor or those who have no other options. And farmers lack access to markets, making it hard for them to earn an income from their work. The concern to find ways to advance young peoples’ prospects through agriculture was front and center at an event at Chicago’s Field Museum in October 2011. Participants listened to World Cocoa Foundation President Bill Guyton, Kraft Foods’ Yaa Peprah Agyeman Amekudzi, and CARE USA’s Laté LawsonLartego speak about making the cocoa industry more profitable and more environmentally sustainable by involving youth. They stressed not just improving disease control, producing organic chocolate, or preventing unfair child labor practices—although all these things are occurring—but making sure that the rural areas of Ghana, Indonesia, Togo, and other cocoa-growing regions are vibrant places where young people want to live and work. Amekudzi, for example, spoke about how Kraft, in conjunction with the World Cocoa Foundation’s Empowering Cocoa Households with Opportunities and Education Solutions (ECHOES), has reached more than 5,000 students in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Kraft Foods subsidiary Cadbury’s Earthshare program is working with cocoa farmers and local university students to examine the local ecosystem and cocoa production techniques in Adjeikrom, Ghana. This has led to smarter land use, increased production, and stronger interest in farming among the next generation.68 1.16 new computer and communications technologies Another way to help youth become more excited about agriculture is by incorporating information and communication technology into farming. Already, one

food for culture | the challenges of food


out of four Africans and one out of three Asians has access to a cell phone. A visitor to the most remote regions of Ethiopia and India will find farmers using cell phones not only to communicate with one another but also to find out about weather or markets or for making financial and banking transactions. Farmers also need better access to information about prices and markets. Information and communication technologies, such as mobile phones, are enabling farmers to obtain real-time data about market prices, which is helping them make more informed decisions about crop production. Services such as FrontlineSMS allow farmers not only to get real-time food price data but also to connect with one another and with potential consumers, increasing their market size.69 Cell phone and computer technologies are especially important for women farmers because they help erase gender barriers—women can get the same information from a text or the Internet that male farmers are getting, which isn’t always the case when information is spread from farmer to farmer or from extension agents to farmers. 70 Universities and colleges are also increasing their efforts to educate the next generation of farmers and entrepreneurs. Agricultural development programs have tended to focus on developing better production techniques while neglecting the development of the managerial skills necessary to run successful agribusinesses. EARTH University in Costa Rica, for example, is teaching farmers how to be more entrepreneurial while training students to improve yields through sustainable agricultural and integrated farming practices. EARTH believes that building sustainable businesses, including family and small farm operations, is a crucial way to eradicate poverty. 71 EARTH University also makes sure that its students interact with local farmers, helping to bridge the gap between academia and rural communities. EARTH students are exposed to the challenges faced by these communities, including the lack of inputs, education, and access to markets. Students help train local farmers to use precision agriculture techniques, reduce pesticide use, and better market their products. In 2005, EARTH launched the Open School for Farmers, enabling smallholder farmers to take courses in advanced farming techniques and business practices.72 In addition to its educational programs in Latin America, EARTH University has developed an innovative tool kit to enhance the undergraduate curricula of partnering African academic institutions through the development of entrepreneurial skills. According to Wendy Judy, EARTH’s director of foundations, grant writing, and university liaison, “The tool kit will enhance the capacity of universities to provide entrepreneurial leadership needed to make African agriculture economically competitive, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable in an increasingly globalized world economy.”73


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1.17 popularization “in the field” One obstacle farmers all over the world face is the lack of agricultural extension services. In the United States, the decline in the number of family owned and smaller farms has led to the disappearance of agricultural extension offices in many rural communities. In sub-Saharan Africa, extension agents who used to provide information to farmers about weather, new seed varieties, or irrigation technologies have been replaced by agro-dealers who sell artificial fertilizer or pesticides to farmers, often with very little education or training about how to use those inputs. But in Ghana, young and old farmers alike are benefitting from better-trained extension officers. At the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension at Cape Coast University in southern Ghana, learning takes place not only in classrooms but also literally in fields and farms all over the country. As part of a program to improve agricultural extension services, extension officers are working with professors to find ways to improve food production in their communities. The extensionists are selected from throughout Ghana by the Ministry of Agriculture and the university and trained to better share their skills and knowledge with farmers. After attending a year of classes on campus, the students go back to their communities to apply what they’ve learned in supervised enterprise projects (SEPs). According to Dr. Ernest Okorley, the department director, the SEPs give the student-professionals the opportunity to learn that particular technologies, no matter how innovative they might seem in the classroom, don’t always “fit” the needs of communities. The SEPs also help them implement some of the communication skills they’ve learned in their classes, allowing them to engage more effectively in the communities where they work. Instead of simply telling farmers to use a particular type of seed or a certain brand of pesticide or fertilizer, the extension workers are now learning how to listen to farmers and help them find innovations that best serve their particular needs. “One beauty of the program,” says Dr. Okorley, “is the on-the-ground research and experimentation. [...] It allows the environment to teach what should be done.”74 1.18 incentivize employment of the young Cooperatives can be especially beneficial for marginalized groups, including women and youth, who might not otherwise have access to markets or financial services. Smallholder farmers get multiple benefits from joining agricultural cooperatives, including boosting their bargaining power and sharing tools, machinery, transportation, and other resources. And cooperatives create jobs: worldwide, cooperatives have more than 800 million members and provide 100 million jobs, 20 percent more than multinational corporations.75

the three objectives of food | the challenges of food


The connections between agriculture and education are also being made in rich countries, helping young people find concrete ways to become involved in the food system. In Italy, the University of Gastronomic Sciences is finding ways to combine the passion of food connoisseurs with the science of agriculture. The university was established in 2004 by Slow Food International to help students learn ways to renew traditional farming methods and protect agricultural biodiversity, while also learning the importance of traditional foods and the connection between the farm and plate. The university conducts courses in food anthropology, food cultures, and food policy and sustainability, and students participate in study trips to examine regional food systems. As a result, these students gain a better connection to their food and the people who grow it, regardless of their future careers.76

the three objectives of food
It’s clear that we need a better recipe for ensuring that agriculture contributes to health, environmental sustainability, income generation, and food security. The ingredients will vary from country to country and region to region, but there are some key components that will lead to healthier food systems everywhere. 1. Investing in agro‑ecological food systems. Although many authoritative reports point to the need for more investment in agro-ecological solutions to alleviating hunger and poverty, very little attention is given to ensuring that farmers know about those solutions. In October 2011, philanthropist-farmer Howard Buffett called upon the agricultural development community to “get loud and get busy” to ensure that sustainable crop production is “back on the table” at the annual climate change meetings, at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, and with every major agricultural donor and government in the world.77 In March 2012, the Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature (LPFN) initiative will bring together farmers, policymakers, food companies, conservation agencies, and grassroots organizations at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in one of several meetings to develop a long-term strategy to scale up and support agro-ecological solutions. According to Erik Nielsen of EcoAgriculture Partners, the organization facilitating the LPFN initiative, “Because over two-thirds of the world’s land area is shaped by cropland, planted pastures, or other agricultural practices, it is critical to scale up such integrated systems to combat both hunger and environmental degradation.”78 LPFN is documenting integrated farming landscapes around the world to strengthen policy, investment, capacity building, and research in support of sustainable land management. This sort of research can encourage policymak-

Asia. food security program) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program could have a huge impact on malnutrition. for example.82 Financial speculation on the price of food has played a major role in this problem. coffee. The Food. More than 2 billion people live on less than US$2 per day and global unemployment is at record highs. and stewards of the land. Finding ways to compensate farmers for these multiple roles will become increasingly important as agricultural challenges increase. educators. and keeping their soils planted with crops for more of the year. Poor households in the developing world spend 70 percent of their income on food. These farmers produce the ingredients for countless products while helping to protect bird. Women farmers. Recently. The World Bank estimates that high food prices in 2010 plunged an additional 44 million people into poverty and hunger over the last year. The Rainforest Alliance.81 3. but they are often denied basic benefits such as land tenure. Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network is helping communities and policymakers understand women’s rights and involve them in decision-making—and they’re doing it in innovative ways such as community theatre. But initiatives like Feed the Future (the U. Farmers are businesswomen and -men.80 Another innovation is compensating farmers for the ecosystem services their lands provide. and farmer incomes—if they were fully funded. bananas. Cultivating better livelihoods. for example. wildlife. primarily by planting trees among crops. food prices have fluctuated wildly (2011 prices were nearly 20 . stewarding nearby forests. and plant species in some of the planet’s most fragile ecosystems. Unfortunately. and NGOs. access to markets. and Africa to ensure that the sustainably grown cocoa. Roughly 75 such projects in 22 African countries are in the works. The real culprit is poverty. private businesses. Recognizing agriculture’s multiple benefits. African farmers could sequester 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide—roughly a full year of global emissions— from the atmosphere over the next 50 years.79 2. Other projects will begin paying farmers for sequestering carbon in their soils. which has declined precipitously over the last three decades. is working with more than 200 million farmers in Latin America. including a proposal to create an African Agricultural Carbon Facility that could incubate projects and help connect them with buyers. which provides an entertaining vehicle to discuss these challenges in an open atmosphere.40 eating planet ers to restore investment in agriculture. and access to banks. make up as much as 80 percent of the agricultural labor force in some countries.S. and other products get a premium price from consumers in wealthy nations. education. both initiatives have received very little of the billions of dollars pledged by donor countries. Building a better food system doesn’t mean producing more food—the world can already feed 9 to 11 billion people.

the fish market of port de pêche in nouakchott. often by Chinese fishing fleets. As a result.N. poses a serious threat to this valuable resource: the U. Fish is an important source of protein for coastal communities in Africa. Mauritania.Fish for sale at Port de Peche Fish Market in Nouakchott. fishers have to travel increasingly farther to return home with fish to consume and sell. mauritania . Food and Agriculture Organizations estimates that 53 percent of fisheries are considered fully exploited. But over‑fishing.

with grave impacts on the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. Institutions such as agricultural cooperatives can help farmers operate more efficiently and earn more money than they can as individuals. such as national school feeding programs and increased support for agricultural extension services. . leveraged. and the UN’s Olivier De Schutter has argued publicly for less speculation and more transparency in agricultural markets. distribute. and even reducing climate change. who lack access to the most basic aspects of domestic support. who need stable markets and a fair price for their yields. creating jobs for youth. Price volatility hurts these farmers.42 eating planet percent higher than in 2010) as a result of investors and traders who view food as something to be indexed. This flood of speculative investment has contributed to volatility in agricultural markets. farmers need access to markets where they can get a fair price. After investing in futures. 86 The projects highlighted by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition in this book are exciting because they are the perfect example of agriculture and food emerging as a solution to global problems—including reducing public health costs. wheat. including land. making rural areas and urban communities more livable. enhancing communities’ economic power and as well as their social service networks. and back up that right with appropriate policies. however. and rice.85 1.83 A future is a financial practice which allows traders around the world to purchase a good for a fixed price. Countries such as Ghana and Brazil have already reduced the number of people suffering from hunger through effective government action.19 increasing awareness about the importance of agriculture Nations must recognize the inherent right of every human being to safe. By helping farmers come together to grow. and healthy food.84 In addition. and bargaining power in the value chain. and/or sell food. credit. Clamping down on food price speculation—especially prices for maize. which are the three most heavily traded food commodities and also supply the bulk of dietary calories for 2 billion poor people—would be a major step forward for both farmers and the hungry. Some progress has been made in this area: the United States has already passed laws to limit speculation. but also causing wild fluctuations in the actual prices of the good. this seems like an ideal scenario—farmers are guaranteed payment for their crops and food prices can be determined ahead of time. decreasing poverty. India recently approved a draft of the National Food Security Act. cooperatives act as both business and social groups. affordable. which aims to improve food access for the country’s poorest communities. At first. allowing traders to hedge against risk. and speculated on for profit. insurance. speculators then sell these in the marketplace. thus creating stability for farmers and consumers alike.

and examples for the chapter. sustainable. and Nourishing the Planet Research Fel‑ low. Supriya Kumar. and the environment. From SEWA in India and DISC in sub-Saharan Africa to research institutes and governments all over the world. statistics. and Joe Zaleski. healthy. the private sector. and the international funding and donor communities. nutrition. and our team of interns. . And these are exactly the sort of innovations that should attract the support of governments. provided invaluable input and advice. including Jenna Banning. helped track down information. the Worldwatch Communications Direc‑ tor. The Nourishing the Planet project would like to thank the following people for their help with Chapter One: Bernard Pollack. and justly grown food.the three objectives of food | the challenges of food 43 There are many innovations that are working to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious. Emily Gilbert. there is a growing realization of the positive impact agriculture can have on livelihoods.

11 Gross Domestic Product Versus Indicators of Well-being Subjective Approach Versus Objective Approach: Different Outlooks in Terms of Measuring Well-being The BCFN Indices of Well-being and Sustainability of Well-being Principal Results of the 2011 BCFN Index The Different Dimensions of Sustainability interviews In Access the Key Factor Is Diversity by Paul Roberts Agricultural Policies Must Take into Consideration the Health and Well-being of Human Beings by Ellen Gustafson action plan .3 The Global Scope of Food Security and Access Problems The “Food Paradox”: Underlying Causes Possible Areas for Action a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices 2.9 2.4 2.1 2.5 2.table of contents introduction How to Respond to Market Excesses by Raj Patel facts & figures access to food: present and future challenges 2.8 2.10 2.7 2.2 2.6 The BCFN Evaluation Model Variables of the Model Strategies for Controlling Volatility new tools to measure and promote well-being 2.

We need to better understand how to ensure better governance of the agroalimentary system on a global scale. health. 2. food for all Food for All explores the paradox of excess food in western nations and the challenges in gaining access to food in developing nations. How do we find ways to have a more fair distribution of food and resources worldwide? How do we encourage better outcomes in terms of social welfare. and the environment? .

but failed to feed the world.] the number of calories that the world’s farmers are producing per inhabitant of the world are at all time record levels.”1 a visiting scholar at UC He is and academic. posting record profits at the same time as a billion a fellow at The Institute for Food and Developpeople were undernourished. floods and droughts occurring with greater intensity and frequency than in the past.46 eating planet 2.. tributed to the LA Times.” he said. This as Food First. Raj is an Advisor to the United Nagulf between calories produced. an Honorary sion’s second downturn finally caught up with them. Mail on Sunday. but perhaps a little oblique. The The weather has behaved unpredictably. the pattern is entirely consistent with an era of climate change which has reduced global wheat harvests by 5% over the past 30 years. “but raj patel is an awardwhat we do have are levels of economic famine that are winning writer. the Chairman and CEO of the food. He regularly writes for The hunger is a sign that our modern food system has worked Guardian. Although no one individual event can be attributed to global warming. and The Observer. Francisco Chronicle. CarResearch Fellow at the gill and a range of other food and agriculture companies School of Development Studies at the University were surfing the waves of the international financial storm of KwaZulu-Natal and in style. food for all How to Respond to Market Excesses Raj Patel Greg Page. increasing obesity—today tions Special Rapporteur over 1. NYTimes. agriculture and financial services giant Cargill recently pointed to the central paradox in the global food system: “Today.” he said.5 billion people are overweight—and deepening on the Right to Food. Until the recesBerkeley’s Center for African Studies. “we live in a time where the world is the furthest it has ever been from caloric famine [. He is more difficult to address. activist. Mr Page forgot to mention ment Policy. also known that the economic famine is distributed unevenly. with storms. The San There are five short-term reasons why we’re in this mess.2 Second. investment in biofuels has distorted the planting decisions of farmers worldwide toward crops that can be used to . and has conto produce calories and profit..

With poor grain storage systems. Fifth. 2011. reduced social safety nets. traders themselves have testified that they’re playing commodities markets at the expense of consumers. increasing poverty. under-investment in sustainable agricul- 250 200 index − 1997 = 100 150 100 50 0 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 supply demand price figure 2. increasing financial speculation has tied the price of food to other commodities.3 Third. Some models suggest that while the amount of speculative capital in food futures markets has increased from 12% of the Chicago wheat futures market in 1996 to 61% earlier this year.introduction | food for all 47 burn rather than to eat—estimates attribute between 15% to 70% of 2008’s global price rises to this source. pricing the poorest out of the grain market. Fourth. and costs. the spread of the western diet. 4 higher levels of liquidity are not to blame for the increased price swings. . (See graph below.) On the other hand. in food markets. with its emphasis on meat and empty calories means that a great deal of land is diverted toward producing feed for animals.5 and this wouldn’t be the first time that reality has failed to live up to the models of economists. It must be said this is controversial—economists are embroiled in heated debate about whether speculators are to blame for the problems. higher oil prices have driven up production and transport costs for food.1 Price oscillations on the food markets Source: Worthy. These short term phenomena sit on top of a food system that has made shocks to the food system spread quickly.

municipal and subnational levels. since taxing food will always affect the poor disproportionately because they spend a greater proportion of household budgets on food than the rich. and many of the shocks. it was inevitable that a few shocks in the world’s key grainbaskets should ripple across the planet. In the meantime. In response to fires and low grain supplies. But tobacco taxes are similar. particularly in Africa. As one researcher argues. This is a conversation long overdue.9 should we tax sugar? Some cities have attempted to address one of the other problems with the food system—that it is largely responsible for there being over 1. the goal is not to end soda. That said. though. which worked well for farmers there. There’s far too long a history of culture war around food.7 China and India have joined other foreign governments in an aggressive search for overseas sources of food for their populations.48 eating planet tural research. such as carbonated beverages. and push many millions more into hunger in 2008. A controversial experiment involves a “sugar tax”. Ultimately. which raises prices on items high in “empty calories”. we continue to see experiments and ideas for change happening not at national or international levels. These taxes are regressive. it shows promise. What makes the difference is whether the tax is part of a bigger project to make the food industry pay for the health costs that will fall disproportionately on poor people. Advocates of such a tax have to answer the charge that they’re mongers of class war. Many of the more interesting policy responses to the failures of the food system are to be found at local. Russia announced a wheat export moratorium. certainly. then I’d want nothing to do with it. and with international grain markets tightly integrated. Unfortunately. but at local and regional lev- . credit and extension services. governments are doing little directly to address the underlying problems. with everything from white bread to Coca-Cola conscripted into a great battle over class and identity. That a tax falls disproportionately on the poor is reason to worry. The underlying system. if the move to tax soft drinks were an end in itself. a soda tax blames the poor for being victims of circumstance. “obesity is the toxic consequence of economic insecurity and a failing economic environment. continue to be with us today. of course. but poverty.”10 If this is true.6 but caused a panic in global wheat markets in 2010 that led to food rebellions around the world.5 billion people overweight. if a soda tax can work as part of a bigger programme to rein in food companies and provide real choices to everyone across the food system. And.8 These are ad hoc measures that leave the central tenets of the global food system largely unaddressed. with food policy councils—popular in North America where over 200 are to be found—experimenting with ideas for guaranteeing the right to food to local citizens.

For as long as food is rationed according to the ability to pay. What we see today. those who are poorest will go hungry. and those merely unable to afford healthy food will continue to be profit centres for the food industry. across the world. asserting and experimenting with democratic control over the food system. . in many cases for the first time. is a counter-movement against the status quo.introduction | food for all 49 els. Their ideas aren’t the “nanny state” so much as responses to the wild excess of “Daddy Market”.

800 calories Average daily calorie supply produced The world food system is currently capable of producing just under 2. PEOPLE ARE UNDERNOURISHED men and women suffer from undernourishment 950 million  . WoRlD 53% In developing countries. 53% of infant mortality is caused by malnutrition and undernutrition people die every year due to malnutrition and undernutrition 36 million WORLD POPULATION: 7 BILLION PEOPLE 1 1billion .550 calories Average real daily calorie requirement 2.50 eating planet 2.800 calories per person per day.550 calories. while the average per capita daily calorie requirement for an individual adult is 2.  food for all WoRlD FooD SYSTEm  2.

distribution.3 billion people in the  world are obese or significantly overweight  1/3 WASTED FooD  One third of the world’s food production is lost.facts & figures | food for all 51 GRoWTH oF VolATiliTY in FooDSTUFFS on mARKETS + 44 million + 71% OF NEW POOR PEOPLE FAO CEREAL PRICE INDEX Between June 2010 and June 2011 the FAO Cereal Price Index increased by 71%. destroyed. this increase helped to generate new conditions of poverty for 44 million people. Over the same period.3 billion PEOPLE ARE OBESE OR OVERWEIGHT It is estimated that 1. or consumption . or wasted in the processes of preserving. transformation. 29 million DEAD EVERY YEAR Approximately 29 million people die every year   of diseases linked to excessive consumption of food  1.

throughout the world. However. and the rights to a healthy life and peaceful coexistence are undermined. Where food is lacking. making potential workers unsuited to employment and further marginalizing the unwell in social and economic terms. There is also a range of secondary impacts on human health and welfare. starvation being the first and most tragic. and they too can be devastating. and lack of access to plentiful drinking water and basic pharmaceuticals. inadequate health care. This tragedy takes an array of different forms. lack of basic knowledge about nutrition prevents mothers from taking adequate care of their children. social conflicts—especially fights over control of natural and agricultural resources—tend to undermine the potential of nations to develop socially and economically. In many cases. They stem from the chronic or acute conditions of undernourishment and malnutrition that plague many poor and developing countries. such as poor hygiene. the lack of food is also behind many major forms of conflict over the availability of food and natural resources: • social tensions bound up with the issues of access to and control of agricultural resources • mass migrations triggered by sharp deteriorations in living conditions (malnutrition and lack of water).52 eating planet access to food: present and future challenges Access to food is one of the first and most fundamental of all human rights. Undernourishment and malnutrition have serious harmful effects on the human immune system. This would occur mainly . it becomes impossible to live with dignity. There are significant risks that a worsening of the viability and security of agricultural and food production will lead to a noticeable increase in the amount of social conflict. Moreover. They augment susceptibility to diseases and increase the gravity and duration of the ensuing illnesses. The world is now experiencing a silent tragedy caused by humanity’s inability to produce and distribute sufficient quantities of food. poor economic and social conditions tend to exacerbate the link between malnutrition and disease. in some cases aggravated by the effects of climate change • situations of political and social instability and misgovernment and their effects on the response to the growing needs of populations • pressures on international governance bound up with growing imbalances between developed countries and developing countries In general. This relationship is reinforced by a broader system of allied conditions that are typically associated with situations of inadequate nutrition. already aggravated by climate change.

9 billion people. 12 Moreover. That development was made possible by an improved global economic situation and a decline in the prices of foodstuffs compared to the peaks in 2008. where food and water issues exacerbate unresolved ethnic religious and economic tensions. 2. In 2010. with a drop of 98 million (9. Still.2 Undernourished people on earth (millions of people) Source: FAO.4 percent of the world’s population of about 6.000 950 900 850 800 750 1. reaching and outstripping the levels recorded in 2008. Indeed. in the months between late 2010 and early 2011.11. 2011 (the data shown for 2009 and 2010 are estimated values).6 percent). the overall situation shows a serious worsening over the last 15 years at the global level. in developing areas. This points to the real possibility of a new rise in the . the total number of undernourished people on Earth was roughly 925 million (figure 2.access to food: present and future challenges | food for all 53 1. data trends show that inadequate nutrition affects 13.023 915 878 853 843 787 847 833 925 ‑71 69 19 79 19 ‑8 1 9 19 92 0‑ 7 ‑9 95 19 0 20 0‑ 02 ‑ 05 20 07 0 20 8 0 20 9 1 20 0 figure 2. prices for several leading food commodities began rising again.050 1. The slight decline of those numbers during 2010 is a positive development and marks a change of direction from previous years.1 the global scope of food security and access problems The seriousness of the problem of food security around the world—by which we mean the level of availability and access to food for people and populations—emerges clearly from the analysis of the data available.2).

the trend is toward a slight decline: in fact. It is also worth noting that two-thirds of the world’s undernourished people are concentrated in seven countries: Bangladesh. with a further deterioration in the wake of the economic downturn and the food crisis of 2008-2009. thanks to a series of focused interventions undertaken by individual governments. A closer look at developing countries shows that Asia is the region with the highest number of undernourished people. The optimism of the time was justified by the positive results achieved in the first half of the 1990s by the aid programs undertaken by the FAO World Food Summit. The drop from the 1996 level—the year that world leaders expressed a commitment to reduce and finally eliminate entirely world hunger—is considerable.2 million of people. In Latin America. more than one out of every six people. it could well lead to a jump of 64 million in the total number of undernourished people.8 million (+65.5 million people15 in the period from 2005 to 2007. In developed countries. inadequate nutrition in Asia affected 554. the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For the most part.14 there were 835 million people living in conditions of inadequate nutrition in the developing countries.3 percent). 16 The trend. more than twice the number for sub-Saharan Africa (201. The same thing happened in Latin America (a decline of 7.54 eating planet overall number of people suffering from hunger in the developing countries. these were initiatives and measures aimed at social and economic .3 percent) in the total number of undernourished people. that is. therefore. we foresee a general worsening of the overall picture. In fact. Ethiopia. Unless this situation is addressed and resolved very rapidly. where increases were recorded. Indonesia. inadequate nutrition affected a limited number of people (12. and Pakistan. it is estimated that the number of undernourished people dropped by 5.13 Over the mid. The greatest number of undernourished people lives in the developing nations.7 percent (approximately 33 million people) in the period from 1990 to 2007.3 million) in the period from 2005 to 2007.3 and long term.4. in contrast. moreover. In 2010. The opposite happened. China. concentration in asia. radically different trends have been observed in different areasover the past 15 years. on the other hand. India. In Asia. As the reader can see in figures 2. More than 40 percent of those people live in China and India. while in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa the number was roughly 32. the figures were 47 million. respectively of 36. According to data for 2005-2007. 16 percent of that population was suffering from hunger. showed improvement for the years from 1990 to 2007.4 million. in contrast.2 million people). in sub-Saharan Africa and in the regions of North Africa and the Middle East.3 million (+22 percent) and 12. in 2007 98 percent of the world’s undernourished people lived in those countries. equal to −13.

access to food: present and future challenges | food for all



588 532 555





300 239 200 165 187 202 201


54 53

51 47 53

32 32 37 20 30 Middle East—North Africa 2010


Asia 1990‑92 1995‑97

Sub‑Saharan Africa 2000‑02

Latin America 2005‑07

Latin America 5.7%

Middle East—North Africa 4.0% Developed Nations 2.1%

Sub‑Saharan Africa 25.8%


Asia 62.5%

figure 2.3
Undernourished people in certain regions of the world (millions of people and %) Note: The Latin American region also includes the Caribbean nations. Source: FAO, 2011 (the data shown for 2010 are estimated).


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21 19.4 19.0

18 16.7 17.0


12 1990‑92 1995‑97 2000‑02

12.3 2005‑07 2010s

figure 2.4
Undernourished people in developed nations (millions of people) Source: FAO, 2011 (the data shown for 2010 are estimated).

assistance in the context of the various national welfare systems. It is important to point out, however, that the number of undernourished people in the developed countries increased by 54 percent in the period from 2007 to 2010, rising from a little over 12 million people to 19 million. In order to understand how the picture described here can change over the coming decades, we must analyze the development of the underlying variables and the effect of the interventions aimed at eliminating the causes of the current critical situations. 2.2 the “food paradox”: underlying causes Even though, technically speaking, the current capacity for the production of foodstuffs is theoretically sufficient to feed the world’s entire population, this has done nothing to prevent the persistence and spread of enormous inequalities in terms of access to food. Evidence of this is given by the coexistence on Earth of roughly a billion undernourished people, at the same time as a billion obese people. The gap of this “paradox,” over the course of the last two years, has only spread: more undernourished people, more obese people. structural factors. Some major structural reasons underlie the uneven distribution of access to food.

access to food: present and future challenges | food for all


The first cause of inadequate nutrition is poverty. The crucial needs in the battle against inadequate nutrition are therefore an increase in wealth and a more equitable distribution of that wealth. It is important to keep in mind that economic growth, through agriculture, constitutes one of the best economic tools with which to approach the problem, given the fact that most of the people who lack sufficient resources for adequate access to food are small farmers living in rural zones. It is worth pointing out, in this connection, that a study done by the World Bank has shown that an increase of just one percentage point of the gross domestic product generated by the agricultural sector is twice as effective in terms of reducing poverty as an equivalent percentage of economic growth produced by other sectors.17 That means that the agricultural sector is centralto the development of strategies designed to improve the living conditions of rural populations. It is not enough, however, to invest in a simple increase of production and productivity (first and foremost through improvements in technology transfers and better management of access to water). What is also needed is a more equitable distribution of wealth through the creation of income opportunities for the poorer sector of the population. Without a process leading to a broader distribution of wealth, the agriculture of many poor and developing countries is, in fact, destined to remain at the level of pure subsistence. Similarly, it is crucially important to build up basic infrastructure and create local markets to facilitate the conditions for at least a partial “market-based” agriculture. Second, there is the issue of policy choices. These are complex matters; many actors interact at various levels. Here, political decisions will prove to be decisive, eitherdomestic (affecting the general and specific direction of political economy) or affecting relations between countries, especially on issues of trade. (The trade policies of the last decade—coming on the heels of the second half of the 1990s, a period of modest but continuous progress over time—seem by and large to have been spectacularly unsuccessful in improving access to food. This is not the first time that a lack of coordinated action by many countries has led to such a failure.) In light of the world’s current economic conditions and the general state of political instability, we should keep in mind the clear risk of food security being downgraded to a secondary priority. The issue of focus and priority is an important one. Developed countries must recognize that the 925 million undernourished people in the world urgently require aid. Such aid can only be provided through effective policy actions, and those actions must be planned with a view to a sustainable future. All too often, the debate narrows to the mere mechanics of food aid: while that response is laudable and fundamental in the face of emergencies, it is not enough, and it is not sustainable.


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Unfortunately, a number of emerging factors have led to growing turbulence in recent years. For example, certain rising powers eager to enhance their own prominence on the geopolitical stage have turned to the option of the land grab. Other countries have erected trade barriers in the form of tariffs and other obstacles to imports, or else they have subsidized domestic farming in an attempt to counter the instability of global markets. Then there is the seesawing trend of oil prices and, in general, the larger global challenge of energy; concomitantly there is the developing market for biofuels; it goes without saying thatfarmland planted for biofuels can no long produce crops to feed people. To summarize, increasing uncertainty on the global economic and geopolitical stage has made it harder to adopt policies of openness that might include the flexibility required to take into account the needs of the poorer countries. The problem is that governance mechanisms with respect to food security are weak and inadequate. At recent international summit meetings, however, a potential response has emerged, based on three crucial approaches: • investment in food aid and in food security networks on behalf of the neediest and those at greatest risk; • increased investments in agriculture and development policies; and • the adoption of more balanced trade policies between developed and developing countries. short-term business factors. Alongside these structural factors other elements of equal importance—rooted in specific short-term aspects of the business environment but destined to become permanent unless we are able to root out their causes—have emerged in recent years. Key among these is the increasing volatility of agricultural and food markets. Such volatility is caused by broader global phenomena, such as the volatility of the energy markets, the effects of climate change, and economic and demographic growth. We deal more extensively with this phenomenon in this chapter. What follows here is a summary to help understand the subject of access to food. As shown in various statistical sources (e.g., the FAO Food Price Index), food prices have not only increased significantly in recent years but have also been subject to greatly increasing volatility.18 The public countermeasures put in place in order to deal with the economic slowdown have highlighted the limitations of the current system of regulated markets. These limitations extend to the levels of both transparency and efficiency. Due in part to these factors, the rapid rise in agricultural prices has made it especially difficult to cushion against the effects of the slowdown. The ensuing consequences have been tragic for the most vulnerable sectors of the population in the poorest nations. This is more than just a matter of the way markets work. It is crucial to keep in mind that the factors determining agricultural prices are diverse, complex, and

chronic famines

Every year, Niger suffers a food crisis, which reaches its peak of gravity between the months of May and September. That is when NGOs like Doctors Without Borders swing into action, distributing nutritious foods. Here, like in many other countries, access to food still depends on the presence of international aid agencies.


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closely intertwined. The reasons for the resulting imbalances are to be found on both the supply and demand sides of the agricultural market. Among those factors, we should consider aspects of the world macroeconomic and demographic stage, such as population growth, the rapid economic development of countries such as China and India (with a corresponding increase in demand for food), and the first appearance on the world consumer market of populations that once couldn’t afford to buy. There are also the dynamics of oil prices and the progressive changes in climate conditions. Other factors in the distortion of markets are narrower and more specific: the growing financialization of food commodities, the sharp increase in demand for agricultural products used in the production of biofuels (though biofuels are likely to become a permanent and structural factor), and the persistence protectionist policies implemented by many governments. This situation highlights the previously mentioned lack of adequate joint and multilateral interventions in the realms of political economy and social, environmental, and trade legislation designed to safeguard access to food by modifying, with structural measures if necessary, the inequalities we have encountered. In particular it underscores the failure of pure market mechanisms in the sector of food. The gains in productivity made possible in the last 30 years by technical developments and the diffusion of knowledge in the agricultural world could explain the drop in public and private investment in agriculture in the last 20 years and the simultaneous lack of political attention (except for agricultural and trade policies that were often distorting and protectionist). In real terms, the so-called Green Revolution led to steady increases in production and reductions in prices. This created the illusion that the sector no longer needed close policy direction. a misleading view of matters. Now that productivity is struggling to keep up, we are realizing how wrong and misleading that perception was. Some observers have pointed out that the demand for food today could drive greater investment by the sector, thanks to the increase in the average prices of agricultural commodities. These investments could support the launch of a new Green Revolution. However, the expected high volatility in agricultural markets involves a high level of risk, which is still blocking investment in agricultural development. In the future, a host of new global pressures will play an extraordinary role in aggravating the current food security problem. These include not only the gradual transition from oil to renewable energy sources and biofuels, but also climate change, which could seriously affect food production in the next 40 years. Demographic and economic changes in some of the emerging countries will also upset the traditional balance.

extreme meteorological conditions. mainly through adaptive adjustments. the pressure on natural resources is growing.” both worldwide and in the . It is steadily emptying rural areas and creating a demographic explosion in the inhabited centers. new changes. violence.” which FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf has called “a form of neocolonialism. To the extent that broad and concerted actions taken to confront the phenomena of climate change are effective. While energy sources have been the subject of broad discussion. forage. and the ever more difficult environmental conditions have driven some governments to find alternatives to traditional methods to ensure the necessary production levels to satisfy their food needs. mainly in the developing countries. we should remember that there are two response strategies: mitigation and adaptation. We should also remember that the current. The profound structural changes occurring today require greater attention to the systematic management of natural resources.access to food: present and future challenges | food for all 61 With regard to climate change. Agricultural production is already down in some areas of the planet. This competition can be exacerbated when climate change. and drought alter cultivation conditions. and impoverishment of the common natural asset. The desertification and degradation of arable areas represent additional challenges for the agricultural sector. This causes failures in agricultural production and upsets the delicate management of distribution and overall sustainability in cities. Projections of population growth in 40 years bring us back to the problem of identifying new ways to increase agricultural productivity. The resulting phenomenon is called “land grabbing. Often the competition to grab and exploit scarce and unequally distributed natural resources degenerates into conflict. biofuels). It should also be remembered that during the first half of this century. and fiber will nearly double. one significant aspect seems to be underestimated: “food style. which will need to produce ever more food on ever less available space. In various parts of the world. agriculture must also compete with urban settlement for land and water resources. significant urbanization is expected to continue. as are concerns about their more efficient use and their preservation. agricultural strategies could succeed in the area of mitigation. agricultural products could be increasingly grown for non-food purposes (for example. Already forced to adapt to climate change and the need to respect natural habitats.” Economic and demographic pressures are also producing challenges that must not be underestimated. Meanwhile. the global demand for food. as well as containing the negative effects of economic development. The debate concerning the need for a technical paradigm shift toward biotechnologies has been going on for some time.

which must not be abandoned purely for market reasons. • the marketing of agricultural products.e. the degree and type of mechanization. the size of land parcels. the use of chemical agents. we need an initial understanding of the organization of the food sector. soil structure. in this order (figure 2. In a very simplified form. In our opinion. and storage of agricultural products. • production of inputs (for example. This is the unknown in the equation. optimizing inputs to production.).. i. in our opinion.62 eating planet emerging countries. • the reduction of waste along the entire agricultural and food industry supply chain. especially in the case of food production. we need to focus attention: • oversight of the entire chain. . which could reveal medium. • agricultural activity. A detailed outline of the conditions needed for the proper functioning of this complex and carefully constructed system is outside the scope of this chapter. In order to identify and possibly guide the components of the demand for food in the near future. and • consumption processes. but also their intersection with the consumption habits of the populations. concerning all possible action areas (soil fertility. knowledge transfer.and long-term strategic alternatives.. and increase access to food. We will limit ourselves to highlighting five main areas on which. we need to define not only the demographic dynamics of increased economic well-being. seed and fertilizers) and access to natural resources needed for agricultural production (for example. both to the final consumers and to a possible later phase of industrial transformation. harvesting. in order to strengthen the conditions of equity needed to attract investment. 2. this variable needs more research to shift the bar on productivity increases to sustain a greater demand for food under equal conditions of demographic growth. compensate producers. • research for places to achieve productivity gains along the different stages of the overall chain.3 possible areas for action To frame possible answers to the problems highlighted. this activity can have very different characteristics depending on geographic location. water). • the industrial transformation and consequent distribution of the finished product. etc. the cultivation.5): • research and development. the flow of activities in the agricultural sector can be broken down into six principal areas. • stabilization of food markets and access to them. etc.

Food cannot be treated simplistically as a commodity. and the complexity of the subject? For the five areas indicated. It also means coordinating global policies and reducing unilateral protectionist policies over time.” through a communications strategy aimed at increasing general awareness not only from a nutritional point of view. and nutritional quality. . but also in cultural terms. There is an obvious lack of governance in the overall food system. 2011. which requires quick and precise action at various levels.access to food: present and future challenges | food for all 63 A Control of the Production Chain Research and Development Input Factors Agricultural Activity Trade in Agricultural Products Industrial Transformation Consumption B Productivity Savings C Stabilizing Markets D Reduction of Wastage E Ways of Consumption figure 2. considering the assumptions. we suggest the following. The pressure from the greater availability of foodstuffs and the failure of distribution mechanisms make it necessary to get past the paradigm of a self-regulating market. reinforce worldwide governance mechanisms. The following steps are essential: • return food to a central and primary role on the international political and economic agenda.5 Governance of the supply chain Source: BCFN. it seems fundamental to ensure the quantity and quality of produced and distributed food. This means that the entire food chain must be structured and governed more openly with goals of accessibility. the scope. Indeed. • the direction of “food style. What are the solutions to these problems. sustainability.

Rather. from the increase in the global population to the impact of climate change on agricultural yields and the composition of the future global food basket. or business player in the industrial food chain is in a position to single-handedly meet the environmental. However. one that involves all public and private players directly and indirectly tied to the industrial food sector. We must identify. realize. No country. we need to create common room for dialogue and analysis of subjects related to food security. Some pathways have already been outlined. particularly those harming developing countries. with ad hoc programs to close the know-how gap between advanced and underdeveloped countries. social. political. better quality. the maintenance and development of local systems in the production/distribution/consumption chain of agricultural goods must be facilitated. a multilateral approach is needed. and support real progress in sustainable development in order to define and disseminate solid. will be decisive. • economic policy actions take place one level higher. and must be aimed at supporting growth and development in the poorest countries. . facilitate economic development and increase agricultural productivity. Concerning this aspect. and to make those innovations accessible. We must look at updating agricultural and production models. in our opinion. achieving higher productivity. In terms of productivity. These should be aimed at achieving food independence by transferring scientific and knowledge and agricultural best practices to these countries. including initiatives to support developing countries. in order to eventually upgrade the average standards of the sector. scientific and technological research on these subjects. These actions require the active participation of the international community. But we must also challenge those tax and trade policies that distort world food markets. credible solutions that developing countries can implement in those sectors that are key for economic growth. institution. These local systems should preserve high quality production and pay attention to biosustainability. Therefore. the increase needed in the next 40 years to sustain the growth in food consumption worldwide depends on a complex pattern of variables.64 eating planet • to this end. The latter. The challenge is to innovate continuously. if managed correctly. Also. supported also by significant flows of public investment. the choices are enormously important and very difficult to realize. and economic challenges that this context poses. could make it possible to contain the increase in productivity needed to sustain worldwide consumption. they constitute one necessary prerequisite among others for an orderly functioning of the sector. and reduced environmental impact. using suitable policies and incentives/disincentives.

.price volatility In July 2011. As a result.58% from the previous month. China. Large quantities of fresh produce was left to rot in markets. in the autonomous region of Ningxia Hui. average wholesale prices for food dropped by 7. the local government was forced to adopt price stabilization measures.

please see the next section. For a more detailed presentation of suggested actions. on the other hand. Any consideration of food supplies must include the future composition of the demand for food.) can differ greatly with different dietetic choices. and local levels for creating stocks of food and raw materials. It can be shown easily that consumption patterns entailing high consumption of much meat and animal products can. because of the objective uncertainty of possible impacts.g. etc. For example. if we remain aware that many different aspects of using them still need to be researched and evaluated carefully. manage food styles. update the food production chain to manage price volatility and ensure safety nets. estimating changes in food consumption patterns remains difficult. In order to be in a position to resist and prevent future food crises. and roles for such a process of global “insurance. predictive models used today suffer two serious limitations. in view of the extraordinary changes that we can foresee today. they downplay the difficulty of including forecast data concerning climate change. biotechnology) certainly must be explored at the same time. The industrial food sector is destined to undergo significant and growing price volatility in the near future. water. For example. It must implement technical solutions to manage this new reality better. it should provide oversight by an independent authority and impose position limits to ensure that amounts invested are not excessively speculative. In our opinion. defining the costs. we know that environmental impact and natural resource consumption (land. these measures alone can make it possible to achieve significant results. the Western diet and the Mediterranean diet differ mainly in the amounts of meat consumed. Other pathways tied to the technical paradigm (e. on the subject of price volatility of agricultural goods.. On one hand.66 eating planet Combined with a more rational use of the land. In fact. three steps would seem appropriate: • evaluate and select the best practices at the international. national. feed. government action and the molding of food patterns to take sustainability into account are becoming crucial variables of eco- . timelines. • coordinate trade policies at the international level. For the first time in history.” • define a new system of rules for the food commodities markets. Demographic growth across a wide area of the planet is giving access to sophisticated patterns of consumption by vast strata of the populations of emerging countries. favoring market access and qualitative growth for production coming from developing countries. prejudice global food security. over time. capable of valuating more than just the economic role of the products traded.

This is taking firm shape in the developed countries. food choices) and to the supply side (agricultural production. Over time. in the developing countries). June 2010 through May 2011. high and volatile prices are a grave threat to the food security of families (particularly low-income ones) and to the development of the food industry and the economy overall (mainly. the standard deviation. mainly because of the impact it will have on global production equilibrium in agriculture.4 the bcfn evaluation model Faced with this situation. and sometimes extraordinary. 2. Choosing sustainable food consumption models for the future will allow us to reduce the emphasis placed on productivity gains. produc- . Moreover.5). the BCFN carried out research aimed at identifying. the price of cereals alone increased 71 percent. economic growth of emerging countries. rapid oscillations taking place even within the same trading day. as mentioned) and on the economic and political stability of countries (particularly those in development). demographic factors. a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices The level of attention paid to the dynamics of food prices is higher than ever at this time. in order to assess their effects on the food security of families (mainly low-income families. a measurement of volatility. Combined with the difficult world economic crisis. which in turn create pressure on natural resources and environmental sustainability. Between July 2010 and February 2011. with sharp. and tumor-related diseases caused by harmful eating habits. In the last five years. studying. the FAO Food Price Index increased 38 percent. scarcity of natural resources.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 67 nomic politics. increase in the prices of food commodities. but not only. and clarifying the causes of the high. market prices for agricultural raw materials began increasing very rapidly in the second half of 2010. Above all it highlights the factors that can be traced to the demand side (inventory levels of product. In fact.19 has more than doubled compared to the prior 15 years (29. surpassing the previous peak during the food crisis of 2008. we see a worrisome increase in the volatility of prices. which face a health crisis from the spread of metabolic. The BCFN evaluation model attempts to display the many elements that combine to define trends in food commodity prices. This causes uncertainty and instability on the markets. this will become crucial also in the developing countries.3 compared to 13. In just 12 months. cardiovascular.

prices do not have a tendency to increase and volatility peaks are less likely. In a context of extremely difficult capital markets. the increase in price volatility can be short-term or long-term. These evaluations also show that the effects of some factors can be changed only over the middle to long term and that answers may be found as the system adapts to changed structural conditions in supply and demand. all in a context of low product inventories. on the supply side. we must analyze the different variables at work. and their points of interaction. international trade policies. their movement. shown by the dotted lines in the figure 2. conflagration. Add a major weather disaster (drought. That is. impact of climate change). By way of example: consider a situation containing factors such as present and forecast global demographic growth. The outcome can only be a powerful shaking up of the markets. the demographic and economic growth of emerging countries is creating a significant increase in the demand for food. heated economic development in emerging countries. or flood in key world agriculture areas).5 variables of the model To understand in depth the reasons for price increases and their extreme volatility. or among the indirect factors. absolute price levels can increase over the middle to long term. and in the progressive worsening of the scarcity of natural resources. however.68 eating planet tion of biofuels. Moreover. in the rise in temperatures caused by climate change. and significant investments in the production of biofuels. there are many interconnections among the factors themselves. because the consequences and impacts of the two phenomena (absolute price level and volatility) are very different. many of these factors interact in a complex way in the demand-supply relationship. If the policy responses are protectionist. The evaluation model takes into account financial and exchange markets. For example. 2. The imbalance between supply and demand is at the origin of the changes in price levels.6. the price of oil and energy. Some indirect. In equilibrium. and geopolitical dynamics. This distinction is crucial. In reality. the global result will be a sudden increase in prices and greater uncertainty. All the elements identified and shown in the evaluation model above can also be subdivided by the type of effect they have on prices and their relative reference timeframe. . These are called endogenous factors. this is ground on which international finance gladly treads. exogenous factors that affect price levels directly or indirectly can be added to these. More or less. likewise. this is what has happened in this recent turbulent phase. in urbanization. The need to prepare an easily understood graphic representation required placing different factors on the demand side.

on one hand. and changes in the intended use of crops (particularly for the production of biofuels).7). These include.8). and on the other hand. structural factors. As a result of the increase in population and per capita income in the developing countries. The risk of insufficient global supply arises from the increasing scarcity of natural resources.6 Interpretative model of food price volatility Source: BCFN. demographic and economic growth. the consumption of agricultural goods is constantly growing (figure 2. To try to limit this phenomenon. Water is also becoming an everscarcer resource as per capita consumption increases worldwide. The increase in the rate of urbanization and changes in food habits are bringing about a radical—and resource-intensive—increase in demand for foods such as meat. The annual rate of growth in productivity from 1991 to 2010 was 0. 2011. Water tables . scientists are studying alternative ways to favor the consumption of vegetables with high protein content and to stimulate replacements for the consumption of meat. which directly affects the consumption of agricultural products and has a heavy impact on the consumption of resources to support animal husbandry. which seriously threatens the growth of agricultural productivity. degradation of the land.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 69 demographics Population growth Urbanization exchange markets trade policies geopolitical dynamics agricultural production Productivity Technology/Innovation Loss and wastage ways of eating Increase in calories consumed “Westernization” of diet biofuels DEMAND prices SUPPLY limited nature of natural resources Arable soil Water economic growth of developing nations level of inventory stock financial markets (speculation) price of oil and energy climate change Rising temperatures Variations in precipitation Adverse climatic events Contextual factors Structural factors Contingent factors figure 2. insufficient supply globally and high levels of waste and losses. This is due mainly to urbanization.62 percent less than that from 1961 to 1990 (figure 2.

which 2. These include climate change-related phenomena.681 2.065 3. Climate change is implicated in the rising incidence of adverse weather events. Recurring phenomena. and meager harvests caused by such events. short-term factors.947 2030 3. oil prices. and increased rains in Indonesia. such as La Niña. causing colder winters in the Northern Hemisphere. are threatened by growing urbanization and intensive use for livestock. There are additional. raged in early 2011.380 3.7 Daily per capita consumption of calories (1964—estimates to 2030) Source: BCFN on FAO data. Malaysia.500 . Decisions about international economic policy (trade policy) by individual States have always played a fundamental role in determining price levels on a global scale.9).70 eating planet 3. downstream in developed countries). which have had a role in driving up the price of food over the middle to long term (figure 2.152 1984‑1986 Developing nations 2. and inventories. 2010. (such as the drought last summer in Russia and later in Argentina or the strong rains in Canada and Australia at the beginning of this year) partially contributed to the current spike in the price of food. macroeconomic factors. It takes eight to ten times as much water to produce meat as to grow grains.850 2015 Industrialized nations figure 2.980 2. drought in the southern United States. short-term factors that could either exacerbate or mitigate the effects of the structural factors by acting on the volatility and instability of prices.440 1964‑1966 2.054 1974‑1976 2. One of the most critical problems involves the level of waste and losses along the chain (upstream losses in developing countries.206 3.20 The international scientific community agrees that current changes in weather conditions at the global level are responsible for an intensifying of “extreme” weather phenomena. at least 30 countries implemented restrictive export policies in an effort to safeguard internal food security.450 1997‑1999 2. trade policies. During the crisis in 2008. financial speculation. and Australia.

2005 Severe droughts and major wildfires have reduced forecasts for the wheat crop in Russia Drop in harvest forecasts for Indonesian soy seeds because of excessive rain Heavy rains damage the wheat crop in Australia 200 150 Drought has damaged the hard red winter wheat harvest in the United States Most of the hard red winter wheat zone in the U.8 The global yield of cereals 21 (1961‑2010) Note: CAGR. 2011 figure 2.900 kilograms per hectare 2.400 CAGR 1991‑2010: + 1. 250 fao cereals price index. 2011 Mar. 2010 Dec. suffers from light rainfall Poor harvests in the Chinese farming regions. 2011 May 2011 Jun. 2010 Oct. in India cold damages the cereal grain crops Heavy rains and flooding destroys the corn crop in the American corn belt 100 Jun.22% 1. 2011.84% 2. 2011 Feb. 2011 Apr. 2010 Nov.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 71 3. 2010 Sep. Compound Annual Growth Rate.900 1. 2010 Aug.400 2009 2003 2005 2007 1999 1969 1989 2001 1993 1963 1983 1995 1979 1997 1967 1965 1987 1985 1973 1977 1991 1975 1961 1981 1971 figure 2.S. . 2010 Jul.9 Trend of cereal prices and principal climatic events (June 2010—April 2011) Source: BCFN on USDA and FAO data. 2010 Jan. July 2011. 100 = oct. Source: BCFN on World Bank data.400 CAGR 1961‑1990: + 1.

2011. Figure 2.10 shows major international trade policy actions (blue for impacts on exports. production activities (irrigation. the consumption of fuel for transportation. which reduces the food supply. in general the effects are not positive. animal husbandry). tariffs. either internally or externally. freezing. harvesting. The two-way bond between food and energy makes the price of oil a determining factor in food production and distribution.10 International trade policies and grain prices (January 2010—August 2011) Source: BCFN on CBT data and wire services 2010. overall. 8/2011 4/2011 2/2011 3/2011 5/2011 7/2011 1/2011 . distorted the international market. Russia announces a prohibition on exports Ukraine eliminates export price supports Jordan. Although duties. or taxes on exports may provide short-term stability for internal prices.72 eating planet The government of Ukraine revokes the tariff on exports 400 350 300 250 200 150 Because of drought. greater volumes than their customary purchases + − Russia announces that it is suspending its prohibition on exports + − + Turkey reduces its tariff on public‑sector imports from 130% to 0% − + − Europe suspends tariffs on imports of fodder grain − Europe reactivates its tariffs on imports Algeria acquires 800KT above the market price 10/2010 12/2010 11/2010 9/2010 6/2010 8/2010 4/2010 2/2010 3/2010 5/2010 7/2010 1/2010 6/2011 Monthly wheat price (Hard Red Winter) − Restrictive measures imposed on international trade + Suspension of restrictive measures imposed on international trade figure 2. and storage). Moreover. On a global level. red on imports). and Morocco increase imports to replenish their reserves − Iraq and Tunisia acquire 350KT and 100KT of wheat. These restrictions prevent achieving equilibrium between demand and supply and send uncertainty signals to the markets. in the production of inorganic fertilizers. which can lead to aggressive buying policies intended to protect against trends and future availability. High prices for oil will help raise the price of food by increasing production costs and the demand for biofuels (figure 2. Indeed. There is a very tight connection between the energy sector and the food sector. crops are increasingly going for the production of biofuels. export restrictions can aggravate instability and cause prices to increase. Libya.11). and in the final phases of the value-added chain (processing the harvest. the latter accounts for 10-15 percent of the energy in the industrialized countries.

This led to fears of a repeat of the food crisis in 2008 that caused instability throughout the region. In India “unseasonal” monsoon rains hit southern Asia. leading to higher prices for staple and social instability In parts of Asia in 2011 there were sharp rises in food prices. .

12 shows the relationship between the cereals price index. such as futures. Because the United States is the principal exporter of agricultural commodities in the world and many prices are denominated in dollars. the financial derivatives markets for agricultural products offer various instruments to limit risk. options. the Euro/ dollar exchange rate. and swaps. exchange rates.11 Correlation between oil prices and food prices (January 2004—April 2011) Source: BCFN on FAO and IMF data. and how they could influence the volatility of prices and threaten access to food. one wonders about the role of derivatives on the agricultural markets. and interest rates are also very important in determining agricultural policy. the flow of significant amounts of foreign money for real economic purposes . This translates into a significant increase in demand for imports. Looking at the crisis of 2008. According to many observers. Macroeconomic factors such as the inflation rate. Figure 2. to which supply reacts in the medium term. and major events in American trade policy. What of financial speculation as a short-term factor? Today.74 eating planet 250 $ 140 $ 120 $ 100 200 150 $ 80 $ 60 $ 40 100 50 $ 20 $0 10/2009 10/2008 10/2006 10/2004 10/2005 10/2007 10/2010 4/2004 7/2004 4/2009 1/2009 4/2006 4/2008 7/2009 1/2008 7/2006 4/2005 4/2007 7/2008 1/2006 1/2004 7/2005 7/2007 4/2010 1/2010 1/2005 1/2007 7/2010 4/2011 1/2011 0 FAO Food Price Index Oil price ($ per barrel) figure 2. upsetting the balance between supply and demand internationally. The increase in food prices caused by the depreciation of the dollar is a unanimously recognized phenomenon. a depreciation of the American currency causes an increase in the buying power of importing countries. 2011. These assets allow cash to flow in the markets and send powerful signals about prices.

grain. as they are recorded as annual aggregates on individual markets and therefore can only be guessed. Finally.6 0. This lack of equilibrium translates into a powerful volatility in short-term prices and the risk of a constant increase over the middle to long term. when international inventories were low. taking into consideration the many elements contributing to the current unbalanced situation. 2011. and FAO data.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 75 250 200 150 100 50 0 Between March 2006 and November 2007.7 0. American grain exports rose by 46% Between July 2008 and July 2009.13 shows that inventory levels of rice. American grain exports dropped by 29% As a result of the recent depreciation of the dollar. partly because of an imbalance between production and consumption.65 0. However.6 strategies for controlling volatility The picture that emerges from this analysis is extremely complex. between 1972 and 1973. OECD. figure 2.8 0.5 figure 2. World inventory levels are difficult to estimate. and corn decreased worldwide between 2000 and 2011.55 0.85 0. For example. 2. a reduction of less than 2 percent in the output of grain caused the price to double. when inventory levels are low in the absence of a “cushioning” mechanism.75 0. in order to guide development along a sustainable path? 3/2006 5/2006 7/2006 9/2006 11/2006 1/2007 3/2007 5/2007 7/2007 9/2007 11/2007 1/2008 3/2008 5/2008 7/2008 9/2008 11/2008 1/2009 3/2009 5/2009 7/2009 9/2009 11/2009 1/2010 3/2010 5/2010 7/2010 9/2010 11/2010 1/2011 3/2011 5/2011 Food Price Index Cereal Price Index $/e . American exports rose by 56% 0.12 Exchange rate $/€ and the Cereals/Food Price Index (March 2006—June 2011) Source: BCFN on USDA. (hedging operational risk) on the agricultural markets helped to aggravate the overall instability. How can we act on such a complex system. It must be interpreted systematically. the response to a supply shock is a direct increase in price levels.

there are seven principal areas for action: agricultural production. Scientific and technical research on these subjects. grain.95% 1.75% 0. . consumption.76 eating planet 2. where there is a detailed analysis of the requirements for sustainability of the agro-industrial system. It is essential to consider the timeline for taking this action. For a more detailed description of our approach to an agricultural system and a food industry that would be better suited to the challenges of the future.7% Corn − 3. guiding the sector to update production models and agricultural patterns for greater productivity.44% 0. and less environmental impact. higher quality.03% Wheat − 0.36% 2. will be decisive. we refer the reader both to the section “Facilitate economic development and increase agricultural productivity. and stock levels of rice. Source: BCFN on Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) data. 2000‑2011) Note: CAGR. Stimulate the overall growth of agriculture. In terms of possible leverage. Compound Annual Growth Rate.93% Rice 0.” as well as—for a more general treatment— to the chapter Food for Sustainable Growth. and corn (World. by defin‑ ing optimal production models and agricultural patterns for various geographic con‑ texts.4% − 3.13 Rate of average annual variation of production. The challenge will be to promote innovation. 2011. it will be fundamental to sort the factors examined according to the concrete possibility of being able to affect them. supported by significant amounts of public investment.5% CAGR production CAGR consumption CAGR Stock figure 2. either to reduce volatility or to stabilize prices at levels that are compatible with global food security objectives and development of the industrial agricultural sector. In our opinion.

floods. heavy downpours). heat waves. including the diversification of crops. Reduce barriers to imports. improving production techniques for growing rice and raising livestock. Australia. Trade barriers and subsidies distort the dynamics between demand and supply on the international food commodities market. In response. and various forms of trade restriction. trade policies. Concerning production processes. The limits of available natural resources. restoring cultivated peat soils and degraded land. but often simply means spreading awareness and know-how. action is needed to reduce the use of water in cultivation. represent a very important barrier to the growth of global agricultural production capacity. Water usage in agriculture accounts for 70 percent of worldwide water use. climate change. with the most severe impacts possibly occuring in equatorial areas. the Mediterranean. including managing cropland and pasture better. some important agricultural exporting countries introduced export taxes to increase domestic supply and limit the internal effect . both by reducing waste and by using technologies that make water usage more productive (“more crop per drop”). delay. improving techniques for applying nitrogen-based fertilizers to reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Act to reduce. subsidies to exports. Between 2008 and 2010. We also need to adopt advanced techniques for collecting rainwater to be used for irrigation. and mitigate the effects of climate change. It is also necessary to support actions to adapt to climate change in order to sustain agriculture production. incentives are needed to promote investment in available technology that can save water used in production processes. etc. without radical intervention climate change is very likely to reduce future global agricultural productivity. Incentives are needed for various actions to reduce the impact of climate change. Come to grips with the scarcity of natural resources for agricultural production. According to the most reputable studies. which can cause significant crop losses. climate change could disproportionately affect particular geographic areas and their ability to ensure adequate production levels. and improving energy efficiency. managing fertilizer use to reduce methane (CH4) emissions. mainly because of the increase in temperature and greater difficulty gaining access to water resources. in response to predictions of reduced harvests and higher international prices. Moreover.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 77 natural resource scarcity. and there is considerable room for improvement. increasing carbon reserves in the soil. especially water and arable land. Disseminating technology and tools for managing agricultural irrigation for maximum efficiency does not always translate into costly investments in technology. An additional threat is that climate change intensifies adverse weather (drought.

the price of food cor- . and cross-border food reserve would increase the elasticity of the world food supply. because these create distortions especially when employed by the more developed countries. export subsidies. these dynamics have been repeating themselves and are causing another rapid price increase. inventory levels.78 eating planet of the worldwide increase in food prices. Recently. This would require facilitating the coordination of storage policies at the international level. It would be particularly important to collect data about the levels of reserves and disseminate estimates about the size of demand and supply. In particular. Establishing a supranational authority to control the balance between demand and supply would also ensure the presence of an information system capable of collecting reliable data and offering operators more accurate analyses and statistical databases. For example. in terms of sharing information concerning demand. the production of biofuels. Avoid competition between biofuel produc‑ tion and food in growing crops. In recent years. and importexport dynamics. different factors have made it necessary to draw on inventories accumulated over the years to satisfy the growing demand for food (growing more rapidly than supplies) and to stabilize domestic prices. a reduction in the stock-to-use ratio of cereals tends to correspond to an increase in the price level. in order to improve those countries’ efficiency and competitiveness and reinforce their integration into international markets. one would hope for a reduction in the use of import barriers. building a multilateral. Improving market transparency. supply. we noted that. and other trade restrictions. with an increase in the stock-to-use ratio. the price tends to go down. One of the major challenges facing the international community today is the need to build a transparent. Create a multilateral system for food reserves and improve the transparency of flows and inventories. over a sufficiently long time span. thus increasing its efficiency. would help dampen the recent volatility of food prices. Various measures could mitigate this effect. it appears necessary to eliminate export restrictions and reduce subsidies with an eye to creating equitable conditions on the international market. responsible system of international trade based on multilateral rules that can guarantee greater access to food at the global level. by providing harvest forecasts to support national government decision-making. regional. on the other hand. In general. it is critical to significantly improve market transparency while maintaining appropriate systems to protect developing countries. At the international level. Analyses conducted during this research study show a strong connection between changes in inventories and the price trends for food commodities. In particular. Finally. inventories. It would also be helpful toreduce the use of mechanisms to support internal demand.

even though they tested negative for the pathogen. . coli from contaminated produce in northern Germany in 2011 had serious repercussions on developing safety The outbreak of E. The outbreak led to the destruction of tons of foodstuffs.

so that biofuels can be produced where conditions are economically advantageous. In addition to limiting subsidies. On one hand. sugarcane. vegetable oil. At the same time. the recent global financial crisis has led “non-commercial” investors (index funds. Without demonizing the work of the financial intermediaries or interfering with their legitimate activity. Futures markets are an integral part of the food commodities market. Because most first-generation biofuels are produced with the same inputs used for food and livestock (cereals. performing two important functions: transferring price risk and helping to determine the price itself. Incentives should be provided for research into new technologies to produce biofuels to respond to the growing worldwide demand for energy and to reduce its impact on agricultural raw materials markets. to enable regulators to identify possible anomalies in financial . that financial speculation in the agricultural commodities markets could have aggravated short-term volatility. we can suggest some actions that could be taken to facilitate greater transparency. and hedge funds. However. changes in the price of oil and biofuel subsidy policies cause strong volatility and price increases on food markets. Regulate financial speculation in food commodities. One helpful response would be for governments (particularly in Europe and the United States) to significantly reduce support for production and consumption of first-generation biofuels. however. which hold long positions. etc.80 eating planet relates strongly to the price of oil. second-generation biofuels should be supported. order. These products use food crops as raw materials and thus compete directly with food products and livestock for these raw materials. If the incentives are not removed. financial markets. it is also important to facilitate the opening of international markets. We can state with relative certainty. Increases in the price of oil make biofuels more attractive and increases the demand for them internationally. and equilibrium on the markets. this creates competition between the energy sector and the food sector for the use of agricultural raw materials. Thus.). beginning with crops that do not compete with food for the use of land. which operate aggressively over the short term) to increase their investments in agricultural commodity derivatives in order to diversify their portfolios. The increase in the share of contracts held by non-commercial investors may have brought about speculation of the sort typical of stock markets. How significant a role this speculation may be playing in the increase in the prices of agricultural assets is still widely debated. governments should develop emergency plans to restraun policies (at least in the short term) that stimulate the production and consumption of biofuels when world markets are under pressure and food supplies are reduced.

economic growth does not seem to be capable by itself of ensuring higher levels of overall well-being. For example. We need balanced action that touches all. But it is becoming ever more important to define the conditions under which economic growth can be considered tools to measure and promote well-being | food for all 81 trends and to prevent possible excessive speculative behavior. underscored at the G-20 Summit of Agriculture Ministers in Paris in June 2011. mechanisms could be introduced to distinguish between sector operators and non-commercial operators. so that limits could be placed on speculative operators to prevent excessive betting on the movement of prices. In other words. it will be impossible to obtain significant results without acting on the system. This could be done by monitoring the activity of all operators (through a transaction/positions reporting system and by requiring operator registration) and possibly by imposing caps on their activity. new tools to measure and promote well-being In recent decades there has been a growing sense of a gap between improvements in key macroeconomic variables and how well off people perceive themselves to be. Olivier De Schutter. or most. leaving the real market free to operate. On the other hand. The recent dramatic economic crisis has led many countries to focus their energies on the problem of trying to re-launch interrupted growth. in order to progressively harmonize trades on these markets. such as industrial water pollution or mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. or the wide range of negative effects of economic activity. it also appears desirable to introduce rules22 to define the perimeter of action for financial intermediaries on the agricultural commodities market. For the fact is that there is often a strong disconnect between growth and well-being. of the various critical points. the flow of information and the transparency of over-the-counter operations could be improved. the United States has had legislation concerning financial derivatives for about one year and the G-20 could encourage other economic powers to move in the same direction. such as excessive exploitation of environmental resources. As the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Perhaps even more important. In particular. We wanted to paint as broad a picture as possible because we believe that there are no shortcuts or half-measures capable of effectively solving the problems on the table today. This happens partly because there are costs associated with growth that are difficult to quantify but which nevertheless have a significant impact on people’s lives. removing the causes of the system’s current fragility. the disconnect arises because con- .

It counts [. which will only grow when the slums are rebuilt over their ashes [sic]. the inventor of the GDP. Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children. in an endless amassing of worldly goods.” Back in 1934. It measures everything. said: “We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.82 eating planet ventional economic indicators that measure growth by their nature obscure fundamentally important social and environmental aspects of well-being. 24 testified before the Congress of the United States that well-being and the GDP are two . inequality. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages. GDP growth is traditionally taken to approximate the ability of an economic system to generate wealth and therefore the level of economic well-being of its citizens. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution and advertising for cigarettes. such as social inclusion. the quality of their education. when Robert Kennedy. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. and the state of the environment. This was stated publicly as far back as 1968. It does not count the justice in our courts or the equity of our relationships [sic]. The emergence of a greater awareness in this area has recently nourished a lively debate on the efficacy of the principal indicators that governments have used to make major economic and political choices. in short. It measures neither our wit nor our courage. except that which makes life worthwhile. It needs to be supplemented by other measurements of a wide range of phenomena that influence living conditions. The gross domestic product (GDP) is the principal focus of this debate. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average. the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. nor national achievement by the Gross National Product.23 It reflects the volume of economic activity of a country (except for activity carried out on the black market and not captured in the formal accounts). in a famous speech at the University of Kansas. or the joy of their play. 2. neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country.7 gross domestic product versus indicators of well-being GDP is a quantitative measure of macroeconomic activity.. over time the indicator has become a key index of overall social and economic development. neither our wisdom nor our learning. and ambulances to clear our highway carnage. However.] and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. assuming a role for which it was not designed. It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads and research on spreading bubonic plague [sic] and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities.. economist Simon Kuznets.

social. region.] cannot be easily deduced from an index of national tools to measure and promote well-being | food for all 83 different things: “The well-being of a nation [. to construct summary indicators that possess great statistical and methodological rigor.28 The process begun in France continued in other countries (the earliest were Germany. Ireland. and the Netherlands). or territory. Nobel-Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen co-chaired the group of about 30 internationally renowned economists. ISTAT (National Statistics Institute) and CNEL (National Council on Economy and Labor).” how to measure well-being. no matter how sophisticated. Mexico.. environment. employment. which reports to Parliament on economic subjects. . public and private safety. Therefore. In a preliminary phase of their work. would be incomplete.. as the group became known. as well as the lifestyles of individuals and societies. recently established a Working Group to Measure Progress in Italian Society that consists of representatives of social and public agencies. Frenchman Jean-Paul Fitoussi coordinated their work. disposable income. Well-being touches on economic. infrastructure. Prime Minister David Cameron charged the National Statistical Institute with identifying new measurements for support the evaluation of economic policies. human rights. energy. and political factors. personal elements. Along this line. was published in September 2009 and has become required reading for those working on new indicators of well-being. the United Kingdom. However. For example. many multidimensional descriptive indicators have been developed25 with the intent of measuring well-being and quality of life for a particular nation. This type of measurement combines several indicators focusing on crucial aspects that directly or indirectly influence quality of life. the two institutions traditionally charged with measuring economic data in the country.27 The work of the Sen-Stiglitz-Fitoussi Commission. An important milestone in developing alternatives to GDP was reached in 2008 when French President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered the Commission for the Measurement of Economic Results and Social Progress26 to research alternatives. including education and training. the chairs of CNEL and ISTAT met with representatives of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition to learn about their experience and the results they achieved in developing a multidimensional indicator focused on nutrition and lifestyle. albeit with well-known limitations. and recreational and cultural activities. it is worthwhile to consider as many factors as possible. and health issues. even a detailed list of the factors that could affect any single dimension of individual well-being. the United States. Switzerland. in Great Britain. environmental. The point is that it is simply not possible to characterize well-being in one dimension. In Italy. health. Australia. The purpose here is not to criticize an instrument that has shown its reliability over time. city.

Professor Jean-Paul Fitoussi.” 2. healthcare and senior care provided within the family). but did prepare a series of recommendations to capture social well-being in its many dimensions: • Material well-being should be evaluated at the level of the family unit. consumption. IEP. environment. 29 It is important to include sustainability indices for well-being. Professor Amartya Sen. as environmental problems may increasingly undermine well-being over time. Columbia University. social networks. rather than production. Chair. • Measuring the multidimensionality of well-being needs to be considered. in fact. in order to measure growth net of the destruction of resources and the risks of climate change. the level of democracy. Chair Adviser. Harvard University.8 subjective approach versus objective approach: different outlooks in terms of measuring well-being In order to put the phenomenon of well-being into context—in terms of a methodological approach for its measurement—we should first and foremost define the standpoint for the investigation. More emphasis should be placed on income distribution. and wealth. • Concerning the non-material dimension of well-being. * Professor Joseph E. we should remember the importance of free time and the need to measure social relationships. because well-being also depends on activities that do not trigger market trades.84 eating planet social well-being according to the sen-stiglitz-fitoussi commission The Sen-Stiglitz-Fitoussi Commission* did not identify a new summary indicator. as occurs with the GDP. Well-being is shaped not only by economic conditions. • Attention must be paid to environmental sustainability. health. • Measurement of government-provided services should be based not on their cost. “Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. Finally. an increase in average income does not mean that everyone got a raise. and the security or vulnerability of individuals. • Data collection and statistics need to be developed for non-market activities. but also by education. We should choose. but on their impact on the well-being of constituents. and security. Coordinator of the Commission. political inclusion. such as direct services between parties (for example. in general both objective and subjective measurements should be considered. taking into consideration income and consumption. Stiglitz. to adopt the individual as a point of reference—according to what is ultimately a funda- .

of the interpretation of the objective phenomena that each person formulates subjectively. One possibility is that of requesting that individuals provide an evaluation of the latter elements. An approach of this kind was utilized recently by the OECD29 which issued three indicators for the measurement of subjective well-being relative to the number of positive experiences/sensations enjoyed over the course of the previous year. On the other hand. linked to the points of view of the choice. The alternative is to remain within the context of objective measurements. On the one hand the approach is that of the measurement of the factual elements of a person’s existence. on average. we might decide that good-health life expectancy in a country constitutes. since the evaluation of wellbeing depends upon perceptual and emotional factors. in order to attempt to approach in an asymptotic manner a measurement of well-being that is as close as possible to the “real” value. measurement. the level of wellbeing becomes the subject of an evaluation expressed by each individual contacted. and the number of people who stated that they experienced an elevated level of well-being in their lives. the logic is that of the evaluation that individuals give of their own lives. in fact. through forms of opinion surveys. thus limiting the investigation to a certain number of objectively measured indices. the number of negative experiences/sensations suffered over the course of the previous year. There are different ways of filling the gap between objective measurements and subjective perceptions. It is evident that the use of these variables introduces elements of subjectivity into the measurement of well-being. and evaluation of the various factors that contribute to any definition of individual well-being. With the first option (objective measurement) we give up the possibility of directly consulting the perceptions of individual persons. a factor capable of having a positive effect on the lives of all the people who live in that country. it is necessary to build indicators that include both objective parameters and personal tools to measure and promote well-being | food for all 85 mental problem. gathered and evaluated in an objective manner because they are thus unbound from any partial and personal evaluation. According to the second approach (subjective measurement). There exist. This makes the measurement of individual well-being more complete and in closer alignment to the real evaluation of quality of life of individuals. expanding the spectrum of phenomena that are considered co-determinant with well-being. without exceptions. In other words. In the first . when the outlook is that of the individual person. making it all the more complex to make comparisons between different individuals and countries. For instance. This second approach too is not entirely devoid of critical elements. with all the challenges and difficulties that ensue when one is attempting to carry out comparisons over time and space. as many objective factors as there are subjective factors of well-being.

86 eating planet place. Consider first the effect that food choices have on the health of children and adults. It is obvious that food and nutrition directly or indirectly affect well-being. both negatively (direct causes or risk factors for serious disease). an “inventory of well-being”). 2. to measure the present well-being of individuals (what people feel and live today. the outcome of our work is two multidimensional summary indices for the quantitative measurement of national well-being: the BCFN Index of Current Well-being. We have also considered it fundamental to pay special attention to the impact of nutrition and lifestyles on the well-being of individuals in social groups. that today the national statistical systems of the various nations are not yet structured in such a manner as to collect all the necessary information to effectuate adequate measurements and that. On the other hand. socializing. time spent preparing food. the choice of a limited number of variables pays the price of an elevated level of approximation in terms of the description of reality. in the current state of the art in the field. when we discuss the various options. We have avoided definitions that emphasized one element or one particular aspect at the expense of others. In the second place. there are aspects of food that closely involve the social sphere and interpersonal relationships (conviviality. because they are responsible for consuming and degrading natural resources (from greenhouse gas emissions to soil depletion and water pollution). every decision brings with it an elevated and necessary level of approximation. generating the risk—all the greater the more one approaches phenomena in which the individual is at the center of interest—of a failure to consider a set of elements that can together play a decisive role. etc. meals. possess an intrinsic value of focusing and limiting the potential distortions due to the multiple accounting of an end effect on the phenomenon under investigation. Also. We should take into account.9 the bcfn indices of well-being and sustainability of well-being The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition has tried to contribute to the subject of well-being as it relates to our principal area of research and analysis: careful consideration of nutrition and its impact on the quality of life. from a methodological point of view. A limited number of variables observed and estimated. the two indices. to broad simplifications and a necessary set of conventions. in fact. the techniques of statistical measurement—however broad the array of indicators utilized may be—are linked. and positively (protection against certain diseases). in order to take into account the greatest number of factors that have an impact on well-being. these are based on a trade off. and the BCFN .). the impact that food and nutrition have on the environment around us is also significant. However.

food waste More than 30 percent of all food is wasted before it ever reaches peoples’ stomachs. In Great Britain. But initiatives to educate the public are growing.000 initiative. . The program feeds people with food that would have otherwise been wasted. London has led the way with the Feeding the 5.7 metric tons of food are discarded every year. where 6.

Spain. Consistent with the assumptions.14) made it possible to use a simple weighted average to calculate partial indicators for each of the seven dimensions of well-being. For example. which suggested analyzing a wide range of different variables (for example. and Greece. strength of social networks.) in order to evaluate multiple aspects and dimensions of well-being at the same time. 10 benchmark nations were chosen: • three European countries from the Mediterranean: Italy. income. and to each of the three sub-indices (figure 2. thus compromising the well-being of future generations. In some cases. proxies were used to obtain a reliable measurement. social well-being.88 eating planet Index of Well-being Sustainability. in the conviction that these were at least as important as economic factors in defining the state of wellbeing of individuals. to each dimension of well-being. the wealth . Assigning a relative weight to each KPI. education. it was not possible to measure a phenomenon precisely. the three sub-indices under consideration. While it is undoubtedly important to measure well-being today. Each KPI measures one or more contexts for the methodology being used. The three sub-indices—the lifestyle sub-index. and Fitoussi noted above. health. because of lack of available data or the nature of the phenomenon itself. (which aggregate the results of the three sub-indices). at the same time we must evaluate its future trajectory. Only an integrated reading of both indicators allows us to understand wellbeing in depth. For an international comparison. subjective well-being. • Japan. Sen. To bring maximum consistency and scientific quality to the methodology. the starting point was the work of Stiglitz. • the United States. to measure the dynamics and future trends of the current level of well-being (the sustainability of well-being). educational well-being. democracy. The performance of each nation was measured in seven dimensions (psychophysical and behavioral well-being. • two Continental European countries: France and Germany. • two Scandinavian countries: Denmark and Sweden. through specific key performance indicators (KPI). etc. • the United Kingdom. and the two final summary indicators mentioned above. and political well-being) using both the BCFN Index of Current Well-being and the BCFN Index of Well-being Sustainability. by consuming environmental resources in excess. for each of the reference nations. it is possible to achieve very high levels of well-being in the short term. environmental well-being. a very high relative weight was assigned to lifestyles and personal relationships. material well-being. For these.

and the social and interpersonal sub-index—are compiled from 27 performance indicators that measure the seven identified dimensions of well-being. family. shown in figure 2.10 principal results of the 2011 bcfn index The BCFN Index of Current Well-being is a multidimensional measurement of individual well-being from a static point of view. investments. Denmark led with 7. and institutions) “social” well-being 10% “political” well-being (democracy and individual freedom) 10% figure tools to measure and promote well-being | food for all 89 bcfn index of well-being 35% lifestyle sub-index 35% wealth and environmental sub-index 30% social and interpersonal sub-index “psychophysical” and behavioral well-being (health) 25% (income. society. Of the 10 countries compared with the BCFN Index of Current Well-being on seven dimensions of well-being.14 The BCFN Index of actual well‑being and its components Source: BCFN. Using a simple weighted average to aggregate the scores of the 10 countries yields a classification in accordance with the BCFN Index of Current Wellbeing. 2011. followed . 2. the Index represents a snapshot of the well-being of a population at a specific instant. and environmental sub-index.15. and property) “material” well-being 20% (education and culture) “educational” well-being 10% (perception of individuals in relation to their own lives) subjective well-being 10% “environmental” well-being (quality of the environment) 15% (welfare. that is.5 points.

7 points).66 points.90 eating planet point scale from 1 to 10 6.5 5. the wealth and environmental sub-index.3 points. Using a simple weighted average to aggregate the scores of the 10 countries into the three sub-indices.10 points.8) brought up the rear. Japan (5. closely by Sweden with 7.5 4. shown in figure 2. and the social and interpersonal sub-index.5 3. Then came France and Germany with similar scores a little over 6. Italy (5. 2011.5) and Greece (3.09 points. consisting of 25 performance indicators to measure the seven dimensions of well-being in three sub-indices: the lifestyle sub-index.3 5.5 points).8 4. and Germany (5.9 greece spain italy usa germany france japan great britain sweden denmark figure 2. Last was Greece with 3. grouped into the dimensions to which they belong. France (5.30 The BCFN Index of Well-being Sustainability represents a multi-dimensional measurement of the future sustainability of the well-being of individuals. Spain (4.15 Ranking of the BCFN Index of actual well‑being Source: BCFN. namely (in order). followed closely by Denmark with 7.0 5. respectively.7 5.9) were in sixth and seventh place.29 points. Sweden led with 7. Italy was in next-to-last place with 5. significantly behind the others. from a dynamic point of view. By this index.57 points. It is also an aggregate index.0) and the United States (4. we obtain the BCFN Index of Well-being Sustainability. Table 2.16.0 7.7 7. . although the difference between third and fourth place was only one point. The United Kingdom came in third with 6.1 shows the detailed list of the 27 performance indicators used. The next three countries received similar scores.0 points.7 points).

new tools to measure and promote well-being | food for all


point scale from 1 to 10



5.8 5.1 5.5 5.5 5.6









great britain





figure 2.16
Ranking of the BCFN Index of sustainable well‑being Source: BCFN, 2011.

Table 2.2 shows the detailed list of the 25 performance indicators used, grouped into the dimensions to which they belong. We have placed among objective indicators those measurements of change over time that feature significant predictive capability. Thus, changes in education encountered today affect the overall value of the human capital of tomorrow, just as the reducing the incidence of various diseases has a positive effect on the expectancy of a healthy life. Similarly, current levels of economic investment condition the future competitiveness of the economy. For the subjective indicators, we have used existing measurements designed to gather assessments of future scenarios. 2.11 the different dimensions of sustainability The importance of this work is not so much to pinpoint the relative position of each country in a final classification (which discounts each country’s historical, social, and economic history and circumstances) as the existence of more or less equilibrium between the different dimensions of sustainability of well-being for each country and the possibility to identify specific areas for improvement in the different contexts, in order to increase the overall well-being of people. If the saying is true that “you get what you measure,” then only by developing more precise instruments for measurement can we design policies to maximize the overall well-being of a society. For this, however, we need to make a leap


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in quality, letting go of a narrow view of well-being reduced to its economic features, to include the broad range of real factors that combine to define the social, political, economic, and environmental conditions in which people live. Moreover, by introducing a future time horizon (current vs. sustainable wellbeing), we can call attention to the consequences of present choices on future well-being in public policy debates with more transparency. In the end, it is not just a matter of defining better indicators. What is at stake is the ability to increase noticeably the quality of public decision-making.

new tools to measure and promote well-being | food for all


table 2.1. performance indicators used in compiling the bcfn index of current well-being
psychophysical and behavioral well-being 1 life expectancy in good health 2 average time spent on meals 3 obese and overweight population (adult) 4 death rate from suicides 5 consumption of antidepressants and mood stabilizers subjective well-being 6 oecd positive experience index 7 oecd negative experience index 8 people reporting high evaluation of their life as a whole (present time) material well-being 9 disposable income 10 net family assets environmental well-being 11 pm10 levels (particulates) 12 urban waste 13 intensity of freight and passenger traffic on the street educational well-being 14 pisa (programme for international student assessment) score* 15 average annual number of college graduates 16 foreign students enrolled in the university system 17 number of newspapers sold 18 unemployment rate among graduates social well-being 19 number of hours dedicated to the care of children 20 inactivity rate among young people 21 unemployment rate 22 annual vacation days 23 diffusion of broadband internet connections 24 interpersonal trust index 25 national institution index political well-being 26 the economist intelligence unit ’s index of democracy 27 corruption perception index 50% 50% 25% 25% 10% 15% 15% 5% 5% 25% 35% 15% 10% 15% 40% 20% 40% 70% 30% 25% 25% 50% relative weight 30% 10% 20% 30% 10%

* The Program for International Student Assessment is an international survey sponsored by the OECD designed to evaluate every three years the level of education of adolescents in the leading industrialized nations. Source: BCFN, 2011.


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table 2.2 performance indicators used in compiling the bcfn index of well-being sustainability
psychophysical and behavioral well-being 1 variation in mortality from cardiovascular pathologies 2 variation in mortality from tumors 3 variation in mortality from diabetes 4 population ages 11 to 15 obese and overweight 5 percentage of smokers 6 consumption of alcohol 7 physical activity 8 spending on the consumption of fruit and vegetables 9 daily average individual consumption of calories subjective well-being 10 people reporting high evaluation of their life as a whole (future time) material well-being 11 variation of disposable income 12 per capita gross level of investment environmental well-being 13 adjusted net saving 14 contribution of renewable sources to energy supply 15 water footprint 16 total emissions (co2 /nox/sox) educational well-being 17 variation of enrollment in the tertiary educational system 18 rate of participation in ongoing education and training activities social well-being 19 persons at risk of poverty 20 rate of dependency among the elderly 21 variation from the national institution index 22 inequality in income distribution 23 differential between the rate of youthful unemployment and the overall unemployment rate political well-being 24 variation from the economist intelligence unit ’s index of democracy 25 variation from the corruption perceptions index 50% 50% 25% 25% 10% 20% 20% 60% 40% 30% 25% 25% 20% 40% 60% 100% relative weight 15% 15% 15% 10% 15% 5% 10% 10% 5%

Source: BCFN, 2011.

interviews | food for all


interview in access the key factor is diversity

Paul Roberts
What are the main reasons the global food system, on a global perspective, is not working properly? What are the key reasons for the unbalances we observe?

I would point to several factors that are destabilizing the global food system. Most obvious are the risks associated with the key agricultural “inputs,” such as energy, fertilizers, and water—risks that are only likely to grow as the system strives to feed a population of 10 billion by mid-century. Right now, the biggest input risks relate to energy. Keep in mind that our global food system was designed when oil cost less than $30 a barrel—around a quarter of the current price—which encouraged a business model in which low-cost production, not distance, was the dominating factor. But with oil trading at around $110, this system is now under extraordinary strain, with producers and manufactures, unable to easily shrink their market scale, struggling, not always successfully, to reduce costs without compromising quality or safety. Of course, researchers are working hard to find alternatives for oil. Unfortunately, the most successful current alternative—biofuels—may simply be adding pressure to prices. And, of course, transportation isn’t the only high-energy part of food production. Farming, processing, and packaging are all very energy intensive. And, of course, after the risk of energy there is the risk of water. In many areas, soaring crop yields have only been possible through rapid growth in irrigation, a practice that has gradually depleted some regional water sources to dangerous levels in both developing and advanced economies. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, roughly one sixth of China’s population is now being fed with irrigation that cannot be sustained. And we cannot forget the largest input—climate. Already, the effects of global warming are wreaking havoc in sub-Saharan Africa, where repeated draughts have pushed many millions of citizens into chronic food insecurity. But Africa isn’t the only climate victim. The United States, Europe, and Asia are expected to face dramatic changes in rainfall, temperature, and frequency of “extreme weather” events, such as severe drought and storms, which will significantly reduce crop yields. Add to this the risks as tropical pests migrate into temperate zones in Europe and North America, and climate change could seriously hamper global food output even as population is rising.

Paul Roberts is an American journalist and writer, the author of two nonfiction books: The End of Oil (2004) and The End of Food (2008). He writes about politics and energy issues, and regularly appears on national and international television and radio broadcasts. He is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and Rolling Stone.


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In particular, do you think that the modern and industrialized agricultural approach to food, as a collection of interrelated mutually dependent parts, can effec‑ tively contribute to fighting hunger and malnutrition in the least developed and developing countries? If not, why? This is a very important question. The industrialization of agriculture was instrumental in allowing us to dramatically raise output and lower prices in the last century, and the developing world has unquestionably benefited from these advances. But too often, the developing world benefited as a recipient, not as a participant. Many developing countries lack the capital, infrastructure, and political stability to take part in large-scale industrial production, and are thus cannot compete with the developed world on price. As a result, these countries have failed to develop vital domestic food systems and must import a large share of their food, which only further drains their treasuries of the capital needed for economic development—a vicious cycle. If we want the industrial model to work in the least developed and developing countries, we need to re-design that model, in terms of scale and technology requirements, to fit the realities on the ground. Personally, I am optimistic that such a re-design is possible. But I also know it will require a lot of new thinking and strong political will, both within the developing world and elsewhere. What kind of agricultural models should be promoted and subsidized, and what should the role of R&D in agrifood systems be in order to make them more sus‑ tainable? The key point here is diversity: as we’ve seen in the developing world, we need to be promoting a whole spectrum of agricultural models. Consider the question of scale. Today, there are basically just two sizes in food production—the very large-scale model, which can be quite low cost, but also has many “external” costs, such as pollution and high-energy and water use; and the very small-scale, which can be better suited to high-quality, or specialty products, or “authentic” foods, but is often inefficient and costly. What is missing, and what we need to support, is a “middle-ground”—that is, a mid-size model that can produce food sustainably but also affordably, and which may be better suited to less developed economies. The need for diversity goes beyond scale. We need models for “polyculture”— that is, farms which grow not just one or two crops, but four or five or ten crops, all deployed in ways that help restore soil fertility or control pests naturally, with less need for synthetic inputs. Of course, we need low-capital, lowtech models of agriculture, which are appropriate for Africa and other parts of the developing world. But I think we also need a new model of agricultural

whose bets can then exacerbates price trends. In my opinion. a human-scale model for human-scale food production. but in reality. thus. such as a ban on “short-selling”. Of course. considering the high level of volatility of the last few years. which will have devastating long-term effects. But even among well-off producers. I don’t agree. with major repercussions for producers and consumers alike. coupled with biofuels production. it is still practiced mainly in the margins. paradoxically. Urban horticulture is hugely popular in the media. But I do think volatility will pose one of the greatest challenges. R&D is the most critical piece of the future agriculture “puzzle. into research. the future role for R&D is large indeed. We need models that can bring urban horticulture to the urban mainstream. has tightened world food markets. From a market perspective. prices for food. volatility makes it impossible to correctly anticipate demand or plan production. and one hesitates to blame a single culprit.) And we must find ways to affordably produce food. into schools and resthomes and hospitals. because spending on agricultural R&D has been declining—part of a larger trend in all sectors. we will new elements for those models. the causes of volatility are still debated. In one theory. Beyond developing these new models of agriculture. and for the energy necessary for food production. but also backyards and parks—in other words. especially Asia. No doubt there are other factors. . In the developing world. which are less vulnerable to food-borne pathogens. As we’ve seen. high demand in emerging economies.interviews | food for all 97 production for another “undeveloped” part of the world—urban areas. more efficient irrigation systems. how do you see the future of access to food? Volatility is quite worrying. Among these are: food crops that require far less water or fertilizers. making them more prone to price swings and. So. as you can see. But this very complexity undermines a hope for a simple solution. municipal buildings and grocery story rooftops. and all the uncertainty that comes with it.” Yet. Today. and a more sustainable model for aquaculture (in part because conventional livestock production consumes so much acreage and energy. that we must simply learn to live with higher volatility. resulting in over . and especially fresh produce. are now hugely unstable. food price spikes can be lethal. it is the piece most at risk. and one that must be reversed if we’re going to solve the food challenge of the next forty years. as some suggest. Volatility also makes investors wary about putting capital—another key “input”—into farms or. more attractive to speculators. as a specialty or a novelty. importantly.or under -supply.

whole grains and healthy proteins for good nutrition. you can often still access soft drinks or packaged processed foods. You have often raised this point. What. much of it is led by agribusiness with the goal of opening new markets to its fertilizers. In the developing world. Until those foods are focus of agricultural systems all around the world. you invite us to view the “paradox” as a problem relative to the management of a single global system. package snacks. Since 1980 these strong consolidated forces have over-produced corn. Unfortunately. In particular. but the most abundant is usually the least nutritious and most calorie dense. food is abundant. LLC. As farms in the developed world consolidated and focused on a few. seismic shifts began around 1980 concurrent with consolidation in food and agribusiness. a company that creates “good” products with the ambition feeding the world. poured those crops into the Western food-stream as highly processed foods and into the developing world in the form of food aid (which dramatically increased at the expense of agricultural aid from 1980 through the mid2000’s). highly subsidized commodities. and fast food. very well known in her native country (the United States). ever-present food was a new right and represented progress. both sides of the malnutrition coin— hunger and obesity—are likely to persist. What does it mean to deal with the “para‑ dox” in this perspective? What functional implications does it involve? . where she is fighting for a sustainable worldwide nutritional system. then. where agriculture and markets are failing.98 eating planet interview agricultural policies must take into consideration the health and well-being of human beings Ellen Gustafson We know there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. She is the founder and executive director of The 30 Project and a cofounder of FEED Projects. but not the diversity of healthy foods that are needed for good nutrition. Now that we are re-engaging with agricultural development. Products like soft drinks. pesticides and commodity seeds. what we all need is more fruits and vegetables. almost everywhere in the world to access nutritious foods. are the causes of the “paradox” that has a billion people starving while a billion people are suffering the consequences of diseases linked to an excess of food? Ellen Gustafson is a young entrepreneur. The fundamental problem continuing to cause both hunger and obesity is that it is difficult. In the developed world. food companies pushed for new ways to make “food” cheaply from those crops. ballooned with a population that came to assume that cheap. Looking back at changes in the global food system. soy and wheat.

nutrition. undocumented. and mostly underpaid workers. environmental health (especially water and soil) and the economy. and water issues in both the West and developing world. and wheat dumped as food aid. vegetables. health. packaged sugary carbohydrates. We have created food economies and commodities markets that deeply link together many corners of the global system from pricing to agricultural inputs to our actual diets. Cheap food has driven farmers from land and become an aggravator of our immigration and unemployment issues. In the US. you can get western foods. and whole grains that we should be eating. lunch and dinner. We have to take very seriously the effects of agriculture’s negative externalities on human health. and what agricultural models should be promoted in the different geographical contexts? The first step for smart agricultural policy is for western countries to assess the damage that the current agricultural system is doing. environmental health. The paradox of one billion hungry and one billion overweight in the world is that the same structural problems within this global foodsystem that have lead to obesity (over-production of corn. and agricultural development focused on market commodities in lieu of nutrition). and fuel). drinks. like soft drinks. and fried fast foods almost anywhere (even in the poorest communities) due to an unbelievable logistics network. what choices of agricultural policy do you think western countries should make. and economic development. But. we import around 60 percent of our fruits and vegetables and we are the largest producer and exporter of corn (most of which is used to feed animals and to make processed foods. Today. price fluctuations in commodity markets hurting urban consumers and small farmers. even in the wealthy west. soy. Over-pro- . it is much harder. as farm and food factory jobs are done by migrant. to find the fruits. but we should also be considering the implications of our current food systemon economic development. Food and agriculture businesses often view the whole world as a single market but the development and policy communities have consistently segmented their work in siloes of agricultural development. almost anywhere in the world.interviews | food for all 99 The reality of the globalized economy is that we have created supply and demand systems that circumnavigate the earth—even for our breakfast. Specifically. soy and wheat leading to a preponderance of cheap foods produced from those same three ingredients) have also lead to continued hunger (over-production of corn. The implications to the world’s consumers of a food system that is not rooted in health and nutrition are obvious.

with it. they agree: we need better access to healthy foods. Companies have a huge opportunity to change food systems. policy-makers. agricultural policies should be primarily focused on improved health and nutrition outcomes along with maintaining healthy soil and water. as what we grow is what we eat. If we work to change our food systems through consumer shifts. Although most countries will require or desire imported food. You have launched a number of important projects to deal with the parallel prob‑ lems of hunger and obesity. What are the main features and the results of these projects? What do you think can be the contribution of civilian society in sup‑ porting and urging their governments to resolve these serious problems? And what about the role of the agri‑food industry? The focus of my work with the 30 Project so far has been to gather the activists. and to re-educate people about food and nutrition. promoting innovation. not just the outcomes themselves. and the 30 Project will be launching the ChangeDinner campaign with that goal. with the purpose of talking about long-term shifts in the food system. food companies and chefs from a particular city together. since without good farmers. economic development. The USDA My Plate says half of our plates . there are some realistic pricing factors that should work to promote local and regional purchases and. I noticed in my work on global hunger. especially in the west. There is still a huge opportunity to engage the public in food system change.100 eating planet duction of a few commodity crops has also wreaked havoc on our diet. more reasonable agriculture policies that protect all farmers as well as eaters. helping farmers weather nature’s shifts and protecting our vital environmental resources. Policies based on these principles are universal and will be as essential for the developed world as for the developing world. food purchases and mealtime become great tools for social change. farmers. We need to change the conversation to focus on the system problems affecting both hunger and obesity. fair jobs and fair trade. If people view their table as an advocacy platform. that the main stakeholders who are fighting hunger often work at odds with the main stakeholders who are fighting obesity through sustainable food systems. When people engaged in the food system sit down to talk about what their goals for the food system in 30 years are. we can’t grow anything. Considering these externalities. Agriculture policy should be focused toward promoting more universal availability of the most nutritious foods. we can push to shift what is grown and how. along with policy changes. water and soil. as consumers are demanding better food.

so established food businesses should work to improve their practices and meet consumer demands or be eaten. .interviews | food for all 101 should be fruits and vegetables and 70% of consumers say their shopping decisions are affected by how food is grown and raised (according to a U.S. better-raised foods. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Poll). Entrepreneurs are cropping up to fulfill the demands of healthier.

It is often the most important sector and the one toward which investment should be targeted to help build regulatory frameworks and good incentive systems. one would hope for a reduction in the use of import barriers. Agriculture is the sector that makes the greatest contribution to income growth among the weakest populations in developing countries. • creating a multilateral system for food reserves and improving the transparency of flows and inventories. There is a strong connection between changes in inventories and the price trends for food commodities. In particular. while prices tend to decline with increases in the stock-to-use ratio. a reduction in the stock-to-use ratio of cereals tends to correspond to an increase in prices. export subsidies. we can state with relative certainty that such speculation could have amplified short-term volatility. Despite the ongoing debate about the role speculation may play in the increase in agricultural prices. Policy . Global policies must be coordinated and unilateral protectionist policies must be reduced over time. and environmental factors that influence people’s lives. and other trade restrictions. we need to develop and maintain clear and reliable pathways for sustainable development and to define and disseminate solutions and tools for developing countries in the key sectors of economic growth. facilitate new approaches and tools for measuring and promoting well-being Policy must reflect the fact that well-being encompasses far more than one simple economic dimension and depends on the status of many economic. over a sufficiently long time span. reinforce worldwide governance mechanisms The special nature of food (which cannot be reduced to a commodity despite its abundance in recent decades) and the failure of distribution mechanisms make it necessary to get past the paradigm of a self-regulating market. This requires at least four actions: • building a transparent. social. “responsible” trading system based on multilateral rules that can assure greater access to food worldwide. In general. political. • avoiding competition between biofuels and food in growing crops.102 eating planet action plan facilitate the economic development of the poorest countries Hunger is a direct consequence of poverty. • regulating financial speculation on food commodities. To alleviate poverty.

This initiative will also become crucial in developing countries. however. This is taking firm shape in some developed countries.action plan | food for all 103 must also acknowledge that present choices can have profound consequences for future well-being. In the end. better indicators are not enough. mainly because of the impact it will have on global production equilibrium in agriculture. they are simply one means to improve the quality of public decision making. which are facing a health crisis from the spread of metabolic. manage food consumption styles Government action and efforts to guide nutritional patterns according to the demands of sustainability are becoming crucial variables in economic policy. cardiovascular. . and tumor-related diseases caused by harmful eating habits. The creation of the BCFN dual indices is a small step in that direction.

2 3.3 3. Herren Virtual Water Between Underconsumption and Poor Management by Tony Allan action plan .12 The Availability of Water: from Abundance to Scarcity The Right of Access to Water: Reality and Prospects Choices and Behaviors for Sustainable Water Consumption National Water Footprints and the Trade in Virtual Water Water Privatization and its Implications interviews The Challenging Transition Toward Sustainable Agriculture by Hans R.1 3.8 3.7 Current Leading Agricultural Paradigms The Sustainability of the Systems Used to Grow Durum Wheat: the Barilla Case the water economy and the emergency it confronts 3.11 3.9 3. and sustainable food for the environment 3.10 3.6 3.4 3.table of contents introduction Paying What’s Fair by Carlo Petrini facts & figures the double pyramid: healthy food for people.5 The Food Pyramid as an Educational Tool Some Studies of the Mediterranean Diet The Environmental Pyramid The Double Pyramid for Growing Children The Double Pyramid over the Long Term toward sustainable agriculture 3.

beginning with personal and collective lifestyle changes that help safeguard the environment and natural resources. 3. food for sustainable growth Food for Sustainable Growth explores the challenges involved in making agriculture more sustainable. The objective is to improve both human survival and the survival of the planet. .

We have certain responsibilities toward those generations. food for sustainable growth Paying What’s Fair Carlo Petrini Sustainability is a concept bound up with an age-old idea: time. known in English as the sustain pedal. and “sustainability” has a fine etymology: it originates with reference to one of the pedals of a piano. to make it endure. nomic Sciences and Terra Today sustainability is a very widely used term. different levels (social. really belong to us. then a single level of action will not suffice. dent of the international association. That pedal is pressed when the piano player wishes to prolong a note.106 eating planet 3. In fact. Many of us think 2. a network of more than thinking a little more about the future. any more than natural resources do. The clear understanding that the things we plan to do In the 1980s. Slow Food.” It’s a fine word.000 food communities about it constantly. we’re all Madre (Mother Earth). which in 1989 became the international projects) must be able to last over time and on a number of association. it’s significant that the carlo petrini is the presiFrench term is durabilité. and our generation has the duty of preserving them for the generations still to come. It’s a concept that tells us “just how long something can last. he founded (personal and private actions as well as public or business Arcigola. panoramas. The future and natural resources are both shared patrimonies. because the very idea of sustainability that brings together farmers and producers of food contains a germ of the understanding that the future doesn’t from around the world. and quality of life. economic. And that is yet another factor: the idea of responsibility toward those who are not yet among us. climates. along with international treaties and national laws. health. capacity to endure. Slow Food. indi- . We have a responsibility to those who will one day come into this world with the same rights that we enjoy: the rights to enjoy flavors. What we need are certain high-level strategic approaches on the part of the governments of the world. We also know that if we wish to protect everything we enjoy ourselves and hope to pass on to future generations. it is crucial to be able to rely upon daily acts. But that’s not all. Along with those factors. and environmental) is one Out of his ideas sprang the first University of Gastroof the crucial factors in the future of all human pursuits.

or else the prices that are influenced by various corrective supports and regulations imposed from above. a mere producer of goods. the micro-life that makes farmlands fertile and productive. reordering the priorities of our everyday lives and business. where the actions of individuals take place. the private level. For instance. those prices can be influenced by financial speculations. Farmers should be repaid for the many services that they perform for society and for the Earth. are profoundly bound up with the very idea of sustainability. Unfortunately intensive monocultures that are planted and harvested for many years without interruption permanently undermine both farmland and biodiversity. a care that is also concealed in the countless array of microorganisms. it’s not even necessary. we think of agriculture as a productive sector devoid of the other values that actually do accrue to it. those commodities have only one metric of value. in many cases. But production for the mere sake of production is not a sustainable activity and. . not just for the price of a product. of commodities. making time and saving money. The failure to properly rotate crops and the misuse of fertilizers and pesticides only make matters worse. Instead.) All too often. Equally unnecessary and unsustainable is the unbridled spread of concrete over the landscape. Agriculture is frequently thought of by politicians as a stand-alone sector. or vice versa. In contrast. we should consider the time we spend choosing the food we will eat as time invested in the care of our health and the state of the environment at large. This money pays for certain values. which cannot be compatible with the conservation of increasingly endangered natural and agricultural systems. which is the prices they fetch. and the yes-and-no decisions that each of us can make. it is even genuinely ignorant. We must also consider the money we spend on that food as an indicator of our involvement in a profession. the profession of farming. This means that we must put emphasis not only on saving time and making money. In terms of sustainability and food. as we shall see. not just for the products that they put on the market. the level of politics remains particularly vague and distracted. Often these practices are justified by saying that they are necessary if we wish to increase production. and we can never hope to restore it for the use of future generations. as it happens (and this is no accident). A landscape that is covered with cement can never become fertile again. In the general context of sustainability. It is lost forever. And those factors. is certainly the forum for the most active and conscious decision making. (Even worse. that makes them last. food is a crucial factor. consider the care of soil and farmland.introduction | food for sustainable growth 107 vidual choices. that keeps them rich and abundant for the future. That care involves a number of skills and bodies of knowledge: how to keep soil alive by the very act of farming. To politicians. the care taken of a vital biodiversity that can be seen at a glance by observing the plants (whether or not they are cultivated) and the animals (wild or bred).

Care for a territory is just one more prerequisite of sustainability. the things that we transform with respect and which can therefore be perpetuated. Ethics and aesthetics. if there’s no exchange. hesitant in the face of the future. are prerequisites for abundant and healthful food supplies. It is a defense of biodiversity. and making its unique and distinctive flavor known far and wide. when we levy taxes. By this. Such care and all the other values are almost automatically translated into beauty but also into goodness. with no confidence in our own “durability. is much more than a mere exercise in weak-minded nostalgia or the epicurean activity of people who like to consume rare. Because if there’s no diversity there’s no identity. especially those at risk of complete extinction. in the context of sustainability. if serial standardization triumphs. two incompatible philosophies of life. two distinct ideas. And we should value good agriculture that respects the natural setting in which it operates. high-quality foods. the things that we use. building upon its basic characteristics through agricultural techniques and techniques of transformation. . or by human activity) has rendered even more pleasant and charming. and as a society. It should be done through serious and carefully monitored parameters.108 eating planet Fertile soil and biodiversity. with the idea that ethics and aesthetics are two separate fields. Those supplies should be characterized by diversity in accordance with the climates and the crops. a collective. Beauty and goodness are therefore integral parts of the concept of sustainability. thus ensuring that they are sustainable foods. panoramas which positive anthropization (the transformation or adaptation of the environment to meet the needs of humans. Actually that defense is a sustainable action that is valid for all kinds of food production. of communities that are perfectly in harmony with the environment. The heroic determination shown by some in the defense of small local agricultural economies. once and for all. moreover. This should go well beyond lip service: it should take the form of actual strict regulations. It should further mean including multifunctionality in our evaluation of the work done by farms. are so complementary that they ultimately become the same thing. we are referring to the diversity of flavors and therefore of cultures: further guarantees of sustainability for the future progress of human life on this planet of ours. Places where it is unmistakable that someone is taking care of them. and it is a product of the love that we feel for the things among which we live. there’s no reciprocal enrichment. and all the various factors that go along with that. And here’s why: multifunctionality—all these values—almost always translates into a more beautiful landscape. They result in the capacity to take the greatest possible benefit from a product.” These are only some of the leading values that we ought to pay for—both as individual citizens when we do our grocery shopping. a single lighthouse. It is time for us to be done. a guiding beacon. then we become poor and defenseless.

but we are not just its tenants. and a political act. acting first and foremost at the local level. In other words. Stimulate local economies. the biosphere. don’t overuse chemicals. We can do so by learning to pay what’s fair: the right price. To come back to individual city dwellers. After all. moreover. It must also become a sustainable act. are a few of the commandments that should be observed in the name of sustainability. “Eating is an agricultural act. the fact that beauty and goodness are at the same time consequences and prerequisites of sustainability can only encourage us to change our routines.introduction | food for sustainable growth 109 Out of this thinking we can draw up a list of commandments: don’t pollute. We are an integral part of it. to the land. an act of profound respect for the diversity of cultures. the planet is our home.” wrote the farmer-poet Wendell Berry. But the food we eat is surely bound up with the vast and complex system that is the planet in which we live. Here are a few more commandments: produce a little less food. produce better quality food. Those links are both evident and hidden because they remain impenetrable at the current level of scientific understanding. Don’t destroy fertile farmland. not to mention how offensive they are in light of the billion or so people who struggle every day with outright starvation and malnutrition. Indeed. in a world that actually produces too much food (the total quantity of food produced on Earth is more than enough to feed all the inhabitants of this planet) but wastes nearly as much as it produces. Establish stronger and closer ties between city-dwellers and farmers and agriculture. we can do our part easily without making great sacrifices. isolated. a few actions that can be carried out on its behalf at all the levels mentioned above. distribute intelligently. beginning with our food choices and our everyday grocery shopping. Very soon. rooting production and consumption as far as possible in the various different territories. These. Encourage young people to go back to the land. and small-to-medium-sized farming operations in challenging. because we are part of that system. go hand-in-hand with the beautiful and the good. don’t do harm in the name of mere profit to our resources. Moreover. We are guests housed here. traditional crops and products. and to farmers. because eating is the act that is most directly and intimately linked with everything that surrounds us. until . doing our part can add small but significant portions of happiness to our lives. We can add to that thought that eating is an ecological act. For too long now we have pretended that we are somehow an extraneous entity on that planet. official figures on food waste are absolutely intolerable. Actions that. Defend biodiversity. we will discover—if we haven’t already—that eating can be as pleasurable and healthful an activity as it is a sustainable one. then. and everything on the planet is at our disposal. or underfed areas. taken together with values. an act that affects the landscape.

But to do so. .110 eating planet we run out of it—which has been our reason for failing to act in a sustainable manner. beginning precisely with those choices that really have become insignificant for many of us—far too many of us—just because they are everyday decisions.” also harms us humans. But that is actually a decision that has the power to change the world. to harm our Earth and act so as to keep it from “lasting. And so even the selfish considerations that have always characterized us as a species demand that we change so many of our choices. Among them is the decision of what to eat each day.

where the aging of the farming population is taking on critical aspects: with an average age of 65.agrarian landscapes: tokyo The production of food crops in industrial plants is an increasingly concrete prospect in Japan. . with only 5% under 40. Production under controlled conditions furthermore makes it possible to stabilize product quantity and quality.

compared to 7 billion today + bILLIOn THIRSTY PEOPLE ON EARTH In 2025.8/20% ARAbLE LAnD By the year 2050 the amount of arable land will diminish due to climate change and the geography of agricultural production will be radically modified GREENHOUSE GASES Farming is responsible for 33% of the global production of greenhouse gases and 80% of water is used to produce food.112 eating planet 3. 3 billion people will lack adequate drinking water 3 30% 2050 IMPACT OF AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITY 33% OF 80% PRODUCTION WATER CONSUMPTION . the population of Earth will be 9 billion. .45% OF GREEn “LUnGS” Roughly 43% of all tropical and subtropical forests and 45% of all temperate forests have been converted into farmland .  food for sustainable growth 9 bILLIOn + 2012 In 2050.

8% of all farmland will be used for biofuels . or exhausted entirely 32% FISHInG COnSUMPTIOn OF VIRTUAL WATER The consumption of virtual water with a diet rich in meat is close to 5.600 liters -THE EMISSIONS 30% OF 1% 2012 3.500 and 2.5% and 3.facts & figures | food for sustainable growth 113 LIVESTOCK bREEDInG FOR 1/3 FARMLANDANIMAL FEED 26% USE OF LAND THE PRODUCTION OF FOR PASTURAGE Livestock are the main users of agricultural land: roughly 26% of land is used for pasture or grazing.400 liters. vegetables. fruit. while a diet composed of cereals. By 2030. between 2.8% 2030 OF CO2 IN AGRICULTURE The use of climate friendly farming practices can reduce CO2 emissions generated by farming by 30% USE OF bIOFUELS Currently 1% of all farmland is used for biofuels.500 LITERS RESOURCES In DAnGER OF EXHAUSTIOn 32% of the fishing areas have been over fished.600 LITERS 1. while a third of all farmland is cultivated for the production of animal feed. and fish uses somewhere between 1.400 LITERS 2. 5. impoverished.

the foods closest to the top of the pyramid should be eaten least frequently. for instance. the sustainability of the agro-alimentary chain of production depends not only on the commitment of the farmers. Quite the opposite. The reason is simple: it is from this “agro-alimentary” sector that many of the problems—and a great many of the solutions—of sustainability first arise. . your having a car interferes a little bit with my enjoyment of my own car. In other words. the collective advantage is frequently at odds with individual advantages. In 2011. the producers. but also the health of the planet we inhabit. and the foods at the base of the pyramid should be part of every meal. the level of each food category suggests the proper frequency of consumption. asking people to be more responsible in no way diminishes their well-being. The food/nutritional section of the Double Pyramid was built with an eye to the model of the Mediterranean diet. in fact: it is fair to say that the reduction of one’s “nutritional environmental footprint”—which benefits everyone—not only incurs no additional costs.1. but also—and perhaps even more so—on the behaviors of individuals and families. While it is crucial to ensure the greatest possible variety in one’s diet. In fact. and millions of other cars—and the traffic jams and congestion they create—can make owning a car almost pointless. a communications tool for linking the nutritional aspects and the environmental impacts of food. and sustainable food for the environment It’s impossible to get a grip on the topic of development unless we put into the foreground all the pieces that make up the vast system that transports food from farms to tables. and the distributors. In transportation. Further. the Double Pyramid was updated and redesigned in the version shown in Figure 3. In the food pyramid on the left. It has been shown that if you adopt as a regular menu the choices that appear on the classic food pyramid (which places at the top the foods that should be consumed less frequently and at the base the foods that it is healthiest to eat in abundance). who have such a powerful effect on the entire market with the daily choices and decisions they make. But in the food sector. it actually benefits one’s own health as well.114 eating planet the double pyramid: healthy food for people. not only do you respect your own health. But there is a key difference between the food sector and other sectors. the BCFN has analyzed the data available concerning the ecological footprint of certain foods and has discovered unexpected and interesting “environmental” qualities of those products that nutritionists tell us we ought to eat more of. which is the traditional approach to food adopted in such Mediterranean basin countries as Italy. In 2010 the BCFN created and published the Double Food and Environmental Pyramid. on the basis of further analysis.

though inverted. This brings together. generally speaking. This pairing of the two pyramids shows that the sequence of foods is roughly the same. Eggs . Spain. Rice. hands down. in a single food model. The double pyramid makes it easy to see that the foods recommended for greatest consumption are. Greece. Legumes Fruit Vegetables su g high low food pyramid figure 3. in fact.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 115 environmental pyramid low Sweets Red Meat Cheeses Eggs White Meat Fish Cookies Milk Yogurt high Red meat Cheese Fish su mp ti on ge Bread. becomes unmistakable if you turn the environmental pyramid upside-down.1 The model of the food and environment double pyramid Source: BCFN. It was built by reclassifying the same foods that appear in the nutritional pyramid in terms of their impact on the environment: those closest to the base have the greatest environmental impact. the foods that are recommended for the most restricted consumption are also the foods that have the greatest environmental impact. Portugal. two different but equally significant objectives: personal health and safeguarding the environment. when it comes to physical health and the prevention of chronic diseases. Conversely. Pasta. en Fruit Potatoes Vegetables v ir Oil on me n dc ste tal Bread. Potatoes. Pasta Milk. The Mediterranean diet stands out for its completeness and its remarkable nutritional balance. especially cardiovascular diseases. this correlation. 2011. Cookies im pa c Oil Poultry on t Legumes. and southern France. Sweets Yogurt. shown on the right in figure 3. also the foods that result in the smallest and most limited environmental impact. and those closest to the top are most eco-sustainable.1. It has been recognized by a number of nutritional scientists as one of the finest diets available. The new portion of the Double Pyramid is the environmental pyramid. Rice.

there has been a striking increase in the number of people who can freely choose what. American fast food). we find foods with progressively greater energy density (very much present in the American diet). we find pasta. Keys discovered that it was due to this diet (which he dubbed the “Mediterranean diet”) that rates of death from heart disease in the countries of southern Europe and North Africa were much lower than the rates found in English-speaking and other northern countries. The general pattern is obvious: at the base we find plant-based foods. mineral salts. minerals. At the same time. are at great risk of developing imbalanced diets because they lack an adequate food culture or widespread nutritional guidelines that are clearly understood and easy to apply. since then the Mediterranean diet. vitamins. has been challenged by competition from global food models (first and foremost. bread. One unmistakable indicator of this fact is the recent galloping spread of pathologies caused by excessive consumption of the wrong kinds of food (as well as a concomitant decline in physical activity among all age groups). and how much. Pasta . was one of the first to explain to a worldwide audience why people were longer-lived in certain regions. which are foods with limited caloric content that provide the body with water. that are rich in nutrients (vitamins. meats. and sweets. rice. thanks to its simple and intuitive graphic nature. We hope to help reverse this sad trend with the Double Pyramid. These people. with an emphasis. As we move upward. The carbohydrates found in fruit and vegetables consist for the most part of simple sugars. the base of the pyramid. Protein and fat content is very low.1 the food pyramid as an educational tool In recent years. it is important to reduce the consumption of foods rich in saturated fats. and grain products. Continuing upward. and it is a powerful educational tool for changing patterns of consumption. which has two strengths: it is an excellent synthesis of the principal knowledge developed by medicine and by food studies. they eat. which ought to be consumed in smaller quantities. In particular. and legumes. Unfortunately. where the diet tended to be rich in saturated fat. Plant-based foods are also the chief source of fiber. who published the best-seller Eat Well and Stay Well in 1958. however. water) and protective compounds (fibers and plantbased bioactive compounds). The first level contains fruits and vegetables. in Italy and elsewhere. typical of the dietary habits of the Mediterranean region. on fruit. vegetable. which helps regulate intestinal function and makes us feel full. and fiber. which contributes to lower consumption of high-energy foods. The American physiologist Ancel Keys. The secret of longevity lies in the balanced consumption of all natural foods.116 eating planet 3. carbohydrates. Let’s take a more detailed look at the food pyramid. and small amounts of starch. potatoes. in terms of frequency and quantity. which can be easily utilized by the body.

Milk is also the chief source of calcium in the human diet. and calcium. while they are rich in starch and carbohydrates. and cookies. which belong to the category of essential fatty acids. Milk is almost 90 percent water. Legume proteins are rich in essential amino acids and are easily digested. They are also a very significant source of potassium. Potatoes have very low fat and protein content. niacin. fish contain proteins with an elevated metabolic value and variable quantities of fats up to 10 percent of the weight of the food. mostly easily digested short-chain saturated fats (many of which are also rich in animal fats that encourage the rise of plasma cholesterol levels and should therefore be consumed in moderation) and sugars (chiefly lactose. Just beyond that we come to milk and yogurt. Last of all. polyphenols. Bread is a staple.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 117 is rich in starch. Cheeses contain proteins and fats. Rice also contains small quantities of minerals and B vitamins. Fish fats contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Yogurt. fish. but practically no carbohydrates at all. has high starch content. Cookies are composed of a wide variety of ingredients with different nutrient and energy content. with trace contents of high-quality proteins. . like milk. One level farther up we find extra-virgin olive oil. Legumes are also an excellent source of B vitamins (especially B1. because it contains the necessary level of carbohydrates to provide the human body with the ideal fuel. In general terms. Then come fish and eggs. eggs. B12. like all cereal grains. phosphorus. Rice. Eggs contain proteins with such a high metabolic value that for years the protein composition of eggs was the benchmark used to evaluate the proteins of other foods. vitamin E. while the fat content is quite variable. the family of the omega-3 fatty acids. is a food with high nutritional value. white meats. on average between 9 percent and 25 percent. B1. such as cheeses. B2. It may be more easily digested than milk by people who suffer from lactose intolerance. there is a significant content of simple sugars. in particular. They are a good alternative to meat. The vitamins found in the largest quantities in milk are A. we find a vast assortment of diverse products. and phytosterols. which is made up of galactose and glucose). B vitamins are present in small quantities and there is a good quantity of vitamin A. and even lower fat content. and B12) and such minerals as iron and zinc. At the next higher level. which is composed of triglycerides (rich in monounsaturated fatty acids). with a substantial protein content and a negligible lipid ratio. is considered to be beneficial in the prevention of cardio-circulatory diseases. essential fatty acids. and pantothenic acid. low protein content. Cheeses also contain significant amounts of calcium in a form that is well absorbed into the bloodstream. legumes are the highest-protein plant-based foods known (proteins of excellent quality) and also contain lots of fiber. the second part of the pyramid.

About half of the proteins in meat consist of amino acids that are essential to the human organism. moderate consumption of fish and dairy products (especially cheese and yogurt) and wine. fresh and dried fruit. The consumption patterns typical of the Mediterranean diet in fact appear to be consistent with the nutritional guidelines set forth by the most respected international scientific societies and institutions working on the most common pathologies of our time (in particular. which is the same model employed by the BCFN for the construction of the food pyramid. B12). In that study. but also Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases—is the adoption of a way of eating based on the Mediterranean nutritional model. legumes. copper. and animal fats. selenium. We also find B vitamins (in particular. It can range from virtually zero to almost 30 percent. and diabetes). The nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet was scientifically proven by the well-known “Seven Countries Study” conducted by Ancel Keys. white meat. is important because it helps to provide high quality proteins. with a small proportion of polyunsaturated fats. White meats are therefore recommended and the consumption of red meat should be reduced. extensive research has analyzed the links between ways of eating and the rise of chronic diseases. and limited consumption of red meat. which are crucial to children’s growth and to the formation of muscles. and zinc. The fats are mainly saturated and monounsaturated. a series of studies has also shown a strong correlation between diet . olive oil. and cereal grains (which in the past were largely unrefined). The study demonstrated associations between types of diet and the risk of developing chronic diseases. Fat content is variable. It also showed that elevated levels of saturated fatty acids in the diet and of cholesterol in the bloodstream are factors capable of explaining the difference in rates of mortality and predicting future rates of coronary disease in the populations studied. That diet is characterized by high consumption of vegetables. 3. cardiovascular diseases. Beginning in the mid1990s. along with sweets (which are rich in fats and simple sugars) and should be consumed in moderation. This is evident in the many versions of the food pyramid developed by national and international institutes that place red meat at the very top of the pyramid. especially lean meat. depending on the kind of meat. the diets adopted by various populations were compared to determine their benefits and critical points. we can see that one protective factor against many of the most common chronic diseases—especially cardiovascular diseases and tumors.2 some studies of the mediterranean diet From an analysis of the many reference studies. cancer. From Keys’s study to the present day.118 eating planet The consumption of meat.

but also as means for teaching about food and food production. . for people who live in major urban areas. Popular with families and used by schools. especially in big cities. “in the field. and not only for food production. increasingly common. they offer a chance to experience.” where food comes places of knowledge Community gardens and vegetable patches are becoming.

it is worth noting that research shows that the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact at all ages. A recent broad-based European study by EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition). One example is what the United States . found some 70 scientific publications focusing on the Mediterranean diet. which evaluated 485. For instance.120 eating planet figure 3. cardiovascular diseases. and longevity. Alzheimer’s disease). A major international effort is under way to make the arguments of the food pyramid and the Mediterranean diet increasingly accessible to ordinary people. as well as a number of oncological (cancer-related) pathologies. from the pyramid to the dinner plate. Last of all. Those publications presented the findings of clinical or epidemiological studies showing that following the Mediterranean diet resulted in measurable benefits in a broad array of areas of human health. for instance. 2011. from the prenatal period into advanced old age. including metabolic conditions. neurological or psychiatric diseases (for instance. respiratory diseases or allergies.044 adult subjects over a period of about nine years. sexual disturbances (both female and male. showed that strict adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a significant reduction (-33 percent) of the risk of developing a gastric carcinoma.2 The graphic representation of food advice issued by the USDA Source: USDA. over a three-month time span. erectile dysfunction). that a study appearing in the PubMed scientific database.

LCA begins with the initial cultivation or extraction of raw materials.4). LCA analysis follows a product or service throughout its entire life in order to evaluate the energy and environmental loads imposed by its production. Figure 3. and follows them through processing.3 the environmental pyramid The food pyramid based on the Mediterranean diet is clearly among the healthiest dietary approaches available. But what about its impacts on the health of the environment? The BCFN Environmental Pyramid is an effort to illustrate those impacts. and final disposal. transport.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 121 Department of Agriculture is doing in America with the USDA food plate. distribution. that the Mediterranean dietary model must be taken as a point of reference for proper nutrition and that “healthy” lifestyles should be associated with that diet. and tumors. 3. It was constructed from research tracing the environmental effects of various food types using the life-cycle assessment (LCA) method. The LCA approach offers the most objective and complete evaluation possible of the system (figure 3.3 Scheme of medical guidelines Source: BCFN. reuse. However a healthy diet is depicted. 2009. diabetes. use. recycling. assembly. beyond any reasonable doubt. healthy diet and lifestyle 30 minutes of physical activity every day 1 Avoid conditions of overweight and obesity 2 Avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol Prefer complex carbohydrates and increase the consumption of unrefined cereal grains 3 Don’t smoke 7 Increase the consumption of legumes 8 4 5 Adopt a balanced diet Increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables 9 6 Consume 2‑3 portions of fish every week Restrict the consumption of meat and poultry to 3‑4 portions a week Prefer plant‑based condiments 10 11 Restrict the consumption of foods with high fat content Restrict the consumption of foods and beverages with high sugar content 15 Restrict the consumption of fried foods 12 13 Restrict the added consumption of salt 14 16 Avoid the daily use of food supplements figure 3. it is clear that a large share of the most respected scientific research on the relationship between diet and chronic diseases shows.3 shows the guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. fabrication. a different visual translation of the contents of the Food Pyramid (figure 3.2). .

000 3. Cultivation 2.200 2.600 9.5 Carbon footprint of foods (gCO2 eq per kg or liter of food) Source: BCFN. Packing 4.000 / 25.000 Beef Cheese Butter Eggs Pork Fish Rice Poultry Oil Dried Fruit Pasta Breakfast Cereal Sweets Cookies Legumes Margarine Milk Yogurt 1.640 4. 20.000 Bread Fruit Vegetables Potatoes 3.500 26.900 3.400 1.900 1.000 figure 3.600 8.000 / 45.000 8.600 1.850 3.4 The LCA method of analysis is regulated by the international standards ISO 14040 and 14044 Source: BCFN. .000 2.100 900 670 665 600 0 2.000 4.300 2. 2011.000 4.000 1.000 2.000 6. Cooking 3. 2011. Transportation figure 3.200 legend average value + cooking cooking max min 8. Transformation 5.000 4.122 eating planet 1.300 1.250 3.

555 5.” 10. the utilization of water resources.000 930 920 900 240 0 2.000 Beef Dried Fruit Oil Cheese 15.000 Butter Pork Poultry Rice Eggs Legumes Sweets Pasta Cookies Bread Milk Yogurt Fruit Potatoes Vegetables 2. and the capacity to regenerate the territorial resources that are utilized in producing food.140 1.6). however.000 6.000 4.000 1.000 4. BCFN chose to construc the environmental pyramid using only the ecological footprint. It is measured in volume (liters) of water (figure 3. It is measured in global square meters or hectares (figure 3.000 8. They are.160 3. the most significant impacts.7). measured in equivalent CO2 mass (figure 3.300 3.000 min max 1. the ecological footprint of a food measures the quantity of biologically productive land (or sea) necessary to supply resources and absorb the emissions associated with a system of production.000 / 15.000 4.400 3. 2011.500 8. It important to note that the impacts considered in the BCFN environmental pyramid are not the only ones generated by the food production sector. BCFN used the carbon footprint. Finally.300 1. . In the interests of brevity and clarity.5). To measure greenhouse gases. A close look at the chains of food production reveals that the chief environmental loads are represented by three factors: the emission of greenhouse gases (which help drive climate change).6 Water footprint of foods (liters of water per liter or kg of food) Source: BCFN. A food’s water footprint (or virtual water content) accounts for the consumption and means of use of water resources.000 5.900 3.000 legend average value 1.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 123 environmental indicators.360 5.775 1. We include the descriptions of the carbon and water footprints to make it clear that a truly complete accounting of the environmental impacts of food would require using multiple “lenses.800 3.560 5.000 Breakfast Cereal figure 3.

4 the double pyramid for growing children The generic Double Pyramid is aimed primarily at adults. Imagine how great a reduction of environmental impact an individual could bring about by merely modifying his or her eating habits! Let’s take a sample week’s diet. If we limit the consumption of animal proteins to just twice a week. 2011. . however. while in the second menu the proteins are for the most part of animal origin (“meat menu”). as recommended by nutritionists. it is possible to “save” as much as a total of 20 square meters a day. both for caloric content and nutrients (proteins. Figure 3. with varying frequencies of a vegetarian menu as opposed to a meat menu. so we also explored the concept of the Double Pyramid for growing children and adolescents. In the first menu. the proteins are from plants (“vegetarian menu”). 3. and imagine three different dietary regimens.7 The ecological footprint of foods (global square meter per kg or liter of food) Source: BCFN. the influence of food choices.124 eating planet 100 Beef Cheese Butter Fish Margarine Oil Pork Poultry Legumes Sweets Yogurt Eggs Pasta 15 15 93 71 40 109 86 50 66 28 25 19 16 25 18 16 15 Milk Cookies Breakfast Cereal Rice Bread Fruit Potatoes Vegetables 15 13 13 13 legend average value + cooking cooking max. The meat menu has a three‑fold greater environmental impact than the vegetarian menu.8 gives an idea of the degree to which individual food choices can affect the ecological footprint by comparing two different daily menus. Both menus are balanced in nutritional terms. 7 4 12 4 min. fats. and carbohydrates). 3 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 / 160 0 10 figure 3.

8 How the ecological footprint varies as a function of food choices Source: BCFN.720 g CO2 eq Snack 1 Portion of low‑fat yogurt Dinner 1 Portion of vegetable soup/pasta with peas 1 Grilled beef steak (150 g) 1 Slice of bread 4.210 g CO2 eq 140 g CO2 eq figure 3.455 Breakfast meat menu total kcal g CO2 eq Protein 15% 25% Mid‑morning snack 1 Portion of fruit (200 g) 135 g CO2 eq Fats Carbohydrates 60% Lunch 1 Cup of low‑fat milk 4 Cookies 250 g CO2 eq 1 Portion of cheese pizza. . mixed green salad 1.095 Breakfast vegetarian menu total kcal g CO2 eq 14% 30% 56% Mid‑morning snack 1 Portion low‑fat yogurt 1 Fruit Lunch Protein Fats Carbohydrates 1 Portion of fruit (200 g) 4 Zwieback toasts 1 Portion of pasta with fennel 1 Portion of squash and leek quiche 195 g CO2 eq 210 g CO2 eq 555 g CO2 eq Snack 1 Portion of low‑fat yogurt 1 Packet of unsalted crackers 145 g CO2 eq Dinner 1 Portion of vegetables: steamed green beans (200 g) and potatoes (400 g) with grated cheese (40 g) 990 g CO2 eq 2. 2011.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 125 2.140 6.030 2.

excessive body weight. and increased risk of contracting chronic diseases. such as by failing to monitoring the adolescent’s weight or scheduling checkups with a pediatrician. insulin resistance. • adopting a sedentary lifestyle.126 eating planet Breakfast 20% Dinner 30% Mid‑morning snack 5% Afternoon snack 10% Lunch 35% figure 3. such as spending one’s free time watching TV. and arterial hypertension. consuming alcohol and tobacco. playing videogames. poor nutrition and chronic diseases. it has been clearly shown that there is a strong link between poor nutrition. the crucial importance of diet in the prevention of many diseases in children and young people is less widely understood. such as an acceleration of the processes that lead to diabetes and to cardiovascular diseases in adulthood. based on nutritionists’ and pediatricians’ understanding of the nutrients needed for proper development in various phases of growth. 2011. or gaining excessive weight. In combination these three factors can rapidly produce obesity. But even considering diet alone. dyslipidaemia. Figures 3. • neglecting prevention or ignoring risk factors.9 The recommended breakdown of daily caloric intake for children and adolescents Source: BCFN.10 illustrate the daily allocation of calories and the makeup of an optimal weekly diet. or in front of the computer instead of engaging in physical activity. . There are three critical factors that should be avoided during adolescence to lower the risk of chronic disease during adulthood: • developing bad eating habits. They can also generate longterm effects. While the public is fairly well aware of this correlation in the case of adults.9 and 3.

Agroforestry methods improve soil and water availability.making farms and forests coexist Teaching how to make farm crops and forest harvests coexist is the objective of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). fuel. while at the same time. increasing the variety of food. and fodder provided by farms. . which works in Kenya to spread land management models designed to ensure better living conditions for the poorest farmers.

pasta. vegetables. 2011. seeds. ham. Only 1 percent of all children consume portions and varieties of food that are nutritionally optimal. cheese. etc. dairy products. The same studies also show that the daily caloric intake observed for most school-aged children is not only greater than their needs. etc. cereal grains.).128 eating planet Consumption of cereal grains (bread. legumes.) and animal-based foods (meat. but is also prin- .10 The optimal weekly breakdown of food intake for children and adolescents Source: BCFN. Despite these recommendations. numerous international studies show that poor eating habits are widespread among children aged 6 to 10 and that those habits tend to undermine proper growth and predispose them to weight gain. and rice). especially whole grains Consumption of fruit and vegetables Consumption of milk and dairy products EVERY DAY Consumption of meat EVERY DAY Consumption of fish EVERY DAY Consumption of cheese 2/3 TIMES A WEEK Consumption of eggs AT LEAST THREE TIMES A WEEK Consumption of legumes TWICE A WEEK ONE EVERY TWO WEEKS AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK figure 3. A proper diet will contain a lot of day-to-day variety: a mixture of foods that includes plant-based foodstuffs (fruit.

we find milk and dairy products (preferably in low-fat versions).5 the double pyramid over the long term The symbolic power of the Double Pyramid grows if it is viewed in a long-term context.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 129 cipally oriented toward the consumption of fats and sugars. And it is precisely in those terms that the table 3. natural or social. The need for unsaturated fats should be met with fish and dried fruit. simple and complex sugars (through the consumption of fewer sweets. Based on the information we’ve described in these pages. These are very important because of their fiber content and the presence of nutrients that protect against disease. including both sports and play. iron. instead of fruits and vegetables. or foods with elevated concentrations of fats. and in particular the various cereal grains. or rice). 3. Source: BCFN. Distribute the intake of food to five moments throughout the day: breakfast. Engage in physical activity for at least an hour every day. preferably utilizing plant oils as a condiment. which should have a 1:1 ratio. etc. For these products. Avoid excessive introduction of calories by not eating highly caloric foods. especially whole and unrefined grains. Reduce as much as possible one’s sedentary life. a relatively low frequency of consumption is recommended. supplying all the nutrients and micronutri‑ ents (calcium. Reduce to a minimum the extra intake of salt in order to reduce the risk factors for developing hypertension.11). in particular time spent in front of a video screen (television and computer). potatoes. afternoon snack. vitamins. the diet for children and adolescents ought to be based prevalently on plants. more bread. pasta. The very concept of “sustainability” contains the fundamental value of “durability”—the capacity of any system. As with adults.1 – summary of the macro-guidelines for healthy growth Adopt a healthy balanced diet that alternates all the chief food groups on a daily basis. This is especially true of children with a tendency toward obesity. until we finally come to products with higher fat and sugar content. (The needs of youth are comparable in terms of frequency of consumption to those of adults). Break down the nutrients during the day so as to assure the presence of a proper equilibrium between the intake of animal and plant proteins. the BCFN has constructed a nutritional pyramid that is used in the development of the Double Pyramid applicable to children (particularly from the age of two) and adolescents (figure 3. as well as meats and fish. lunch. and dinner. especially as an adult. Table 3. animal and plant fats (by using less lard and butter and more olive oil).) that an adolescent needs. as well as fruits and vegetables. morning snack. Moving up the pyramid. Avoid consuming food outside of the five moments just listed.1 summarizes the BCFN’s exploration of the research on the nutritional needs of growing children in a set of broad guidelines for achieving a diet and lifestyle suited to the proper and healthy development of children and adolescents. . 2011. to preserve itself intact and vital over the long term.

increasingly widespread ways of eating are leading to a gradual decline in the health of younger people (in particular. 2011. In this context. On the one hand. the same foods that ought to consumed less frequently) is causing a substantial impact on the environment and on natural resources that might well further reduce the quality of life and the overall welfare of the coming generations.130 eating planet environmental pyramid low Fats / Oils Sweets Red meat high Red meat Cheese Fish su g Fruit and vegetables Cereal Grains (50% unrefined). Pasta. beginning with children. That development runs counter to a well-established trend of growing life expectancies. On the other hand. Bread. That makes it indispensable to create a collective sense of responsibility. Rice high low food pyramid figure 3. model of the Double Pyramid suggests that we evaluate all our dietary choices and behaviors—including those that may seem unimportant in the short term but which can loom much larger if measured over time. The adoption of a proper dietary model thus has both direct and indirect effects on the future of our children. via the spread of overweight and obesity) and a corresponding reduction of their life expectancy. the excessive use of certain foods (generally speaking. leads to certain implications that ought to be further explored and popularized among families and educators. and secondarily on the children themselves.11 The double pyramid for growing children and adolescents Source: BCFN. parents and school systems must commit to collaborating more intensely to the nutritional education of future generations. Such a campaign should focus on parents and the educational system. en Milk and Dairy Products Yogurt ge Fruit and vegetables v ir on me n ste Legumes White meat Fish Eggs Cheeses su mp ti Legumes Sweets Yogurt Eggs Bread Milk and Dairy Products Pasta Rice Cereal Grains (50% unrefined) dc on tal im pa c Fats/ Oils White meat on t . applying the Double Pyramid to future generations.

In this section we will evaluate the chief characteristics of agricultural production paradigms with respect to their sustainability. technologically appropriate. work together to describe the complex reality of world agriculture (figure 3. water. in particular.toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 131 toward sustainable agriculture The field of sustainable agriculture has reached a point at which the debate is focused increasingly on agro-alimentary biotechnologies.”2 The various models of sustainable agriculture share certain traits in their interactions with the ecosystem: they seek to protect the soil against erosion. as “food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging these assets. etc. BCFN has developed its own vision of agricultural sustainability and has used it as a reference point in examining the critical issues and opportunities in various forms of agricultural innovation. and fossil fuel-based energy. soil quality (soil loss and soil depletion). optimize the consumption and use of water. briefly. In that context. of fossil fuels). it: “conserves land. Interest in such practices has risen chiefly . is environmentally non-degrading. malnutrition). and the availability and use of water resources. minimize the application of plant protection products (such as herbicides. Western and otherwise) and the consequences of climate change (increase of average temperatures. and encourage biodiversity (which reinforces the resiliency of ecosystems and their ability to self-regulate). undernutrition. These measures ensure both that farmers and producers receive adequate income and that the land is protected and safeguarded. synthetic fertilizers. There is also the population variable (now and in the future) and the growing significance of migration (especially in the most critical socioeconomic contexts) as well as the impact of the various agricultural models on food security and human health (epidemics. Agriculture is a complex activity and its sustainability depends on many factors. changes in precipitation. we must consider energy issues (the production and use of energy and.12).). extreme weather phenomena. plant and genetic resources. And of course any evaluation of the world’s agricultural systems must address two additional underlying themes: dietary habits (current and future.” 1 As the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reminds us. Sustainable agriculture can be defined. it is urgent that new forms of equilibrium be found in order to make the structure sustainable over the long term. and pesticides). economically viable and socially acceptable. in their reciprocal influence and interaction. These variables. Given the possibility of energy shocks that could undermine one or more of that reality’s constituent factors. fungicides. In addition to the agro-alimentary production system in the narrowest sense (the actual productive chain).

. fungicides. and the adoption of agrochemistry (the massive use of pesticides. the practice of monoculture. and rice. corn. the spread of mechanized farming. These led to a striking rise in the volumes of production per working farmer. and potassium). land loss & flooding energy sector Land Loss food production Life Sustaining Calories per Capita Biofuels Production Petroleum Use for Fertilizer o o Habitat Conversion s s o s health catastrophes Famines s Calorie Gap s s r Toxic Residue r Fertilizer Demand s o s b Acres in Agriculture o b Calories per Capita o o Human Human Population Human s Deaths Births Population Density Soil Capacity Soil Nutrient Productioin o Soil Nutrient Consumption s Plant Calories Plant Plant Consumption Production Droughts s o Plant Calories for Human Use s s human population o Migration Soil Salinization s s Irrigation Variation in Rainfall Pattern s Plant Calories for Meat Production s s s Exposure to a Higher Standard of Living s s s Water Demand s Global Temperature s s Pursuit of 1 st World Food Mix Meat Calories Meat Consumption migration s fresh water s Methane Production s global warming Meat Production s figure 3. beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. herbicides.12 The model developed by the IAASTD for representing the complex system of agriculture Source: IAASTD. especially of wheat.132 eating planet for two reasons: the spreading awareness of the damage conventional agriculture inflicts on the environment. especially petroleum. and synthetic fertilizers developed through the use of nitrogen. and growing concern about the potential scarcity of key resources. In certain areas. phosphorus. 2011. In the past 50 years farming has developed rapidly—though not at the same pace in all regions of the world—toward the adoption of technologies capable of increasing the productivity of individual farmers and toward a general modernization of production techniques. four new innovations appeared: high-yield plant varieties (HYVs).

factory farming represents the most critical sector of the entire food system.single room With regard to environmental impact. These farms have series of smaller enclosures for pigs. But an organic pig farm can provide a different vision of meat production. allowing animals to have access to the outdoors. In addition. . leading to the overuse of antibiotics. animals are often raised in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

especially since the mid-twentieth century. with deposits rapidly running out in the three leading producing countries. It has made possible a lengthy period of rising productivity and low prices for foodstuffs. 5-7 September 2011. and loss of biodiversity. allows farmers to take advantage of potential economies of scale throughout the entire production chain. • The gradual reduction of the expanse of large forested areas. has led to an array of alarming trends: • The grave depletion of arable farmland. Moreover. depleted. However. and Technology for Development (IAASTD) (Agricul‑ ture at a Crossroads) firmly reminds us (the report was the work of 400 world experts over four years).134 eating planet This model. Forty percent of world farmland is depleted or poor. “Expert Meeting on Greening the Economy with Agriculture. and mechanization. with the risks of ”peak oil pricing” leading to price surges and of climate change. as the 2009 report from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge. and the scarcity of natural resources* The incessant drive to exploit farmland and increase yields. The develop- food. pollution of drainage basins. This accounts for some 30 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. largely for the production of palm oil. emerging from the combination of intensive monoculture. • The use of 80 percent of all available phosphorus. agrochemistry. in the production of fertilizers. this increase in productivity was won at the cost of the intensive and often irreversible exploitation of natural resources: soil erosion. Science. or exhausted. • Heavy dependency on fossil fuels as an input (for instance. • The poor and exploitative management of farmland and forests. in the last decade the trend of growth in agricultural productivity has dropped sharply. . agriculture. this includes the conversion of some 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of wetland forests in southeast Asia. ushering in a period of stagnating yields. deforestation. Roughly 43 percent of all tropical and subtropical forests and 45 percent of temperate forests have been converted into farmland. and in mechanization). • The use of approximately 70 percent of all available water resources. Thirty-twopercent of those areas have been overfished. • The intense exploitation of fishing areas. water contamination. * FAO/OECD. in irrigation.” Paris. and 52 percent fully exploited.

6% 1995 2005 Annual yield per hectare (metric tons per hectare) Trend (simple moving five‑year average) CAGR = Compound Annual Growth Rate figure 3. 1961‑2009) Note: Yield per hectare has been calculated as the relationship between the level of production and the area harvested.13 The trend of corn yield per hectare–USA (metric tons per hectare. Source: Elaboration of data from United States Department of Agriculture Database.0% CAGR 75‑86 2. But despite some promising results from the emerging new models. The critique of the intensive monoculture approach. 2011. the trend was identified by using a moving five‑year average. ment that marked the first 30 years since the introduction of the intensive monoculture paradigm has progressively lost momentum (figure 3.13). meanwhile. and environmental. and social sustainability.5% CAGR 98‑09 1. high-quality product. That is why the debate over the process of radically rethinking the prevalent models and approaches is nowadays more wide open and vibrant than ever before.toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 135 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 CAGR 64‑75 3. 2009 1993 2003 1983 1999 2007 1963 1981 1987 1989 1991 1997 1969 2001 1961 1965 1973 1979 1967 1975 1977 1985 1971 . for every single year considered. a clear way forward has not yet materialized. has led to experimentation with approaches that are more considerate of overall sustainability.0% CAGR 86‑98 1. The first task is to identify the underlying prerequisites of the potential agricultural models in light of the demand for sustainability. at least not one that is capable of delivering high-volume production. economic.

and LEI (low external input). What is crucial in this approach is the reference to the intensity of resources consumed (figure 3. in which the numerous systems of agricultural production are broken down into three main categories:3 HEI (high external input) systems. in fact. of particular interest in terms of sustainability is the approach proposed by the FAO. Most agricultural models are IEI systems and fall somewhere in between. For instance. stability of production. IEI (intermediate external input) systems. At the opposite extreme of the spectrum we find LEI systems. and by heavy dependency on synthetic fertilizers and plant protection products. 3. It will also become increasingly crucial to identify techniques that allow us to confront the challenges of the changes under way (and expected only to increase) in two key factors: availability of water and quality of soil. and the limited use of chemical products.14). the chief objective is simply to raise enough food to feed the farmer’s nuclear family. the use of techniques involving considerable labor and knowledge. the quest for a sustainable balance between .6 current leading agricultural paradigms The various alternative approaches to agriculture can be classified in a variety of different ways. Another open and important issue is agricultural productivity. it is equally evident that in some areas of the planet agricultural yields are still much lower than the levels achieved even in the distant past in economically more advanced countries. In large areas of the world. rightly. Among these. This is because it is important to ensure sufficient yields. Here the focus is on the use of traditional plant varieties. and food security. by intense mechanization (which corresponds to a low level of manpower). HEI systems are characterized by a sharp commercial orientation. IEI models call for the use of plant varieties modified by traditional techniques of crossbreeding and hybridization. especially when we look to those parts of the world that are still developing and need a significant improvement in average living conditions.136 eating planet a future to be built. a central issue will continue to be the control and elimination of diseases and infestations of crops. characterized by poverty of both means and knowledge. agriculture is dominated by pure subsistence farming. The proper application of agricultural techniques (including some very basic ones) to improve yields remains. These are production models designed to maximize output in conditions of optimal efficiency through attainable economies of scale. While it is true that the widely acknowledged problems of access to food are chiefly due to poor distribution than to any real insufficiency of world agricultural production. by the use of plant varieties with high yields in terms of productivity. the focus of interest in agriculture. In these areas. Systems based on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are emblematic of this approach.

toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 137 mechanization and labor. coherence figure 3. but they do so by means of higher consumption of resources. Source: FAO/OECD.14 The three main agricultural models according to the FAO Note: IPM (Integrated Pest Management). 2011. connectedness. That is why they are also the most fragile systems under future scenarios of potential scarcity. are usually forced to “pay” for their lesser impact on resources with reduced cultivation yields. on the other hand. The sustainability of the various paradigms obviously differs. high GHG emissions Low diversity. the use of high knowledge-content techniques. HEI systems. natural management resource options low-external input intermediate-external input Aquaculture and capture fisheries Forestry systems Conservation agriculture. coherence annuals less resilient & efficient More energy to maintain. Precision farming systems high-external input nature Organic agriculture Multi‑trophic marine systems Grassland and forage crops GMO‑based systems High external input livestock systems High external input cropping systems Biodynamic agriculture Agroforestry systems Mountain systems UPA SRI (Polydome systems ) Mixed rice‑fish systems Permaculture Traditional & perennial polycultures Mixed crop livestock systems perennial / integrated more resilient & efficient Less energy to maintain. SRI (System of Rice Intensification). seem capable of ensuring better cultivation yields in terms of product per surface area. connectedness. man-made . in particular. UPA (Urban and Peri‑urban Agriculture). LEI systems. IPM. and the use of fertilizers and chemical products. low GHG emissions High diversity. Food availability and natural resource use in a green economy context.

Marches.e.138 eating planet Clearly. . C) shows a number of findings of the study concerning the carbon footprint. i. or the equivalent of 300 kilograms of CO2 per metric ton of durum wheat) and the other environmental impacts of their agricultural practices without compromising the quality of their products—in fact. are intimately tied to the agricultural setting where it is cultivated. and Sicily).6 The study made it clear that. Figure 3. In various studies it has been shown that the agricultural phase (actual work in the fields) is one of the most decisive in terms of the environmental impact of the production chain of pasta. the Emilia-Romagna region. durum wheat. not only do all the parameters of its sustainability alter substantially. The study also made clear that the characteristics of a plant species. central Italy (Tuscany. but so do the final quality and quantity of the material produced. Italian farmers can reduce the emission of CO2 (by as much as 40 to 50 percent. this is an extremely simplified depiction of reality. The ultimate objective was to identify sustainable agricultural systems that could subsequently be tested in the various national territories of production. in many cases. standard rotation practices were identified that were representative of the rotations of durum wheat in Italy (figure 3. Agronomic and economic studies were bolstered by the environmental evaluations done using life cycle assessment 4 and summarized in terms of water footprint5 and ecological footprint. Our methodology focused on four regions: the Lombard and Venetian plains. and thus both increase the quality and the quantity of cereal grain produced.8 and the efficiency in terms of the utilization of nitrogen. IEI) measure up to the challenges of the future? How will those same paradigms evolve? To what extent will they be capable of taking on and sustaining a world of increasingly scarce resources? 3.16 (A.7 the sustainability of the systems used to grow durum wheat: the barilla case In keeping with the ideas discussed here. For all of these macro-areas. it can help us to formulate a number of broad observations in response to these critical questions: How do the various models (HEI.7 the gross revenue generated.. it is more sustainable in both environmental and economic terms. Still. Basilicata.9 The study revealed that the adoption of the traditional proper crop rotations drastically reduces the environmental impact and offers higher earnings for the farmer. B. Barilla therefore underwrote a study to analyze and compare different agricultural models for the cultivation of durum wheat. LEI. while improving both quality and profitability. Barilla decided to carry out a number of experiments to test the possibilities for improving its own agricultural supply chain. in this case. When that setting varies. This section summarizes the most significant results of this work. and Umbria). and southern Italy (Puglia.15).

.toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 139 lombard-venetian plain Cultivation of Corn Industrial corn soy durum wheat durum wheat corn rapeseed corn corn emilia-romagna Cultivation of Cereal Grains Industrial Cultivation of Vegetables corn soy tomatoes durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat sorghum corn corn common wheat common wheat common wheat central italy Cultivation of Cereal Grains Protein Pasturage Industrial durum wheat garden peas alfalfa sunflower durum wheat durum wheat alfalfa durum wheat sorghum garden peas alfalfa rapeseed durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat southern italy and islands Cultivation of Cereal Grains Pasturage Protein Industrial durum wheat pasturage chickpeas tomatoes durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat pasturage chickpeas durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat durum wheat figure 3.” Filiera Grano Duro News.15 Crop rotations studied in the four macro‑areas of Italy Source: “Sostenibilità dei sistemi colturali con frumento duro. 2011.

2 0.7 0. 2011.4 0.6 0. . on efficiency of nitrogen use c Source: “Sostenibilità dei sistemi colturali con frumento duro.” Filiera Grano Duro News.1 0. on gross revenue b .31 t CO2 eq/t } Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Pasturage Industrial Protein Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Industrial Industrial Vegetable Crops Industrial Cultivation of Corn ** Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Pasturage Industrial Vegetable Crops Protein 0 0. c Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Industrial Industrial Vegetable Crops Industrial Cultivation of Corn ** Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Pasturage Industrial Vegetable Crops Protein 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 figure 3. ** Standard crop rotations normally adopted in each area.5 0.16 Effect of farming sistems on carbon footprint a .3 0.140 eating planet carbon footprint (t co2 /t kernel) { Δ cereal crop /rotations * = −0.8 gross revenue (€ / t) { Δ cereal crop /rotations * = + 100 € } Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Pasturage a Industrial Protein Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Industrial Industrial Vegetable Crops Industrial Cultivation of Corn ** Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Pasturage Industrial Protein 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 b 140 160 180 efficiency use of nitrogen (kg kernel of hard red winter wheat/kg nitrogen) { Δ cereal crop /rotations * = 100% } Cultivation of Cereal Grains ** Pasturage Industrial Protein Central Italy Emilia‑Romagna Lombard‑Venetian Plain Southern Italy and Islands * Difference between the average of values recorded in the rotations and the values recorded in the cereal crop system.

LEI. are very promising. the integrated management of parasites and diseases through appropriate practices11 (based on biodiversity. to obtain better performance in terms of sustainability. sustainable agriculture is based on wider and more intensive adoption of already well-known principles. as of this writing. • Grow a broader array of plant species through the systematic (and oncecommon) practice of crop rotation on the same land in order to achieve the proper distribution of trees. underbrush. they allow farmers. are the underlying foundation of a truly sustainable agriculture. adapted to diverse situations as appropriate. the selection and the use of low-environmental-impact pesticides) and. Current scientific and practical knowledge has coalesced around several major principles which. These techniques involve the use of high-yield plant varieties that are resistant to biotic and abiotic stress factors and with good nutritional qualities. in order to protect the surface of the farmland and conserve water and nutritive substances. pasturage. This merges with practical experience accumulated over centuries of . or IEI).toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 141 the six strategic points of agriculture 1. In section 3. and crops. • Encourage the biological activity of the farmland and practice the integrated management of parasites and weeds. when necessary. The crucial steps are: 10 • Adopt crop rotation as a systematic practice. Practiced this way. the optimized use of organic and inorganic fertilizers.7 we offer a brief summary of the experimentation conducted by Barilla that reinstituted these sound guidelines among certain agricultural vendors that supply the company with raw materials. the efficient management of water resources. in order to preserve intact the soil’s structure and organic materials. • Minimize mechanized operations on the land. The results. especially by making short-term use between crops of ground cover or organic residue from the harvest. 2. shrubs. agricultural “knowledge” appears to be restricted. Science has brought to agriculture a great expanse of new knowledge concerning the characteristics of the natural environment and the physiology of plant species. • Improve and maintain a protective organic cover over the soil surface. with equal macro reference models (HEI. thereby improving the resilience of the system.

or IEI). In other cases. . as far as we are concerned there are no inherently good or bad agricultural paradigms. what matters is the general trend line: the shift toward increasingly sustainable IEI paradigms and the balancing among models within macroregions. In much the same way. Brazil. there is a broad array of possibilities. we should adapt and revise models that prove to be appropriate to the specific characteristics of the local situation. Where there is still a complete lack of agricultural models that are sustainable in economic and social terms. In places where higheconomic-yield HEI systems are solidly rooted (for example. use the proper agricultural model for the context with the objective of reducing the level of external inputs. Still. such as considering a portfolio of managed agricultural models. that can be managed on a practical basis in the light of the previously mentioned needs for sustainability. the obligatory path forward for Europe is that of practicing increasingly sophisticated IEI/LEI models. Instead. LEI. In those cases. There are certainly HEI models that we believe will ultimately prove to be unsustainable in practice.142 eating planet farming to yield a vast patrimony of knowledge that is of extraordinary value—but which is currently being utilized only in part. In other words. and Argentina). it makes no sense to propose or advocate extreme shifts in direction. Having established these prerequisites. Overcoming this hurdle will require significant investment to spur development that trends toward greater levels of sustainability. whatever the model adopted (HEI. there is a wide belief that available technologies at least in part render superfluous an in-depth understanding of natural dynamics. alongside those extremes. we should not fall for the illusion that we can simply import paradigms from outside. in the United States. IEIs adjacent to LEIs. 3. In some cases this is due to the lack of effective means to transfer know-how. and there are LEI models that will be impossible to implement in certain contexts. A different approach is required with developing countries. bridging the gap between the knowledge that is available and individual system-wide expertise. it will be necessary to consider the model’s limits in terms of sustainability and introduce the necessary course corrections. The choice of the model depends on the context. In other words. the biggest problem confronting agriculture today is the need to reinforce its foundations in terms of human capital.

In 2010 the U. a pragmatic and open-minded approach to the choice among agricultural paradigms allows policies that maximize the overall resiliency of the agricultural systems in question. which competes directly with the use of raw materials in the food and feed sectors.toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 143 4.18). all equally optimized for sustainability. etc. which takes the form of an integrated and coordinated management of a broad array of tools and approaches: plant varieties that are resistant to stress. It represents a third of world production and two-thirds of total exported volumes. As noted in the previous point. The most important issue of this kind is food waste. From 2008 to 2010.S. enhances the capability to respond to adverse events and to attain specific system objectives. biodiversity can and should be used as a tool for effective risk management. a scientific approach to fertilization. The belief is that these can only be increased by improving individual strains and varieties. high volume. Sound management of biodiversity and the use of different models. corn. bioethanol was produced mainly from raw cereal grains (55 percent) and cane sugar (35 percent). for instance). Nowadays. In addition to food waste and loss. another issue is central to decisions about the allocation of financial and physical resources in the agricultural sector: the production of biofuels. the use of advanced irrigation systems.17 and 3. According to the approach that we are suggesting. which exists in truly unsettling proportions and represents one of the chief challenges for future agricultural sustainability (figures 3. they are frequently talking only about productivity and yield. A substantial portion of the problems afflicting the agricultural and agro-alimentary system have nothing to do with the choice of models or their optimization. when people talk about technology in agriculture. The production of biofuels especially raises the demand for wheat. used .12 The extensive use of corn for the production of ethanol in the United States has had significant worldwide repercussions. when alternatives (maximum quality vs. in fact. address the exogenous factors of sustainability in agriculture: food waste and biofuels. technology too takes on a different connotation from the one that these days seems to be all too prevalent. But what is even more important is the capacity to adapt. invest in technology to make agriculture more adaptable to change. 5. and oilseeds. sugar. 6. while biodiesel production relied mainly (90 percent) on vegetable oils.

volumes of corn used in food and food products increased at an annual rate of 1. . Between 2004 and 2007. was used in the production of biodiesel fuel.” 2011. West & Central Asia South & Southeast Asia Latin America Consumer Production to retailing figure 3. a total of 8. roughly 3 percent of world production. a much greater rate than the growth rate for production of vegetable oils as foodstuffs (4. “Global food losses and food waste.144 eating planet 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 5 Europe North America & Oceania Industrialized Asia Sub‑Saharan Africa North Africa. an estimated 38.17 The per capita quantity of food lost or wasted in different regions of the planet (kg/year) Source: FAO.5 percent. The same dynamic seems to be at play in the production of biodiesel: in Europe.4 percent of its total corn production to make ethanol. while the share of the total corn crop used in the production of ethanol increased by 36 percent.2 percent). The industrial use of vegetable oils grew by 15 percent annually from 2004 to 2008.6 million metric tons of vegetable oils.

in different regions of the planet (% of initial production) Source: FAO. the problem of alternative energy production cannot merely be limited to the quantity of a crop that is used in the production of fuel.” 2011. West & Central Asia South & Southeast Asia Latin America Consumption Distribution Processing Postharvest Agriculture figure 3. With waste and biofuels alike. . “Global food losses and food waste. inadequate management of the problem and questionable energy policy decisions combine to produce massive pressure on the agricultural system to make up for shortcomings that are none of its responsibility.toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 145 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Europe North America Industrialized & Oceania Asia Sub‑Saharan Africa North Africa. That issue must be expanded as well to include the quantity of farmland that can be destined or reconverted to production for the biofuels industry. While growing shares of several agricultural crops are being sucked into the biofuels sector.18 Share of cereal production lost or wasted along the production‑consumption supply chain.

a series of recommendations for the sustainable cultivation of durum wheat was developed and a similar course of study was begun for other cereal grains (soft wheat and rye segale and in other geographic areas (France. it becomes possible to form hypotheses about what the appropriate choices of production policy should be. The study has shown that it is possible to evaluate in concrete terms the “sustainability” of a crop or an agricultural system through a multidisciplinary analysis. Greece.146 eating planet In order to consolidate these results. i. Our objective was to understand how substantial external shocks. The theoretical results have shown that the transfer of knowledge to farmers and the use of modern decision-making tools can lead to further reductions of the carbon footprint at the same time as an increase in profitability. nitrogenbased fertilization. Turkey. BCFN (in collaboration with the Millennium Institute) has constructed a simulation model to study the impact of variations in current agricultural practices on the quantity of food available worldwide. while taking into account a diverse array of scenarios of the development of the shock. the way the land is tilled. A second part of the study analyzed the results that could be achieved through already-sustainable crop rotations by improving the efficiency of the most common and relevant agricultural practices. which assumes higher consumption of energy and use of inorganic fertilizers. And it will continue to be sufficient. Sweden and Canada).13 and an HEI (high external input) model. agricultural. We ran simulations involving two principal models: an LEI (low external input) model characterized by low energy use and high labor input. expressed in terms of the agricultural models adopted. Considering a time span of 80 years (1970-2050) and evaluating the impact on the per-capita quantity of food calories (calories) produced annually. since the current rate of increase in farming productivity is in line with the current and projected rates of demographic growth estimated by the FAO and the Organiza- .e. Germany. Before going any farther.14 These two models differ primarily in terms of their varying characteristics of sustainability over time. simulating agricultural models and their effects on food production. and the protection of plants. and economic nature. The findings of this model underlie many of the observations described above. According to the simulations we conducted. the quantity of food produced every year is enough to feed the world’s population. sowing. we want to stress a key point. In an effort to assess the performance of current agricultural models and to come up with alternatives for the future. can impact the world agricultural system. summarized here by a very significant increase in the price of oil. combining various indicators of an environmental..

In this case oil prices rise rapidly. It is worth noting that the Stopped HEI Growth scenario also seems capable of supplying more calories than needed. there would be serious problems with the transition to models that would be more efficient in terms of energy use. This suggests that there is no real problem in terms of total availability of calories. a Strong-HEI-Growth case. decisions about ultimate use. we can assume there will be no energy shocks. and we exclude all the other elements that help determine sustainability—a pro-HEI policy would result in the production of a quantity of calories much higher than the level needed. It is therefore reasonable to imagine that at a certain point there will be a shock in global energy supply that will put the world’s highenergy-consumption systems. HEI. very much to the test. The model does not take into account inequalities between the various geographic areas. Moreover. We ran a variety of simulations. These models would become economically unsustainable and not very profitable. the highest-yield production scenario—in terms of a sustainable approach—is Strong HEI Growth. In a hypersimplified world—in which energy is the most important factor of production. reaching a price in 2030 of US$200 per barrel and then US$280 dollars per barrel in 2050. such as the HEI models. beginning with three different scenarios that assumed abundant availability of energy: a Business-as-Usual (BAU) case. in which practices using high external inputs spread at an accelerating pace and cover 90 percent of global cultivated area in 2050. The costs of the change in production would take the form of a lower available output and the amount of time . they account for only 50 percent of the global cultivated area. LEI). In this case as well. The idea of constant availability of energy over time.15 As we have already said. The only crops for which they are affordable are those with high added value. which is the real problem. the Stopped HEI Growth scenario. and a Stopped-HEI-Growth case in which there is minimal diffusion of HEI models and their share of cultivated land is maintained at 45 percent in 2050. We also ran a simulation of the effects of an oil price shock between 2025 and 2030 (the Very High Energy Price case). and last of all. the effects have been estimated on the number of annual per-capita calories for each of the three basic scenarioes (BAU. a significant proportion of the problems that now challenge the agro-alimentary system hinge on issues of distribution. prices of inorganic fertilizers rise substantially and their use declines. is unrealistic. however. followed by the BAU scenario.toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 147 tion for Economic Cooperation and Development. Assuming the constant availability of energy over our 80-year period. and wastage of the food produced. in which practices using high levels of external input account for 60 percent of global cultivated area in 2050. Fossil fuel sources are constantly dwindling and renewable energy is not yet a viable alternative. As a result.

in the case of reductions of available energy from 2025 on. leaving unchanged the rankings of the scenarios in terms of yields and calories produced.250 3.19 Agricultural production for human nutrition (daily cal per capita) and the simulation of energy shocks Source:BCFN su data FAO. the results are sharply influenced by the share of cereal grains destined for animal feed and biofuels. If there is no reduction in the quantity of energy available.19 shows the estimated effects of an energy shock in the year 2050 on global output. the results of a strong HEI growth energy shock and a BAU energy shock should be less negative. FAO The HEI is fragile and does not withstand energy shocks Data BAU‑Energy Shock Stopped HEI Growth‑Energy Shock Strong HEI Growth‑Energy Shock The average calorie requirement (cal/person/day) from men and women from the ages of 18 to 60 recommended by the FAO figure 3.750 2. If that period proves to be short. The results of the simulation show that. the world agricultural system is clearly fragile.500 2. In case of an energy crisis. i. a modification of these hypotheses would not change the outcome in qualitative terms. the results will be strongly dependent on how long agricultural systems will take to shift from an HEI approach to an LEI one. a drop in productivity over the short term with a return to higher yield levels over the mid to long term. We 3.. . In any case.250 2.000 2000 2005 2030 2040 2020 2050 1990 1980 1995 1970 2010 2015 2035 2045 1975 1985 2025 min.500 kcal/person/day 3. As these results suggest.e. 2011.148 eating planet required to acquire the necessary know-how for the transition. Figure 3.000 2. an approach with low external inputs would lead to a Worse-Before-Better (WBB) result.

.agrarian landscapes: california On a farm in Valley Center. but also to help deal with the issue of an aging population in the farming sector. returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq are learning organic farming techniques. An initiative designed to not only help returning veterans fit back into society.

If demand grows and resources dwindle—in part because of both pollution and climate change—then clearly the economic value of water will grow and the inequitable gap between those who have plenty of water and those who do not will provoke new frictions and conflicts. it illustrates one of the most important topics of future development. but matters might quickly change because “quality water”—fresh. especially in agriculture (which represents the most “water-thirsty” sector . in the end one can survive without oil. unpolluted water—constitutes only a minimal percentage of our water reserves. one of the best ways to reduce one’s virtual water footprint is to change to a diet rich in fruit. however. and for cleaning house). but also in the virtual terms of the water footprint (all the water that has been used throughout the life cycle) of any product or service we consume. for cooking. After all. That water is precious is something we realize only when it begins to run short. availability of water. The search for solutions based on approaches involving low energy consumption and high knowledge content (according to the balancing calculus described above) will become one of the decisive aspects of sustainability. which are limited by nature. both because the world population is rising and because the growing prosperity of many countries leads people to consume (and waste) more and more water. the water economy and the emergency it confronts The water economy is the science that studies the way in which water resources. We know full well the nature of the interests and the dire litigious tensions that revolve around the control of petroleum deposits. vegetables. by calculating the quantities used for personal care. and cereal grains. That consumption should be considered not only in real terms (that is. is by no means insignificant. In fact. reality is far more complex than the intentionally simplistic representation of our simulation model. As we noted earlier. adaptation to atmospheric phenomena.150 eating planet should take a positive approach to this fragility through the encouragement of a balanced mix of agricultural models designed to face the challenge of shortages. Of course. while limiting the quantity of animal proteins. must be managed in order satisfy the growing needs of man without creating social inequalities and unsustainable environmental impacts. Until now. And we are constantly using increasing quantities of it. Conflicts over water might well be far more serious. There are a great number of factors at play aside from energy inputs: soil quality. water scarcity might have appeared to be restricted to less fortunate countries. What is therefore necessary is a concerted effort to adopt a more rational use of water. etc. The result presented here.

We also need to formulate a new set of regulations that really will ensure the right to water while defining the boundaries of privatization. industry.20). The agriculture sector accounts for 70 percent of global freshwater consumption.4 percent of all world water resources are found in just 13 countries. The share allocated to agriculture is even greater in countries with a low to medium incomes (in some developing countries it reaches 95 percent). that less than 45. now and in the future. present and future. how we use water: farming. Where the domestic use of water is concerned. rising prosperity of the population with a resulting modification of lifestyles and eating habits.003 percent of the total) are theoretically usable and only 9. our planet possesses some 1. will only grow in the future and .water economy | food for sustainable growth 151 par excellence) and on a personal level (for instance. Demand for water is already quite high and. It is estimated.4 billion cubic kilometers of water. while in developed countries the share given to industry is by far predominant (59 percent).000 to 14. with annual per capita availability of less than 1.000 cubic kilometers of water (0. more than one out of every six people on Earth does not have access to the minimum quantities defined by the UN (20–50 liters of freshwater daily per capita) as necessary to meet primary needs linked to food and hygiene. because it is of adequate quality and is accessible at an acceptable cost. 3. it must be closely controlled to avoid unfair price increases and limited accessibility for the more vulnerable members of the population at large. Freshwater resources are also distributed very unequally among the regions of the globe: 64. taking into account the global factors that will affect water consumption (demographic increase. on the other hand. and in our homes. in agriculture.000 cubic meters. urbanization and expansion of economic activities. with water-saving diets). how much water do we have? Overall. while 22 percent goes to industry and the remaining 8 percent to domestic uses. A growing number of countries. That means.000 cubic kilometers of water (approximately 0. we must consider the availability of water and its various uses. however. find themselves gravely short of water.8 the availability of water: from abundance to scarcity To understand the current scenario in terms of water resources.001 percent of the total) is actually available for use by human beings. While privatization may entail certain advantages in terms of greater efficiency in the management of water sources. the scarsity of water. and families. absent serious action. in turn. and the production of biofuels) and the reduction of the available water reserves (climate change and pollution in particular) (figure 3. industry.

From an environmental point of view. continental Europe. Estimates indicate that global population will rise to more than 8 billion people Today Tomorrow Climate Change Pollution Causes of increasing water demand Demographic growth Increasing prosperity and well‑being Socioeconomic development Processes of urbanization Changes in dietary habits Biofuels figure 3. an especially significant role will be played by population dynamics and the growing rate of urbanization. 2011. and for domestic use. . and worsening significantly in terms of percentage values in ample areas of Africa and the Indian peninsula.152 eating planet lead to a progressive scarcity. expanding to the entire territory of the United States. The scenario foreseen for 2025 in terms of the scarcity of water appears starkly worse than the current scenario.20 The current and future scenario of water resources Source: BCFN. Among the factors that will influence the growth of world demand for water. why demand for water is increasing. Areas using a large share of available resources (greater than 20 percent) will increase substantially. and southern Asia. In such cases the exploitation is coming close to (or may have even exceeded) the limit of sustainability. in industry. especially in certain areas of the planet. water is considered to be “scarce” when more than 75 percent of the fluvial and subterranean water resources are drawn upon for use in agriculture.

WBCSD Water Scenarios 2025.water economy | food for sustainable growth 153 in 2030 and reach 9 billion in 2050. and accessible water tables. . With the growth of population. Business in the World of Water. 1995 2025 above 40 percent from 40 percent to 20 percent from 20 percent to 10 percent below 10 percent figure 3.21). it is estimated that by 2025 rising demand will require increases in water supplies of 50 percent in developing countries and 18 percent in developed countries (figure 3. The current population already uses 54 percent of freshwater resources in rivers. lakes. 2006. Two scenarios compared: 1995 and 2025 Source: WBCSD.21 Amount of water used compared with available resources.

sugar. The increase in world population and the rising purchasing power of people in developing countries go hand-in-hand with the changes in eating habits and the rise in calories consumed. Biofuels are subverting the equilibrium of the water system and the biodiversity of several countries because of their heavy use of water (and fertilizers) for growing feedstock corn. economic development and access to market economies by large numbers of people who had long been excluded from mass consumption are generating serious problems. Among the chief causes of reduced water availability is pollution. for example. In developing countries. why water availability is declining. by 2030 it will double again. Above all. 70 percent of industrial waste is dumped into rivers and streams without any purifying treatment whatever. the process of urbanization is accelerating sharply. The investments needed to ensure distribution of water to the growing number of city dwellers are rising. milk. as well as the general expansion of economic activities (ranging from industrial production to the service industry and tourism). In particular. and other crops. Improvements in economic and living conditions in developing countries. with clear and direct consequences in terms of infrastructure for access to water. and vegetable oils typically requires the use of a greater quantity of water than does the production of cereal grains. especially in terms of waste management. Certain statistics throw a harsh light on the scale of the problem: it is estimated that every day 2 million metric tons of waste generated by human activity are dumped into watercourses. has more than doubled. sugar cane. In 2007. as are those for the corresponding treatment and purification of waste water from domestic and industrial use.154 eating planet Meanwhile. which results in the pollution of a substantial part of available freshwater resources. the rising global demand for energy puts massive pressure on water resources. The food sector accounts for 40 percent of organic pollutants in water supplies in developed countries and 54 percent in developing countries. for the first time in history. which threatens water quality. the world’s urban population outstripped its rural population. This leads to a rise in water resources utilized because the production of meat. In the past 20 years meat consumption in China. By now there is a broad consensus about the effects of climate change on water and its availability: a sharp decline in the area of the Earth’s . Economic development is also a key driver of the future rise in demand for water. principally because of the volatility of oil prices and the support of national and international environmental policies. exert growing pressures on available water resources and on natural ecosystems. In particular. Another major factor that will affect the future availability of water resources is climate change. the production of biofuels has increased exponentially in recent years (ethanol production has tripled between 2000 and the present day).

reducing to 672 million the number of people who still do not have running water where they live. In fact.water economy | food for sustainable growth 155 surface and oceans that is covered with ice. It demands immediate choices that must be both wise and courageous. as well as the training and creation of an adequate professional staff. in 2015 the percentage of the population with access to water in their own homes will surpass the stated goal of 90 percent. as well as a significant increase in the frequency of “extreme” weather phenomena. the distribution of information about how to collect and store water resources . If we extrapolate from current trends. There is no mistaking the necessity for indepth reflection that is directed toward identifying a truly sustainable model of growth that can ensure access to food for a growing world population in the face of increasingly scarce water resources. 2. But it will not be possible to attain the goal of halving the number of people without access to basic sanitation. because the result is projected to be 13 percentage points below the stated goal. as a fundamental and essential human right through a UN resolution dated 29 July 2010—takes the concrete form of the right of each individual. without discrimination.9 the right of access to water: reality and prospects The “right to water”—recognized for the first time in history. The future that looms before us therefore appears especially challenging. a substantial increase in average sea level. The actions designed to improve water supply and basic sanitation in a community cannot be adopted in isolation. and capable of altering current trends. and temperatures). to enjoy physical and economic access to an adequate and secure supply of water. and only recently. a gradual shift toward the poles of non-tropical storms (with resulting significant effects on winds. the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. to attain effective and sustainable operation of structures over time demands periodic maintenance activities. precipitation. Making drinking water accessible in sufficient quantity and quality to meet the primary needs of every person was Target 10 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). education.6 billion lacked access to adequate basic sanitation. such as intense precipitation or strong heat waves. it is estimated that in 2015 some 2. They must be framed within the context of an overall cross-sector development strategy that takes into account infrastructure.7 billion people will not have access to basic sanitation facilities. Moreover. Studies done by the World Health Organization and UNICEF on the progress so far in providing access to drinking water (Target 10) clearly show that we are only partway to the goal. In that same year. which aimed to “halve. 84 percent of them in rural areas. 3. roughly 884 million people lacked access to sufficient water resources of adequate quality. by 2015. In fact. and governance.” Yet in 2008.

22 shows the quantities of virtual water linked to certain kinds of easily identified mass market products and finished industrial products.10 choices and behaviors for sustainable water consumption As we discussed earlier. eggs. Figure 3. whether they are public agencies or private organizations. A comparison of the water footprint (expressed in cubic meters per metric ton) of certain agricultural products in a number of countries around the world reveals substantial differences. a good. in which the different food categories are arranged in hierarchical order. the agricultural techniques employed. The term “virtual” refers to the fact that most of this water is not contained physically in the product. Our consumption habits and our behavior. and derivatives) present a greater water footprint than cultivated products. To achieve the goals set by the United Nations will demand the coordinated involvement of all actors. In particular. milk. In the environmental pyramid on the right. Figure 3. the water footprint of a commodity. As we described in section 3. because livestock consumes a significant quantity of cultivated products as food. the yield of crops. have a powerful effect on our consumption of water resources.000 to 5. the water footprint of a single product can vary considerably from one place to another.600 liters (in the case of vegetarian diet) to about 4. the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition has developed the Double Pyramid to describe both the principles of a sound diet and the impacts that diet has on the environment.1. especially our food-related behavior. in some cases for many years before being transformed into food products. depending on their environmental impact in terms of the water footprint. the foods with the greatest environmental impact are at the top and the foods with the lowest impact are at the bottom. Individuals directly consumes a range of two to five liters of drinking water every day—but their virtual daily consumption of water linked to food ranges from roughly 1.400 liters in the case of meat-rich diet. depending on such factors as climate.23 shows the food pyramid adjoining the environmental pyramid of water. 3. etc. both on a local scale and internationally. livestock and dairy products (meat.500 to 2. Moreover. or a service—or in other words its virtual water content—consists of the volume of fresh water consumed to produce it throughout all the phases of its life cycle. The water footprint of some of them may appear surprising.156 eating planet in homes is a critical factor in preserving the taste and smell of fresh water and in preventing the creation of potential environments for disease-bearing parasites. . both when you compare different products with one another. but has to do with the direct and indirect consumption necessary for its production. and when you take into consideration the place of production.

heavy rains plummeted crops. the effects of climate change became dramatically evident in one of the best known—and most fragile—agrarian settings: the Cinque Terre. in the Mediterranean basin. phenomena of this kind are usually accompanied by desertification. On land already vulnerable to hydrogeological imbalance.landscapes at risk: italy In the fall of 2011. And. . in Liguria.

22 Average global water footprint of certain commonly used product typologies Source: BCFN.000 figure 3.158 eating planet An A4 sheet of paper (80 g/m2) A tomato (70 g) A potato (100 g) 10 13 25 A slice of bread (30 g) An orange (100 g) An apple (100 g) 40 50 70 An egg (40 g) A bag of potato chips (200 g) A slice of pie (80 g) 135 185 250 Cheese (100 g) Chocolate (50 g) A T‑shirt (250 g) 500 860 2.000 A hamburger (150 g) A pair of leather shoes 2.400 8. 2011. .

055 Legumes 3.300 Bread 1. Yogurt dc on su p Cheese. Pasta Rice. therefore.065 Walnuts and hazelnuts 6.400 Rice 3.900 Poultry 3.23 Water footprint of the food pyramid (liters of water per kg or liter of food) Source: BCFN. By analyzing the water footprint of the most widespread and commonly consumed beverages. Eating habits. To illustrate the differences we have drawn up two daily menus. however minimal. Eggs ti o Cookies. If everyone on the planet were to adopt the average. Potatoes.900 Olive oil 4.693 Pasta 1. it is clear that including dairy and livestock products such as milk and meat. Fish.5 k 0 Olive oil Bread.000 Milk 1. 2011.24).800 Pork 4.795 Sunflower seed oil 5. especially multiplied across whole societies.000 Cheese 4.800 Cookies 1. can have a very substantial impact on the availability of water resources.300 Eggs 3. It is clear that individual eating habits. results in approximately three times the consumption of water resources.000 Yogurt average value 970 Fruits 900 Potatoes Vegetables: 325 n 0 1k 2k 3k 4k 5k 6k / 15 k 20 k food pyramid figure 3. which shows the water consumption required in order to produce each of those beverages (figure 3. There can be no doubt that most of the foods recommended for relatively higher consumption are also those that present a smaller water footprint.645 Cereals 1.500 Meat 9. If we compare the water footprints of the two menus. And vice versa: most of the foods recommended for low consumption are those that also impose a larger water footprint. White meat 15.140 Sweets 1.water economy | food for sustainable growth 159 low Sweets Red meat 10 k 5k 4k 2k 1. entail substantial environmental fallout as well as nutritional effects. high meat-consumption . the second is based on the consumption (actually rather limited consumption). of red meat. A menu heavy on animal-based food products is decidedly less sustainable as a result. The first daily menu calls for a diet that is rich in plant-based proteins and with few animal fats. Legumes Fruits Vegetables high re c om me n de Milk.5 k 1k 0. it is possible to build another pyramid.25).500 Sugar legend 1. and then we have calculated their impacts in terms of water consumption (figure 3. This is simply because of the considerable quantities of agricultural products fed to the livestock in order to bring them to market as food. both balanced in nutritional terms.

125 ml. or 1. the country that consumes the largest volume of water is India (987 billion cubic meters per year). a family. the citizens of the United States top the list with an average water footprint of 2. In terms of per capita consumption.452 trillion cubic meters of fresh water a year. an entire nation) or producers (private companies.3/0. 30 ml. and the Thais (2.7 (bottle) Water 0.232). . Given the strain water supplies are already under.223) (figure 3. 2011. public organizations. amounts to 7. this would clearly be unsustainable. the amount of water used in food production would soar by an estimated 75 percent. or cup . however.3 (tap) American‑style coffee 100 50 Carbonate beverage 25 legend average value min max 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 140 figure 3. . In absolute terms. followed by the Italians (2.243 cubic meters per person per year—twice the annual outflow of the Mississippi River. They can also be calculated for each well-defined group of consumers (an individual.26). The global water footprint.24 Water footprint of beverages (liters of water per glass Source: BCFN. economic sectors).11 national water footprints and the trade in virtual water We’ve seen how water footprints can be calculated for each product or activity.160 eating planet 150 140 125 Milk 120 Wine 106 Orange juice 43 38 Beer 34 Espresso 15 Tea 0. for instance. the inhabitants of a city. followed by China (883) and the United States (696). of beverage) dietary regimen of the Western nations.483 cubic meters per person per year. 3.

water economy | food for sustainable growth 161 2.550 LITERS Lunch Fats Carbohydrates 1 cup of low‑fat milk 4 “Tarallucci” biscuits 183 LITERS Snack 1 container of low‑fat yogurt 1 portion of Margherita pizza Mixed raw vegetables 1.300 Breakfast meat menu total kcal liters of water consumption Proteins 15% 25% 60% Snack 1 piece of fruit (200 g) 120 LITERS Dinner 1 portion of Barilla “Risoni” soup and peas 1 grilled steak (150 g) 1 slice of “Pan Bauletto” sliced bread 2. 2011.530 Breakfast vegetarian menu total kcal liters of water consumption 14% 30% 56% Snack 1 container of low‑fat yogurt 1 piece of fruit 185 LITERS Lunch Proteins Fats Carbohydrates 1 portion of fruit (200 g) 4 pieces of zwieback toast 1 portion of “Caserecce Sicilian” with wild fennel 1 portion of squash and leek casserole 300 LITERS 152 LITERS Snack 1 container of low‑fat yogurt 1 packet of unsalted crackers 115 LITERS Dinner 1 portion of vegetables: green beans (200 g) and potatoes (400 g) with flakes of parmesan cheese (40 g) 780 LITERS 2.140 4. .25 Virtual water consumption and eating habits: two menus compared Source: BCFN.325 LITERS 125 LITERS figure 3.030 1.

as well as the utilization of industrial goods). . as noted above. Of the top 10 wheat exporters. Yet “virtual water” trading goes on in huge volumes as crops requiring large amounts of water to cultivate are shipped far and wide—and not always with sensible results.000 2. the model of consumption (especially where eating habits are concerned. Today agricultural products are traded all over the world. for example. three are blessed with an overabundance of United States Italy Thailand Nigeria Russia Mexico Brazil Indonesia Pakistan Japan India China 0 500 1. including volume of consumption (generally correlated to the wealth of the country). and the quantity of water necessary for farming). while of the top 10 wheat importers. plant transpiration.500 Industrial products 2. three are seriously short of water.26 Contribution of the leading consumers to the global water footprint (m3 per capita/year) Source: BCFN.162 eating planet The differences between countries depend on several factors. the climate (which especially affects the level of precipitation. 2011. and the agricultural practices adopted (especially how efficiently water is used).000 1. That trade pays no attention whatsoever to the water component included in the exchange.000 Average world water footprint Home consumption of water Agricultural products figure 3.500 3.

to suffer the problems of overconsumption. The level of interdependence among countries in the virtual exchange of water resources is. net importers are shaded in red and next exporters in green. The globalization of the use of water seems to entail both opportunities and risks. Moreover. One of the chief opportunities lies in the fact that virtual water can be considered as an alternative water source. Water colonialism can be seen as a form of domination of poor countries by rich ones— even if no physical occupation takes place. . The greatest risks.27 gives some sense of the patterns and volumes of the global trade in virtual water embodied in agricultural products. lie in the possibility of excessive dependence on other nations’ water. allowing local water resources to be preserved when high water footprint products are imported instead of directly produced. Water Neutral: Reducing and Offsetting the Impacts of Water Footprints. Figure 3. which made the products using their own water resources.water economy | food for sustainable growth 163 Eastern Europe 18 Former Soviet Union 13 North America Western Europe − 108 152 Central and Southern Asia Central America North Africa 2 − 45 150 South America Central Africa Middle East Southeast Asia − 107 − 16 47 − 30 Southern Africa Oceania −5 − 70 figure 3.27 Virtual water flows between countries linked to trade in agricultural products (net virtual water importers—Gm3 /year) Source: Hoekstra and Chapagain. importing nations benefit from the products made using lots of water while leaving the exporting nations. on the other hand. to a country with low water productivity.” In this process. critical and is also destined to grow in the future. it. it is possible to achieve a net savings in the volume of water consumed when a product is marketed by a country with high water productivity for that product. given the ongoing deregulation of international trade. because of the option of trade. and in the possibility of “water colonialism. however.

The first is the context of the rights of private property for water resources. or agricultural) within a single country. Given these risks. and reducing user costs and pricing. Among the chief potential benefits is the presumed greater efficiency of the private sector in optimizing the management of water distribution.12 water privatization and its implications The expression “water privatization” can refer to three different contexts. where water is firmly in the hands of the collective. does not buy the water. The potential for increasing conflict of this sort is reflected in the fact that water basins shared by multiple countries cover almost half the world’s surface and link 145 nations. This context can be found in some parts of the United States and in some developing countries but is quite foreign to the European experience. if water is a good that belongs to everyone then only an effective system of democratic control can adequately guarantee against the waste and abuses deriving from ineffective management of water resources. • public ownership with temporary awarding to private operators through bid competitions. when the traditional means of public finance are no longer sufficient to do so in a timely and satisfactory manner. and the failure of private operators to meet their obligations to contribute to the development of the water system. privatized and regulated. The European institutional system has in fact always been based not on the regulation of the use of water as a commonly owned resource which cannot be sold. therefore. allowing the free purchase and sale of water. controlling costs. • public ownership and operation. The second context is the involvement of the private sector in the management of water services. especially where poorer neighborhoods are concerned. . whether public or privatized. or else by the use of a body of water that extends over borders. The privatization of water brings with it risks and benefits. Entrusting these contracts to private operations also makes it possible to share the costs of infrastructure maintenance in exchange for profits. industrial. this model in effect transfers ownership of the entire infrastructure and control of the water to the private operators. The user. with the acquisition from the market of the resources necessary in order to provide the service. triggered by competition among the various uses of water (domestic. Among the risks are price hikes. as in Italy and Germany. which is what happens in France. but rather acquires the right to use it. The third context is the involvement of the private sector in financing infrastructure and services. as applied in the United Kingdom. 3.164 eating planet Water as a strategic objective is increasingly at the root of conflicts within and between countries. Any of three different business models may apply: • lifelong territorial monopoly. which can be substantial at times.

nowadays very strong.water economy | food for sustainable growth 165 the potential areas of intervention needed to take on the challenge of the water economy It’s clear that this sobering litany of challenges surrounding the world’s water resources needs focused and ongoing attention. support for institutions’ commitment to their responsibilities for ensuring access to water. know-how. Among the objectives of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition is to increase that attention and awareness. In our view. the policies. the practices. companies (of production and distribution. 4. there are eight priority areas for intervention: 1. 3. simple and easy to communicate. A key measure here is to reframe economic . must be broken. 6. ways of eating and consumption requiring a lower water content. 2. demographic growth. The existing correlation. within each sector). and tools that can be used to encourage a genuine integrated management of water. Major efficiencies in global water consumption could be achieved by rethinking the localization of cultivations requiring high water quantity in countries where water is abundant and trade them in the countries where water is scarce. We must begin shifting individual behavior and models of consumption toward lifestyles that entail more careful use of water. between economic development. The water footprint is an invaluable tool for assessing the environmental impacts of individuals. the water footprint as an objective indicator. 5. the efficient localization of crops and virtual water trading. to promote the necessary investments. the economic exploitation of water resources and the internalization of the cost of water in the price. 7. models. We have also provided a series of recommendations on how best to deal with the various emerging challenges of the water economy. and technology for increasing the productivity of water (more crop per drop) and reducing waste. and to remove technical and political obstacles. and corresponding increases in the levels of water consumption. and countries. with a focus on the most critical aspects of water use. Disadvantaged populations rely heavily on existing institutions to ensure access to drinking water and sanitary infrastructures.

but people take it for granted that it will always be available. but the infrastructures needed to distribute it are extremely costly. • In many areas of the planet. an effective democratic control on the water resource management either the water is privatized or public. even though many companies still use water in an unsustainable and inefficient way. • Millions of people are trying to escape from their condition of poverty. Privatization must be considered from the point of view of its effects on individuals and communities. whether it is public or privatized. A strong and effective democratic control systems must be built in order to protect users from the risks that derive from inefficient management and services of water. but humanity is polluting water faster than nature can recycle it.5 billion don’t. • The challenge of the water economy begins now: to win that match will take the collaboration of each and every one of us. but 2. even though industry needs more fresh water. in the global scenario of water. • The pace of industrialization is rising. 8. • Nature constantly recycles and purifies the water of rivers and lakes. there is both good news and bad news • There’s plenty of water on earth. while the richer people on Earth use more water than necessary.166 eating planet thinking about water markets through the development of economic models that allow the precise valuation of water in various uses. • About 5. . and private companies must be required to operate ethically. • Industry is becoming more and more efficient in the way it uses water.7 billion people have access to clean water. water is easily accessible at reasonable costs. but 800 million don’t. • There is a growing awareness of the water problem. but translating that awareness into action is a slow process. but not always where it’s needed. but mankind is using it faster than nature can replace it. • Four billion people have basic sanitation. • There’s a great amount of underground water. • Water is free in nature.

Herren is a worldrenowned scientist. . The transition from these unsatisfactory systems requires a new approach to Hans R. president of Biovision. a Swiss foundation with a worldwide goal of alleviating poverty and improving life for poor people while still preserving the pool of precious natural resources that support life. he was codirector of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge.interviews | food for sustainable growth 167 interview the challenging transition toward sustainable agriculture Hans R. bio dynamic. as well as one of the directors of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Benin. He was the director general of the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi (ICIPE). He has won many prizes for his research. producing sufficient. These go by different names. with different levels of compliance to the sustainability and multifunctional goals. and since May 2005 he has been the president of the Millennium Institute. the increase of fossil energy prices and in the medium and long term also its scarcity. and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Today he is a board member of many organizations. feed and fiber at affordable prices while being remunerative for the producers and compatible with sustainable agricultural practices. Are there some agricultural production models which could help in achieving a higher level of sustainability? How is it possible to effectively manage the transition towards more sus‑ tainable production paradigms? Farmers and scientists have devised a number of agricultural practices over the years that are in line with the requirements of a sustainable and multifunctional agriculture. and organic /bio dynamic agriculture. Science. there is a need to develop and build into these and new systems more resilience and regenerative potential. The closest models to the set goals are agroecology. more work is needed to meet social. although even in these cases. low or zero tillage to conservation agriculture. environmental and economic sustainability. Herren What are the key challenges for agriculture sustainability now and in the future? What are the problems with the current situation? The main challenges agriculture and the food system in general are facing are: How to eliminate the persistent nexus of hunger and poverty? How to deal with the nutrition and health issue? How to reduce inequities and cater for rural livelihoods? The main problems agriculture is facing today are in the realm of adaptation to climate change. In principle. as requested in the IAASTD report Agriculture at a Crossroads. often non renewable inputs. given that the present system still uses too much water and external. the increasing competition from the bio fuel sector. diverse and quality food. agroecological. ranging from organic.

access to markets and both capital and insurances.e.. i. rather than to be delegated to the private sector alone. as well as for the enabling conditions. along the value chain from the farmer to the consumer. science and technology needed to transition agriculture towards the sustainable systems required to address the above mentioned challenges are rooted in the soil. The latter still has a large role to play past the farm gate in particular. feed and fiber production. we have mostly over-fertilized. while in the developed countries. in particular the fact that in the developing countries the soils have been largely mined of their nutrients. There is also a need to recognize that agriculture and food are the responsibility of Governments and that these areas need major funding from the public sector. which is participatory. as rural infrastructure. It will also require a new systemic and holistic approach to analyzing the agriculture and food system. The transition will be further help and supported by introducing true pricing of the products. removing all perverse subsidies and replacing them with payments for ecosystem services and rewards for sustainable practices. to which we need to add improved and more diverse cropping systems. eroded and low fertility soils. providers of inputs and also the transformation and retail sectors. either already built into . Managing this transition will need political will and vision beyond what is presently experienced. New national agricultural policies will need to cater for the internal need of food. that are just as important. as production systems are shaped in part at least. with more different crops in the rotation. by these sectors that are beyond the farm gate and research lab sectors. Soil fertility restoration is therefore the number one concern. This is necessary. from global to local. to identify the key leverage point and synergies to achieve the multifunctional agriculture goals while minimizing the negative feed backs.168 eating planet research and extension. What kind of technology innovation and agricultural practices are required to meet the goals of sustainability in agriculture? What should be done to improve and pro‑ mote agricultural best practices all over the world and further foster innovation? The main areas of knowledge. localized and includes the stakeholder beyond production. include the production and transformation. such as consumers / users. the inclusion of animals on farm and new methods for pest and disease management that take advantage of the gifts of nature in the form of natural control mechanisms. as well as the indirect health costs externalities into the retail price. at all levels of governance. the consequence of each practice are degraded. new institutions to support and manage the paradigm change as well as a change in consumer / user behavior. devoid of the needed soil biota to assure sustainable fertility levels that allow quality and quantity production under the new stresses of climate change. so to speak! The world is facing many challenges.

. that go from field to landscape scale. as suggested by most vested interest groups from the input agribusiness. that by implementing the basic tenets of sustainable agriculture as suggested in the IAASTD report.interviews | food for sustainable growth 169 plants through evolution or through system management practices. such as rural infrastructure. The main factor being that agriculture needs to be green by design. rather than by making few changes at the margins (green washing). agriculture and food systems can be made sustainable and able to deliver on the multifunctional goals. institutions and along the value chain to assure markets for agricultural products. feed and fiber needs of a growing and more demanding population and also for the long haul. Investments need also to be made in enabling conditions. provide quality jobs in and around agriculture to keep the younger population in the rural areas By making serious changes from agricultural sciences to political choices. with investments that are below today’s subsidy levels. It has been demonstrated in the UNEP Green Economy Report Agriculture chapter (2011). for the present and future food. all key sustainability goals can be achieved.

We humans beings don’t understand the true value of water. Unfortunately society has evolved not to value water. We are addicted to over-consuming water. . In fact. all the goods we buy—from food to clothing to computers—have a water cost in the form virtual water: the powerful new concept that reveals the hidden factors of our real global water consumption. our over-consumption and mismanagement of water has had a very serious impact on our water environments and the essential services they provide. producing. and we don’t know it. And now. To make a cup of coffee. For his revolutionary virtual water concept. this ignorance simply did not matter. This is especially true on the farms of the world. But it is not. A lunchtime hamburger take 2.000 litres. Most of us don’t have the slightest idea about the sheer volumes of water involved in our daily lives. he was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in 2008. with a global population of one billion.170 eating planet interview virtual water between underconsumption and poor management Tony Allan You introduced the concept of virtual water many years ago: the products we use and the foods we eat on a daily basis are produced consuming large quantities of water. with a global population pushing seven billion. Are the main economic players conscious of the problems and challenges involved in water management? Neo-liberal markets that operate in the food supply chain are almost totally blind to the costs of delivering water. it takes 140 litres. Already. How can we promote greater awareness of the impact of the use of water on the environment and encourage the diffu‑ sion and the adoption of sustainable behaviour among citi‑ zens and enterprises? Only with great difficulty. His latest book (Virtual Water) is a textbook in the subject and one of the most original pieces of thinking in the field in recent years. At the start of the twentieth century. That’s the true amount of water used in growing. where most of the water needed by society is used and man- Tony Allan is one of the world’s leading international experts on water. The ratio of water to people was so massive that it was as if our water supply was infinite. water scarcity is not just a possibility. Our ignorance is immense. It is already a reality for many.400 litres and that favourite pair of jeans a whopping 11. and we are at a point in our relationships with nature’s vast but limited water resources where we simply cannot afford to stay ignorant. packaging and shipping the beans you use to make your morning coffee.

The food supply value chain is massively distorted by public policies that introduce financial pressures that have and will overwhelm attempts to get water valued to reflect its costs of delivery and to internalise the environmental impacts of its use. the big volumes of water integral to food production. In the near future. Of course. We have indeed uncovered a golden rule: the development and diversification of economies is always associated with massive increases in the productivity of water. E&Y. But these uses only account for 10% of the water needed by society. the increase in the demand for water and the reduction in water supplies will make water more valuable and. Of the eight nations states I examined in my latest book. the invisible 80-90 per cent of all water used in the global economy. and these increases are delivered by farmers using big water. that falter or face nearly insurmountable problems in combining their land. International trade is much cheaper and low risk compared to armed conflict. the “right to water” will require new laws on both local and international levels in order to prevent the interests of a select few from prevailing. Is it possible that the value (and the price) of goods and ser‑ vices will be affected by the amount of water required to produce them? Getting the accounting rules establishment to adopt green economics and green audit principles will be a long elemental struggle.interviews | food for sustainable growth 171 aged: farmers are the “de facto” water managers of the world. it is possible to reflect the costs and impacts in the use of water for domestic. That is. Just as with the “right to food”. municipal and industrial uses. These markets are regulated by water blind accounting rules held in place by armies of accountants and lawyers that populate powerful bodies such as the Federal Accounting Standards Board [in New York] and others world-wide. Although probably not as cheap as in the past when wheat . the converse is also true. Developing economies. KPMG and Deloitte and countless other accountants and lawyers in the transnational agribusinesses and traders and other private sector firms. increase eco‑ nomic interests in it. employed for the production of food. The big volumes of water are in our food. Food prices have been falling for 200 years and prices will be low again once the current price spikes are over. Sadly. consequently. How can we guarantee water for everyone? Do you see the risk of “water wars” in the coming years around the globe? Nations do not go to war over water.16 seven have seen significant improvements in their returns to water in farming. As well as the big four global auditors—PwC. They manage the big water. water and capital see little or no improvement in their water productivity. They trade food.

Sustainably intensifying the use of scarce water resources and using them in ways that are socially and environmentally just in these distorted conditions will challenge this generation and a number of future generations. .172 eating planet and other staples were on the world market at half cost—as a consequence of the subsidies in the US and the EU.

With particular reference to future generations. More in general. in part due to the current and future effects of climate change. aside from the classic factors at play (soil quality. etc. in part with a view to the reduction of waste. In the awareness that there cannot be a single model of production that is capable of ensuring sustainability in different agricultural context. the only possible solution is that of a differentiated approach. ought to focus on parents and the school system in order to encourage more responsible approaches to consumption. ensure water access. But it is also a good idea for the “water footprint” to be commonly used in order to assign a value to the production of goods and services.action plan | food for sustainable growth 173 action plan encourage nutritional behaviors and choices that are in keeping with the model of the double pyramid Following the model of the “double pyramid” means adopting a balanced diet both in nutritional terms and in terms of environmental impact. and manage it in a sustainable manner on a global level It is important to reinforce the commitment and responsibility of public institutions to ensure access to drinking water and adequate sanitation infrastructures to everyone. In this context.) and reduced emissions. etc. encourage sustainable agriculture that takes into account local needs and considerations The global agricultural system reveals a number of aspects of fragility. In that context.). it therefore becomes necessary to undertake a process of collective awareness of responsibility which. in order to better orient individuals to modify their behaviors and models of consumption in directions that entail a more careful and responsible use of water. we should also take into account other significant variables such as the local availability of energy and human expertise. water. . The model of the “double pyramid” (food and environment) in fact shows that with sustainable diets the two objectives can be easily attained. water availability. the issues of water resources must be dealt with through models and instruments of integrated management that take into account the value of virtual water (included in all products on the market) and of water productivity in agriculture (more crop per drop). it is necessary to encourage investments that make it possible to remove technical and political obstacles. one that takes into account the actual availability of resources and different socioeconomic and geographic settings. adaptation to atmospheric phenomena. while it should not exclude the children themselves. We should consider that healthier foods also imply lesser environmental impacts in terms of the consumption of natural resources (soil.

Food.7 4.5 4.9 4.11 4. and the Economic and Social Impacts of the Principal Diseases Diet and Lifestyle and Their Effects on Longevity and Diseases of Aging Inflammatory States and Caloric Restriction: Possible Interventions to Slow the Aging Processes Recommendations interviews Companies Must Behave Responsibly by Marion Nestle The Responsibility for Children Must Be Shared by Aviva Must Lifestyles Influence the Way We Age by Alex Kalache action plan . Nutrition and Health by Ricardo Uauy facts & figures 4.6 4.12 Demographics.table of contents introduction Agriculture. Longevity.3 4.2 4.4 food for a healthy life A Few Key Figures: Global Trends in Chronic Diseases and their Social and Economic Impacts Guidelines for a Healthy Way of Eating and Lifestyle The Most Common Guidelines and Dietary Models Recommendations food and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow 4.8 The Spread of Obesity and Overweight in Children and Adolescents and the International Economic and Social Impact Nutrients in the Different Phases of Growth Guidelines for Healthy Diets and Sound Lifestyles in Children and Adolescents Recommendations longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition 4.1 4.10 4.

4. It analyzes the recommendations made by the most well respected scientific institutions around the world in the fields of nutrition and health. The chapter offers a set of concrete proposals designed to facilitate the adoption of healthier lifestyles. . food for health Food for Health explores the relationship between food and better health.

and good nutrition depends on agriculture. Nutrition and Health Ricardo Uauy sor of Public Health Nutrition the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA). and legumes (supplying the necessary energy. He is also a member of many other scientific committees including: expert consultation on Prevention and Control of Childhood Obesity and the WHO expert panel for Scientific Update on Carbohydrates in Human Health/ Disease. and since 2007 he has been a member of the WHO/FAO expert committee on Scientific Update on CHO 06 and on Trans Fats. Because dietary patterns and foods differ across the world. recommended food groups should be established according to the prevailing agricultural practices and cultural context. ricardo uauy is Profes- There is no good health without good nutrition. while health ministries and the World Health Organization focus on the need for healthier food and controlling the pandemic of nutrition related chronic diseases. vegetables. added sugars. Ministries of agriculture as well as nternational food and agriculture agencies aim for increases in food and feed production. fiber. A healthy diet is diversified. while limiting the amounts of saturated and trans fats. and salt. Yet health and nutrition objectives can only be met if both food and health needs are addressed with a common agenda. the Reference Group for Global Strategy Diet Nutrition and the Prevention of NCDs (non-communicable diseases). Chile and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Based on these goals. Since 2008 he has been a member of the WHO/FAO expert committee on Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition. a healthy diet is one that is high in whole grain cereals. and FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Energy Requirements in Rome. and protein). Yet international and national agencies for agriculture and health interact little and often have different and sometimes contradictory agendas.176 eating planet 4. Dietary diversity may be difficult to achieve under conditions of poverty. food for health Agriculture. utilizing the local foods available that contribute in meeting nutritional needs. . A healthy diet provides sufficient energy to maintain a balance between consumption and expenditure. micronutrients. fruits. Food. because consuming a variety of foods across and within different food groups is the best way to secure the intake of all essential nutrients.

we recommend the consumption of: Fruits and vegetables. since we evolved under conditions of limited energy and food supply. the quality of the diet has been recognized from the earliest of times to play a key role as a determinant of health and wellbeing of human populations. In urban areas. Fish. rapeseed).introduction | food for health 177 where diets are based on single energy-rich foods (wheat. Added sugars and sugary drinks. and animal foods and fats then provided not only increased energy density but essential fatty acids food based dietary guidelines In any diet. Industrial partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats). We are equipped with a set of highly effective systems that allow us to get virtually all the energy available in our foods. from being almost strict vegetarians we diversified our diets. and if we eat beyond our expenditure we are very efficient in storing all forms of food energy as fat tissue. thus the difficulty of preventing obesity. or potatoes) with little consumption of animal products. Whole grains and fiber (intact plant foods not added fiber). Tree nuts. The evolution of humans has been shaped by the nutritional quality of our diets. rice. corn. . Added sodium and salty foods. A healthy life is conditioned not only by the food we eat but also by how much energy we spend. fruits. Healthy vegetable oils (olive. trans fats and sodium).. Low saturated fat dairy and milk products. In summary. We recommend moderating the consumption of: Processed foods (high in sugar. even among the poor. Refined carbohydrates and free sugars. algae and other marine foods. or vegetables. This allowed us to survive food shortages and even famine conditions. Sugar-sweetened beverages. What made us different was the diet of early hominids. may aggravate inadequate micronutrient intake. Homo sapiens is virtually identical to most primates in terms of its genetic make up. Our genes over the past several millennia were selected based on this model. increased consumption of packaged foods. soy. Processed meats.

it should also be adequate in micronutrient content and in the quality of the macronutrients supplied (fats. energy-dense diets with a substantial fat and sugar content. carbohydrates and proteins). and good nutrition depends on healthy foods and sustainable agricultural practices. . This increases palatability but also leads us into obesity and related chronic diseases. More than hunter-gatherers.178 eating planet and micronutrients to form a progressively larger brain and a more complex nervous system. we evolved as scavengers. Now. high-carbohydrate. Good health requires good nutrition. The solution to hunger and malnutrition is not achieved by providing energy in sufficient or excessive amounts. traditional diets in most developing and transitional countries are being replaced by high-fat.

such as the First Lady of the United States. and they often involve very influential education: the schools Schools can play a fundamental role in teaching good eating habits. . Michelle Obama. The initiatives that encourage healthier diets among children and students are becoming more widespread.

there were 7. Of these deaths.  food for health RISE IN DEATHS CAUSED BY CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE 17. In 2007.6 million are due to heart disease and 5. 2015 + mILLION 7 YEAR DIABETICS/PER Every year there are more than 7 million new cases of diabetes worldwide: one every 5 seconds.9 mILLION 9 mILLION 11. this figure will rise to 9 million in 2015 and to 11.7 million to strokes 20 mILLION 2030 This figure confirms heart disease as the leading cause of death worldwide GROWTH OF DEATHS DUE TO CANCERS 7. with roughly a 27% increase over 2003 (194 million diabetics) 194 mILLION + INCREASE estimate 2003 27% 246 mILLION estimate 2007 . According to future estimates.9 million deaths worldwide that can be attributed to cancers. equivalent to approximately 246 million people.4 mILLION In 2007.5 mILLION 2007 2005 2015 Equivalent to 30% of all deaths worldwide. 7.180 eating planet 4.4 million in 2030. the worldwide rate of diabetes was roughly 6% among people aged 20 to 79.

the percentage of people over 65 suffering from two or more chronic diseases is very high. they account for 25% of the entire world population of undernourished people . 17% of all children between the ages of 2 and 9 and one third of all adolescents are either overweight or obese 148 mILLION UNDERWEIGHT CHILDREN OF THE POPULATION IS UNDERNOURISHED That is how many underweight children under the age of 5 there are in the world. and by a defective nutritional model and lifestyle. Despite this. in developing nations. rising from 45 years at the end of the nineteenth century to roughly 80 years in 2010. 12. metabolic. and hormonal alterations caused by an excessive and chronic caloric intake. play a central role in the aging process In the United States. The molecular.facts & figures | food for health 181 LIFE EXPECTANCY AND CHRONIC DISEASES 80% of those over 65 are suffering from at least one chronic disease 50% of those over 65 suffering from two or more chronic diseases In the last hundred years. and they live.5 mILLION OBESE CHILDREN 25% 17% CALORIC INTAKE & AGING There is a significant link between food and problems in the aging process. for the most part. life expectancy at birth in western nations has almost doubled.

The end result was a document that distills the best current understanding of diet’s role in preventing chronic diseases and promoting general good health. an increasingly real critical factor in the overall picture of world health. including chronic diseases. First. diabetic diseases.182 eating planet food for a healthy life Diet plays an increasingly crucial role in any attempt to enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Then we reviewed the principal findings in the international scientific literature on the relationship between diet and cardiovascular diseases. Food. The interpretative model adopted by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition begins with this key fact and goes on to analyze in detail the importance of various factors correlated with diet to human health. These are the three disease groups whose onset appears to be most clearly tied to diet and to overweight and obesity. BCFN has developed a set of practical recommendations intended to encourage the spread of beneficial ways of eating. It is this second factor . At this point it was necessary to translate the complex and deeply technical scientific findings into more user-friendly dietary and behavioral guidelines.) Building on this analysis. Finally. diabetes/metabolic syndrome. (Beyond their medical benefits. noting where they agreed and overlapped. diet and lifestyles for the prevention of chronic diseases. we have also tried to quantify the benefits of adopting sound diets in economic and financial terms. We did this by reviewing the guidelines offered by the most respected international scientific societies on good nutrition. The next step was to analyze the role played by different dietary and behavioral choices in preventing the most significant chronic diseases. While doing this work BCFN has made a few general observations. tumors). over the last 50 years we have seen a growing awareness of the greater efficacy and efficiency of prevention as opposed to acting only when patients have already become sick. plays an essential part in the prevention of a number of pathologies. These conditions have risen continuously and to a significant degree in recent decades within populations all over the world. in the chief chronic non-transmissible diseases (cardiovascular diseases. We looked closely at the linkages between the ingestion of a broad array of macro. We say greater efficacy because prevention makes it possible to attain better results overall.and micronutrients and the likelihood of the onset of these diseases. in part because prevention works to the benefit ofit of a broader share of the population than does medical treatment. We analyzed the trends. we wrote a summary of the guidelines. We also say greater efficiency because prevention costs less. in fact. and cancers. worldwide and in Italy alone.

is welcome. The first and perhaps the most important task will be to correct the dietary . however. is simply information about diet and health. To prevent these trends from spreading their devastation. Still. public agencies. not surprisingly. but also medical institutions. By itself. not enough has been done yet. We must rediscover and appreciate the social and cultural importance of the act of eating. if we have learned anything from the experience of the last few decades in Western countries. is an overall paradigm shift that focuses on the person and his or her behaviors. What we need. This shift will affect not just individuals. from treating diseases to preventing them. then. At the same time. For all these reasons. but also on the quality of the way we live and the quality of the relationship between man and food. information about diet is not enough. and the loss of value attributed to food as a central social and cultural element of everyday life.alimentary sector. especially in the face of the dramatic change in world dietary habits. BCFN is convinced that prevention is an essential and not fully explored area for the future of medicine and nutritional science. however. The problem is bigger than that. lifestyle. Everywhere we see a way of life emerging that involves an increase in the average quantity of calories ingested. environmental. the gradual shift we’ve seen over the last few decades. and the private businesses in the agro. with corresponding increases in the dietary disorders and diseases linked to them. So it is fortunate that the awareness of the links among diet. and health are growing. what is required is the rediscovery and renewed appreciation of an idea of food and lifestyle centered on “quality”: a reduction of the quantity of food that we consume and a greater focus on the quality of that for a healthy life | food for health 183 that ensures that prevention will be one of the chief strategic approaches in the effort to ensure the sustainability of health systems burdened by constantly rising levels of investment and operating costs. One of the most important of those factors. the emergence of nutritionally unbalanced dietary models. significant reductions in time spent in physical activity. and cultural factors. as seems to be the case in every nation in the Western world. Prevention appears to be fundamental to ensuring that the younger generations do not find themselves saddled with inferior conditions of health and welfare (perhaps even radically inferior) compared with those enjoyed by preceding generations. where we have seen a general movetoward the westernization of diet and lifestyles. The first studies establishing those links between behavioral choices and the onset of diseases began to appear in the 1950s. prevention is clearly also fundamental in emerging and developing countries. In these areas it’s necessary to act before the bad habits can develop into deep-rooted practices. Investigations followed into the nature of the underlying social. not just on their narrow dietary choices.

represent the chief risk factor for human health. Unless the dietary and lifestyle trends that have emerged with such striking speed over the last few decades on a worldwide level are reversed. doctors.and medium-income nations. future generations will be inexorably condemned to live less well than the generations that preceded them. the mass media. and private companies and corporations. starting with young people. These diseases cause some 35 million deaths every year—60 percent of all worldwide deaths and 80 percent of deaths in low. as well as an enormous socioeconomic burden on society as a whole. This collaboration is not just important. diabetes. and immediately. the discussions with the leading international experts on the issues of diet and health—that there is no more time to waste. And we must act quickly. and tumors). through the analysis. to modify the lifestyles and dietary habits of the current generations. This phase of life is absolutely crucial to all subsequent development. both current and predicted. To succeed. in the modern history of humanity there has never been such a marked shift in the quality of life and the average conditions of health as the one that—to judge from the data at hand—we can fairly expect to see beginning in the coming 10-30 years. All the data are revealing a rapid decline in average health conditions. any effort to improve the current scenario must fully and synergistically engage all the key actors in the agroalimentary world. The most important studies reveal that roughly 80 percent of all cases linked to these diseases could be prevented by eliminating such risk factors as . in mounting a successful prevention effort. Unless we begin. 4. the rapidity and depth of the trends make time a crucial element in all and every corrective intervention. the observations. or not adequately disincentivized by many other forces shaping public health. what will we be capable of doing once all the medical and health consequences of those habits have done their damage? BCFN has come to the firm belief—through the work that it has carried out in these years. even in areas (such as Italy) normally considered the homelands of sound diets and healthy lifestyles. from pre-school age all the way up to adolescence. However. including government.184 eating planet habits and ways of life among children.1 a few key figures: global trends in chronic diseases and their social and economic impacts Today the principal chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases. In fact. individuals cannot by themselves change trends that have been influenced. The dietary habits and behaviors adopted during the first few years of life are decisive influences on one’s health during childhood and adolescence and health and quality of life in later years. but fundamental. encouraged.

3 million deaths every year (2 million within the European Union). 7.6 million were due to heart disease and 5. some truly astonishing numbers emerge. the increase in cardiovascular diseases is strongly linked to poor diet. The gravity of overweight and obesity among young people is documented. and more than 860. If we assign a cash value to these data. to cite once again a shocking American statistic.3 billion in 2009. nearly a third of all American children and adolescents have been found to be either overweight or obese. that is. without adequate prevention. The World Health Organization has noted that in 2005 there were roughly 17. equal to 30 percent of all deaths. there has been an exponential increase in obesity. In the United States. unhealthy diets. On the other hand. pharmaceuti- . In the United States it is estimated that 80 million people are affected by one or more cardiovascular disease in any given year. Over the last decade. Of those deaths.9 million deaths in all Europe and over 741. Similarly. in nearly all the countries on earth. for example. This value includes both direct health costs (hospital treatment and care. Aside from their importance to health. by the tripling of cases of overweight young people from 1970 to the present day. This trend has been so marked that it led the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) to proclaim the prevention and treatment of obesity “the most important public health problem throughout the for a healthy life | food for health 185 the consumption of tobacco. and the excessive consumption of alcohol. Throughout Europe. It’s been estimated that.5 million deaths due to cardiovascular diseases worldwide. the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases worldwide will grow to 20 million every year. cardiovascular diseases are responsible for 4. by 2015.” Currently. the World Health Organization (WHO)2 estimates that the direct cost of obesity accounted for roughly 7 percent of all health-related costs in 1995. on the other hand. they also have significant economic effects. and we are seeing this phenomenon spread to the younger sectors of the population. some US$70 billion.000 in the member nations of the European Union). their impact on global health could increase by 17 percent in the next 10 years. The most recent estimates of the total cost of cardiovascular diseases in the United States indicate an impact of US$473. According to a recent study by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. physical inactivity. This makes cardiovascular disease the number one killer on Earth. the impact of cardiovascular diseases.000 die of those diseases.3 Coronary diseases are responsible for the greatest number of fatalities (1.1 Overweight and obesity are now fully recognized as diseases. more than 65 percent of all Americans are obese or overweight.7 million were caused by strokes.

those costs reached a global level in 2007 of about US$232 billion.8 million people with diabetes in 2007.8 million (6. worldwide. the impact of diabetes. An even more worrisome growth trend is expected in India. among people aged 20 to 79 the worldwide incidence of the disease was around 6. the total economic impact of cardiovascular diseases for 2006 was estimated at roughly €192 billion. not only in the developed countries. equal to 4.6 the cumulative cost over 10 years of cardiac diseases. where the current number of cases of 40.8 million (7. in 2025 this number is expected to to rise to a little under 60 million (5. for example.6 percent of the population) by 2025. which corresponds to a total average per capita cost of €391.8 billion) have to do with the direct costs charged to the health system.5 percent over 2007.6 percent of the population). an increase of 54.1 percent of world population (380 million people). The prevalence of diabetes will grow both in industrialized countries and in developing countries. A study by the American Diabetes Association7 estimated the cost of diabetes . That’s an increase of roughly 27 percent over 2003 (when it was estimated that 194 million people suffered from this disease). or about 246 million people. it is estimated that there were approximately 39. As in the case of cardiovascular diseases. In Italy. According to the estimates of the International Diabetes Federation. the costs incurred in the treatment and care of diabetes are very high. With reference to diabetes (another disease strongly influenced by diet).0 percent in 2007. In Europe. According to recent WHO estimates. the total costs of cardiovascular diseases have been estimated at roughly €21. 63 percent (€13. etc. In China.2 percent of the population) is expected to rise to 69. and the indirect costs calculated as a loss of working productivity caused by the sickness or premature death of the patients.5 for a total of roughly €8 billion annually. which include the costs of hospital treatment and care and the cost of pharmaceuticals. home assistance. strokes. with a projected rise to US$300 billion in 2025. which will rise to 7.3 percent of the population. The spread of cardiovascular diseases entails serious economic and social repercussions.8 billion per year. 4 Of these costs. Estimates for 2025 indicate a substantial increase in the rate.186 eating planet cals. but also in developing nations such as China. Another 37 percent of the total economic impact of cardiovascular diseases is due to the indirect costs related to the loss of productivity of the working-age patients due to sickness and death and the other informal costs for the care of patients. there are more than 7 million new cases of diabetes—a new case every 5 seconds.). Every year. a 50-percent increase. and diabetes in China will be equivalent to US$558 billion.

cancers. Another study done of European diabetics8 estimates that.400 annually. pharmaceuticals. an annual average cost of €2. mental. direct medical costs alone for cancer in Europe have been estimated.4 million in 2030. and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. in 2007 there were 7. Most of those costs (55 percent) was due to hospitalization for acute and chronic complications. roughly 16. to a level of 9 million in 2015 and 11. in 2002 cancer caused a loss of human life equivalent to nearly 10 million years. In a similar context. Estimates point to a worldwide rise in deaths caused by tumors. 4. diabetes. at €56.7 percent of the total years of health lost by all European citizens to disease. but in many cases conscientious prevention can put off or reduce the risk of onset.650 is attributable directly to diabetes. of them. of which US$6. National Institutes of Health.2 guidelines for a healthy way of eating and lifestyle The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical. including US$116 billion for direct medical expenses and US$58 billion calculated as the loss of productivity of the patients and the family members involved in their care. about 75 percent occurred in low.).9 million deaths worldwide that could be blamed on tumors. and tumors is such that it demands an in-depth analysis of the role played by the different dietary and behavioral choices (physical activity first and foremost) in the onset of the leading chronic diseases. Diet. American diabetic patients on average bear costs of over US$11. heart attacks and cancer).to medium-income countries. As for Europe (EU25). therefore. clinical medium-income countries. etc. by the European Society for Medical Oncology. is a fundamental component in creating a healthy lifestyle. the economic impact of cancers rose to more than US$228 billionin 2008.6 billion. The scope of the socioeconomic impact that can be traced to cardiovascular diseases. including both health costs and productivity losses. A clear majority of these deaths will occur place in low. Cancers are also tied to poor diet and nutrition.” 10 Not all diseases can be prevented (for instance. In the United States. According to WHO data.”9 while a healthy lifestyle is “a way of life directed toward the reduction of the risk of diseases and premature death.S. But what kind of diet and lifestyle? Analyzing the guidelines for preventing chronic diseases from the World Health Organization and the world’s most .834 per patient was incurred. according to the estimates of the for a healthy life | food for health 187 in the United States in 2007 to be US$174 billion. just for the direct health costs of the disease (hospitalization.

for 30 to 60 minutes a day.188 eating planet risk factors and lifestyle The WHO has published an in-depth study of the vast array of negative factors that cause the premature deaths of millions of people. Hypercholesterolemia (diet and lifestyle). Increase (up to about 400grams/day) the consumption of fruit and vegetables.1): 1. 8. characterized by careful control of the total caloric intake and by a proper composition of the various macro. Avoid overweight and obesity. Engage in regular physical activity. Obesity (diet and lifestyle). 2. Low weight and malnutrition (diet). Smoke produced by indoor fires. 10. running. 8. 6. walking.. bread. 2. Eat two to three portions of fish a week. i. Adopt a balanced diet. . Increase the consumption of legumes. or team sports). either moderate (for instance. Unprotected sexual relations. 7. respected international scientific societies11 leads us to the following key actions (figure 4. 9. 3. over both the short and long term (and make sure not to regain any excess weight you might have lost). breadsticks made with whole wheat flour). 4. focusing especially on those that are rich in food fibers. swimming. which is easy to do through the elimination of snacking. Iron deficiencies (diet). conducted worldwide. Smoking tobacco (lifestyle). 7. 9. 6. shows that among the top 10 health risks on Earth. 5. most days of the week. or bicycling) or high intensity (for instance. pasta. 3. Arterial hypertension (diet and lifestyle).and micro-nutrients. Alcohol (lifestyle).e. 5. seven are linked to lifestyle and diet: 1. Choose sources of complex carbohydrates (cereal grains and legumes) and increase the consumption of unrefined cereal grains (for example. consume four to five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol (no more than one glass for women and two glasses for men a day). Don’t smoke. 4. Non-potable water and hygienic shortcomings. The study.

children are making pizza at a food education workshop at a school in Madrid.teaching children to cook In addition to proposing healthier and more balanced menus in school cafeterias. . schools can involve children in food preparation through simple and entertaining activities. In this photo.

2009.1 The methodology followed for the convergence of guidelines for healthy diet and lifestyle Source: BCFN. .190 eating planet guidelines for cardiovascular prevention Fats: 15‑30% of total calories 30 minutes of physical activity every day Saturated fats < 10% and trans fats < 1% Less than 140 g of meat a day 4‑5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily 4‑5 portions of legumes a week 1‑2 portions of fish every week Avoid conditions of overweight and obesity Encourage the consumption of unrefined cereal grains Don’t smoke Consumption of alcohol not recommended Salt: 4‑5 g/day and no dietary supplements guidelines for prevention of diabetes Fats: < 30% of total calories 150 minutes of physical activity every week Saturated fats < 10% and trans fats < 1% Proteins: 10‑20% of total calories 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily 4 portions of legumes a week 2‑3 portions of fish every week Avoid conditions of overweight and obesity Encourage the consumption of unrefined cereal grains Maintain a normal BMI Consumption of alcohol not recommended Salt: 6 g/day and no dietary supplements guidelines for prevention of tumors Limit consumption of fats 45‑60 minutes of physical activity every day Don’t smoke Limit consumption of red meat and salami 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily Eat legumes regularly Prefer fish to red meat Avoid conditions of overweight and obesity Encourage the consumption of unrefined cereal grains Maintain a normal BMI No more than one glass of alcohol per day Moderate salt intake convergence of the guidelines barilla center for food & nutrition healthy diet and lifestyle 1 5 30 minutes of physical activity every day Adopt a balanced diet Consume 2‑3 portions of fish every week Restrict the consumption of meat and poultry to 3‑4 portions a week 2 6 Avoid conditions of overweight and obesity Increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables Prefer plant‑based condiments Restrict the added consumption of salt 3 7 Avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol Prefer complex carbohydrates and increase the consumption of unrefined cereal grains Restrict the consumption of foods with high fat content Restrict the consumption of foods and beverages with high sugar content 4 8 Don’t smoke Increase the consumption of legumes Restrict the consumption of fried foods Avoid the daily use of food supplements 9 13 10 14 11 15 12 16 figure 4.

roughly a teaspoonful). vegetables. ranging from the Japanese to the Vietnamese and Chinese diets).S. To ensure that a diet can improve people’s state of health. 14. The Mediterranean dietary model. sausages). Choose plant-based condiments (vegetable oils) over condiments with high contents of animal fat (butter. through a deliberate effort at simplification. milk and dairy products—present a breakdown that is both balanced in terms of quantities ingested (from 200 to 260 grams a day of each food group) and in terms of daily consumption (the sum of the first four components amounts to more than 40 percent of daily consumption).food for a healthy life | food for health 191 10. cheese products. Its first four components—fruit. Reduce the consumption of fried foods. Reduce the consumption of meat and poultry to three to four portions a week. capable of ensuring the greatest possible benefits in terms of health and prevention of diseases. actions and strategies should promote the rediscovery of regional diets and their most healthful nutritional components. above and beyond the levels naturally contained in foods (don’t use more than 5-6 grams of added salt.e. products derived from cereal grains (in particular. 12. Portugal. the Mediterranean model is one of the most effective in terms of welfare and prevention of diseases. prevalent in the countries of the Mediterranean region(in particular Italy. sauces. BCFN. 13. Reduce the consumption of foods and drinks with high concentrations of sugars (for example. 15. 11. each is characterized by its own distinctive traits: the Mediterranean model. U. 4. The North American (i. and France). unrefined cereal grains). Avoid the daily use of dietary supplements.. has found it possible to single out three great dietary traditions in the world. and Canada) dietary model has long been at . Limit the additional use of salt. 16. and increase the consumption of “low-fat” products (such as low-fat yogurt and skim or low-fat milk). And for good reason: every region and country on Earth has its own native agriculture. making any attempt to spread an ideal meta-diet both arrogant and pointless. Spain.3 the most common guidelines and dietary models Science does not identify a single hypothetical perfect diet. Reduce the consumption of foods with high fat content (for example. If closely adhered to. creams. pastries and sugary drinks). which should be fully considered in light of the most recent scientific knowledge. stands out for its nutritional equilibrium. lard). and the Asian model (which contains a number of important traditions and cultures. dietary traditions. different dietary models. hot dogs. the North American model. Greece. and customs.

vegetables. diet and chronic diseases.192 eating planet the center of attention of the scientific world. red onions. capable of adhering—in different measures and ways—to the principles sanctioned by medical science. including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In general. especially from deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases and tumors. bread and pasta. The Japanese dietary model 13 —taken as an example of the dietary style prevalent in eastern Asia—favors the consumption of cereal grains. All of this shows that very different dietary models can coexist side-by-side. and very little meat. who followed a Mediterranean dietary style. is largely rich in proteins and sugars. These characteristics ensure that the North American diet falls notably far from recommended guidelines and should be to some extent revised and supplemented. phosphorus.1 percent of total daily consumption. The indicated that the best dietary regime was that of the inhabitants of Nicotera. diets close to the Mediterranean diet help protect against the most widespread chronic diseases.000 grams daily of the Mediterranean model and the Japanese model) and an unbalanced nutritional composition that tends toward overconsumption of red meat and sweets. respectively 11. and polyunsaturated fats. This diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet in both components and preparation (a relatively modest use of frying as a way of cooking food). . omega-3 fatty acids. in particular. Their diet was based on olive oil. The nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet. This diet includes an abundance of mineral salts. equal to no less than 24 percent of the total daily intake. which are not adequately counterbalanced by a high level of fruit and vegetables. This seems to be the result of an excessive consumption of food (about 2. garlic. was scientifically demonstrated by the well-known “Seven Countries Study” 14 directed by Ancil Keys. That diet has triggered concern over the exponential increase in obesity and metabolic diseases in the United States. much higher than the 45 grams of the Mediterranean diet and the 18 grams of the North American diet. largely derived from fish. and Campania had very low blood cholesterol levels and a minimal percentage of coronary diseases. A number of studies15 have shown that sticking to the Mediterranean diet produces significant reductions in overall mortality. The Mediterranean diet appears capable of reducing the risk of heart attack by 72 percent. Fish consumption averages 107 grams daily. in Calabria. The populations of Nicotera.16 Similar results are also found in recent studies17 conducted for 10 years on a sample of more than 380. but is protective against all causes of mortality. and fish. basically.7 percent and 7.000 Americans.600 grams as against the roughly 2. aromatic herbs. Montegiorgio (Marche).12 This diet. That study compared the diets of the populations of seven different countries to test those diets’ benefits.

diseases of the cardiocirculatory system. for example. the composition of one’s diet. from the pre-school age to adolescence. obesity. is a serious risk factor for obesity in adulthood. and analyses that are already in part familiar. unequivocal. those habits date back to a very young age. tumors.4 recommendations In conclusion. in Western countries. simultaneously and in parallel. and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 193 4. In the context of individual choices. the distribution of meals through the day. diabetes. In many cases. therefore. the risks of the onset of overweight. the tendency to an active or sedentary lifestyle—can be important factors in creating an overall dietary behavior that . The scientific community is convinced that the linkage between lifestyle and health is direct and quite intense. to work to generate “new knowledge” through efforts to assemble evidence. but which are rarely considered on an integrated and comprehensive basis. It lays the foundations upon which it is possible to send citizens and consumers clear. This is an important finding. diet plays a decisive role. a high number of adult deaths are linked to excessive consumption of food and poor dietary and life habits. portions. dysfunctions of the metabolism). two principal findings have emerged from BCFN’s analysis up to this point. and metabolic syndrome. The BCFN intends. and detailed messages concerning the preferable lifestyles and dietary choices. shows once again how profitable it can be to examine on a systemic level knowledge that has been codified in contiguous but separate areas. as its very reason for existence. The fact that it was possible to reach these conclusions by means of simultaneous studies in three different fields (cancers. cardiocirculatory disease. On a more general level. the way of consuming foods. Moreover—and this result is even more interesting than the first one—comparing the various guidelines issued by the most respected international scientific bodies reveals general agreement on this simple fact: there are lifestyles and ways of eating that are capable of reducing. lifestyles and behaviors that are acquired during an impressionable age—such as dietary preferences. the BCFN concentrated its efforts in 2010 on an investigation of the link between nutrition and healthy growth in the various phases of a child’s life. As noted above. food and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow After devoting an entire year (2009) to the analysis of the overall relationship between diet and health. Childhood obesity.

According to data gathered by the International Obesity Task Force. as a result of a “memory effect” bound up with the habits acquired.20 As for juvenile obesity alone.000 children are considered overweight and more than 85. but all the leading advanced nations over the last 20 years.000 are considered obese.21 In Italy this issue has taken on growing importance. Of them. As the pediatrician Claudio Maffeis pointed out at the Second International Forum on Food and Nutrition..5 the spread of obesity and overweight in children and adolescents and the international economic and social impact All Western countries are experiencing an exponential growth of the phenomenon of childhood obesity and overweight. Even though it is not an isolated case. or 1 in 10. These fractions seem to be confirmed by a more recent study done by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. the United States certainly exemplifies the trend of spreading obesity and overweight among the younger sections of the population (as well as among adults19). metabolic and otherwise. 30-45 million are classified as obese.. as a result of the rise of the . we should keep our eye on a further 15 percent who appear to be at considerable risk of becoming overweight. In Europe too the problem of childhood obesity is increasingly widespread: every year in member countries of the European Union approximately 400. must begin in the earliest phases of life. if they are to be as effective and lasting as possible. others can respond to preventive actions aimed at modifying diets and lifestyle habits. moreover.] Eating right during the developing years is important because it not only ensures that the child will grow and develop properly. Twenty-five percent of American children are overweight and 11 percent are obese. “The earliest years of life are a very important window in terms of the development of the organism. Although some of the factors leading to overweight and obesity are genetic in origin and therefore resistant to therapeutic or preventive intervention. nowadays its prevalence in Europe has been shown to be 10 times greater than it was in the 1970s. According to the National Institutes of Health. The rapid spread of this phenomenon has been affecting not only the United States. [. alongside the 16 percent of children between ages 6 and 19 that are currently overweight. that we might encounter in later phases.194 eating planet is either adequate or inadequate in adulthood as well. It therefore appears to be fundamental to focus attention—beginning in early childhood—on the adoption of healthy daily dietary habits and proper lifestyles.18 there are 155 million obese or overweight school-age children. But these interventions. but it also guarantees a defense against diseases. which states that nearly a third of all American children and adolescents are either overweight or obese.” 4. which means 2-3 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 17.

moreover. If we extrapolate these data to the entire nation. In Italy. Half the children. almost 24 are overweight (23. Overall. Particularly interesting are the findings of one recent research project22 conducted on young Americans between the ages of 6 and 19. • 28 percent eat an inadequate breakfast. .” While the health consequences of childhood obesity and overweight appear to be well documented in the literature. In particular. and • 23 percent of parents state that their children do not consume fruit or vegetables on a daily basis. obesity and overweight bad eating habits in children Often. and US$12 more for emergency services. children are obese or overweight because of dietary habits that both fail to support healthy growth and predispose those children to weight gain. The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) recognizes that the prevention and treatment of obesity is “the most important public health problem throughout the world. which revealed that the subjects who are considered obese generated higher health costs compared with normal-weight children: US$94 more for doctor’s visits.2 million children between the ages of 6 and 11 have problems of obesity or overweight: more than a third of all children. it is estimated that more than 1. the perception of the problem by the parents. both for government health-care budgets and in terms of effects on the physical and cognitive development of children and adolescents. The statistics on physical activity are anything but comforting: only one child out of ten obtains enough physical activity for their age and one out of four engaged in no physical activity on the day before the survey. US$114 more for drug prescriptions. it appears that: • 11 percent of children don’t eat breakfast. seems to be inversely proportional to the statistical frequency of the excess weight.6 percent) and more than 12 are obese (12. as of this writing the economic impacts on social and health systems have only been quantified by a small number of studies. • 82 percent eat too abundant a mid-morning snack.3 percent). Four mothers of overweight children out of ten do not believe that their children are overweight for their height. Finally. out of every 100 children in third grade. the impact of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence is extremely and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 195 numbers of adolescents and children who are overweight or obese. have television sets in their bedrooms. As the reader can easily imagine.

196 eating planet among young people appear to cause incremental costs to the American health system of US$14. and includes the period between the ages of 11 and 18 in the male. ranges from age 18 to 25 for males and from age 16 to 20 for females. After the first year and until the ages of 9 or 10. Energy is necessary for maintaining respiration. adolescence. During the period of early childhood—which is characterized by very rapid growth—it appears particularly necessary to ensure that a child is supplied with an adequate quantity of energy. The macronutrients contained in the foods that are capable of providing that energy are fats. metabolism. and between 11 and 16 in the female.1 billion dollars a year just for those three categories. Body growth is accompanied by neurological and psychological development. childhood.” which includes the period from 6 to 11 years of age. the quantity of proteins ingested by a young child is almost the same as an adult. for every gram of macronutrients ingested and per unit of body weight. In the first year of life. Beyond that. during the deposit of new tissues (growth). and youth. A measure of how important the ingestion of energy is in the early years is the fact that. and third childhood. and weaning (first teeth). Specific dietary needs are associated with each phase. but the carbohydrates ingested are almost twice as much and the quantity of fats is almost four times greater. and proteins. second childhood or the age of play: this includes the period running from the third to the fifth year of age. This long journey can be subdivided into three time periods distinguished by the particular anatomical and physiological modifications that take place in the child: childhood. energy is consumed in digestion. Youth. can itself be subdivided into early childhood. finally. carbohydrates. and in physical activity. circulation. 4. childhood. suckling. which runs from birth to the first two years and includes the so-called periods of newborn (the first month of life). from 35 percent in the first month to 5 percent at the end of the first year. 50-60 percent of the energy spent daily by the child is due to basal metabo- . and warehousing nutrients (thermogenesis). In this latter phase.6 nutrients in the different phases of growth Growth is a continual process that begins at the moment of conception and ends with the attainment of sexual maturity. also called “school age. The earliest phase. the demand for energy for growth is considerable compared to the total but it rapidly decreases. The second phase is adolescence (or puberty). the nutritional and lifestyle indications are roughly the same as for adults. and renal and cerebral function in conditions of rest (basal metabolism). as are the intakes of nutrients and lifestyles to be recommended for healthy development.

farms are changing their identities. and sustainable food. Promoting direct knowledge about farming can encourage more conscious consumption among consumers. farms are now creating awareness among consumers about the benefits of local. organic. . In addition to producing on the farm In many of the most advanced economies.

1). Proteins constitute an essential component of all human cells and for that reason an adequate protein intake has proven to be fundamental. As noted earlier. some of them quite serious. especially pre-school-age children. which can also vary considerably in terms of weight characteristics. and only 2 percent to growth.667 1.453‑1.398 1.198 eating planet lism. excessive inputs of energy encourage the deposit of excess fat. When the intake of energy is to be lower than the required minimum. .1.500‑1. 1996.204‑1. Their bodies are undergoing a phase of growth that demands the presence of the amino acids necessary for the generation of tissues. fats. and the average level of physical activity of the individual boy or girl. 5-8 percent to thermogenesis.094 1. especially for school-age and pre-schoolage children. in the child’s growth and ability to perform normal physical activities.957 Source: Società italiana di nutrizione umana. especially table 4. Prolonged periods of inadequate energy intake can lead to full-blown malnutrition and/or a state of reduced protein reserves. problems may arise. and carbohydrates. the principal macronutrients. 2006. And so there is an overall range of values that can be considered reliable. the WHO recommends limiting the excessive ingestion of fats and sugars from the earliest ages. in which tissue-deposited proteins are used for the generation of energy.034 countries / organizations who 906‑1. In contrast.613 1.088 1. the principal macronutrients necessary for the proper ingestion of energy for pre-school-age and school-age children are proteins. the body makeup.377 1.417‑1. Therefore. in view of the rise of obesity among children and adolescents.916 usa 806‑1. FAO. derived from the product of the estimated quantity of energy necessary per kilogram of body weight and the average weight of children at different ages (table 4. 30-40 percent to physical activity.792‑2. The WHO23 points out the fact that there is substantial similarity among the various recommendations concerning the quantity of energy necessary for preschool-age children. The chart shows average values.694‑1. the optimal average quantitative amount of energy to be ingested in one’s diet (kcal/daily) 24 age of the child italy 1‑3 years 4‑6 years 7‑10 years 768‑1.

food and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 199 organs and muscles. serve as a long-term energy bank. especially to the brain and to the red corpuscles that only use glucose as a “fuel” for cellular activity. If added sugars contribute more than 30 percent of total energy intake. and the cellular architecture as a whole. Optimal sources of high-quality proteins include animal liver.E. calories deriving from fats ought to account for 30-35 percent of total caloric intake. In the case of a pre-schoool-age child. fish. and K. Structural fats are an essential part of the cell membranes. and legumes. The Nemours Foundation25 emphasizes that fats and cholesterol play an important role in a child’s growth. Fats ingested in food supply both energy and essential fatty acids. such as soy products. the categories of carbohydrates. long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids have specific and important physiological functions. especially in relation to cerebral development. while deposited fats (especially in the adipose tissue). The carbohydrates that are not absorbed into the small intestine are transformed inside the colon into lactic acid and into short-chain fatty acids. The products derived from wheat are also a source of proteins. eggs. while most plants and fruit contain limited quantities. cheese. The carbohydrates in food—once they have been transformed into monosaccharides (glucose)—provide energy to all the tissues in the human body. this translates into a daily average of no more than 25 grams of sugar. during the transition from weaning to the pre-school age (around age 2). The second energy-vital macronutrient is fats. also serve the function of encouraging the acquisition and maintenance of an adequate level of tropism of the intestinal mucosa. These metabolites. in part through the prebiotic effect exerted on intestinal microbial flora. Numerous governments and organizations recommend that the daily intake of added sugars not rise above 10 percent of the overall energy intake. but they provide no other important nutrition. and they should not be reduced below certain given limits: for very young children (2-3 years). Carbohydrates are the third and the most important (in quantitative terms) energy source of the human organism. milk. There are three main types of carbohydrates in food: sugars. some 30-40 percent of total energy input should derive from fats. green beans. and fibers. along with a number of oligosaccharides. In particular. and certain plant-based products. meat. the WHO believes that it is a mistake for the diet of school-age and pre-school-age children to be excessively rich in sugary foods and beverages. starches. the neural tissue.D. while from age 4 on fats should account for 25-35 percent of the total. Sugars are a primary source of energy. the result is higher risk of significant . The ingestion of fats with food promotes optimal absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A. The WHO suggests that. In part to establish a proper long-term dietary regimen.

which has been shown to have numerous positive effects on a child’s health from the the earliest years. and certain fruits and vegetables (for example. legumes. even though starches are easily digested and absorbed. foods with high fiber content are characterized by low energy density.26 The WHO also suggests that a diet too rich in starches—principally found in products derived from cereal grains. in order to ensure the integrity of the epithelial tissues. carrots and yellow-to-orange fruit). if anything. thus limiting the overall ingestion of food and benefiting the digestive process. vitamins and minerals are essential elements of a sound diet for schoolage and pre-school-age children. and development. and in potatoes and rice—can be unsuitable.200 eating planet health problems for children. reduce the post-prandial glycemic response. milk. moreover. health. especially those valuable during the phases of rapid growth. cheese products. Alongside the principal macronutrients. Higher intake of starches is. eggs. and fish. and do an excellent job of satisfying hunger. the characteristics of intestinal absorption (they slow the pace of the absorption of nutrients. In fact. Fruits and vegetables are strongly recommended for the diet of pre-school-age children and are. even though we should not overlook the fact that studies on the effect of diets rich in starches on pre-school-age and schoolage children are still relatively few in number. Fiber appears to have a beneficial effect on the speed of intestinal transit (they make the alvus more regular). generally recommended as the child reachesschool age. It also plays a central role in the development of the immune system and is involved in the development of taste and hearing. . Fruits and vegetables. B vitamins are found prevalently in whole cereal grains. The B vitamins also play a fundamental role in children’s growth. in particular cholesterol and glucose). insulin. the role of vitamins and minerals. and the risk of becoming overweight (they help to make the diet less energy-dense and increase satiety). eggs. fish. they do not contain elements that can reduce the absorption of the zinc and iron ingested with the food. are rich in fiber. even more strongly recommended for school-age children. leafy green vegetables. and for the development and differentiation of tissues. meat. The chief sources of vitamin A are liver. unlike those food groups. in fact. Fruits and vegetables. on other hand. The third main category of carbohydrates is represented by fiber. and blood lipids. peanuts. but they also contain high quantities of important micronutrients. especially at an early age. seem to have an advantage with respect to other fiber-rich foods recommended for the diets of children (such as whole cereal grains and legumes) because. margarine. especially significant increases in the levels of glucose. An adequate intake of vitamin A is necessary for the proper development of sight.

salmon. ham. Alongside macronutrients and vitamins. magnesium (roasted peanuts. berries. herrings. in fact. These include iron (both hemoglobinic. in both males and females. peanuts. dried fruit. which is present in cereal grains. margarine. in muscle function. nutrition must meet the need to safeguard against the metabolic and degenerative diseases that are characteristic of adulthood: hypertension. Vitamin D is essential in metabolizing calcium (by stimulating its intestinal absorption). and herrings). sodium (sausages. and non-hemoglobinic. atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). and tumors. liver. and beef. liver. and some varieties of green vegetables). in particular in spinach. this has a significant effect on his or her dietary behavior. eggs. Body growth is also accompanied by rapid psychological and behavioral development that leads the boy or girl to experience a progressively more intense need for independence and autonomy. however. It also plays a significant support role in the process of iron absorption (especially from plant sources). wheat. and in green-leaf vegetables). and zinc (red meat. cheese products. legumes. phosphorus (milk. and citrus fruit. fish. there is a sharp rise in the rate of growth. tuna. cheese. broccoli. only a few research projects have analyzed them. tomatoes. Adolescence is a period distinguished by intense metabolic activity. which is present in meat and fish. potatoes. sauces. Vitamin C is present mainly in fruits and vegetables. calcium (milk and milk products. vegetables. raw spinach. bread. the foundation of proper diet and nutrition is laid. milk and dairy products. and rice). minerals are essential elements in the diet of school-age and pre-school-age and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 201 Vitamin C is fundamental in the optimal functioning of the immune system and for the synthesis of collagen. The principal dietary sources of vitamin D are fatty fishes (sardines. Nutrition and the issues bound up with the adoption of a proper diet and lifestyle take on a fundamental importance in adolescence. diabetes. shrimp. sardines. in fact. Although the nutritional needs of adolescents is of great interest. adolescence. In this age during which one’s psychic and physical development is being completed. In the absence of in-depth and sufficiently broad studies (both in terms of number of subjects and the time span) on the energy requirements of adoles- .27 In this period. Often. the available data derive from extrapolations of studies done on childhood and adulthood. and in added salt). and fish). During adolescence the daily consumption of food should be sufficiently rich to satisfy the increased demand from the growth processes. salmon. in the proliferation and maturation of cells. and in the proper functioning of the immune system. ideally to serve over time as a preventive factor against many diseases of later life. beans. fish oils (especially cod liver oil). pickled foods. and fruits). At the same time.

The ranges are sharply influenced by such factors as weight.28 Adolescents can come down with anemia as a result of the sharp increase in the tissue demand for iron. which means that they have a final value of lean body mass almost twice that of females. In contrast.898‑2. Table 4.393‑2.2 shows the intervals of energy requirements in adolescents.411 Source: Developed by BCFN on data from the Società italiana di nutrizione umana. which may result in shortages of given elements. it is difficult to establish the requirement for individuals who present rapid swings in growth rates from one year to the next and differ notably from one to the next and between genders. and level of physical activity. The energy requirement. which involves a significant increase in the iron requirement needed to produce hemoglobin (a protein that serves to transport oxygen) and myoglobin (a globular protein contained in muscles). The system generally works well to ensure the ingestion of sufficient quantities of energy to satisfy metabolic needs. is efficiently satisfied through the finely calibrated and automatic regulation of the appetite by the hypothalamus. Peak growth generally occurs between the ages of 11 and 15 for girls and 13 and 16 for boys. The nutritional requirements of adolescents are influenced first of all by physical growth. The most common nutrient deficiencies at this age are iron and calcium deficiencies. .976 2.739‑2. During pre-adolescence. 2011. but when adolescence begins males accumulate more lean body mass for every additional kilogram of body weight acquired during growth. The increase in lean body mass.048 1.794 2. Requirements of energy and nutrients are variable from day to day.29 especially of muscles.277‑2.202 eating planet cents. The appetite encourages the ingestion of food that satisfies the need for both energy and various nutrients.343 2. body makeup.2.942‑2. is more significant in male adolescents than their female counterparts. even for the same individual.297 1. the regulation of the ingestion of nutrients may prove to be less than optimal.215 females 1.993‑2. lean body mass is roughly equivalent in the two sexes. Associazione italiana di dietetica e nutrizione clinica. in most cases.338 1. the energy requirements during adolescence for males and females age energy requirements (kcal/daily) 11/12 years 13/14 years 15/16 years 17/22 years males 1.864‑2. Anemia due to a lack of iron is one of the most widespread and common diseases associated with inadequate diet. table 4.515‑3. in particular in the muscular and erythrocytic mass.

inasmuch as it forms part of the makeup of bones and teeth. walnuts. it is fundamental that an adolescent’s diet provide an adequate intake of calcium in order to attain the greatest possible bone density. legumes. In fact. approximately 45 percent of the skeletal mass of an adult is formed during adolescence. Once menstruation begins.” is absorbed more easily than iron from non-animal sources (also known as noneme iron). and a calcium shortage during this period can damage an individual’s proper growth. dark green vegetables. Blood (and thus iron) loss due to menstruation requires supplementation of this fundamental trace element. Only during the period of adolescence can the youth deposit the maximum possible quantity of calcium in growing bone tissue in order to attain the so-called “peak bone mass. This makes it clear just how important intake of calcium-rich foods is for boys and especially for girls.” that is. The iron contained in foods of animal origin. Although the maximum quantity of calcium that can be deposited in the bones is determined genetically. who will be more exposed to the risk of osteoporosis with the onset of menopause later and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 203 Another factor that helps to increase the iron requirement is the appearance of the menstrual cycle in girls. encourages the absorption of iron from plant sources. This means a daily requirement of about 18 milligrams as against the 12 milligrams daily requirement for boys. The ingestion of foods that are rich in vitamin C. and cereal grains enriched with iron. also known as “iron eme. peak bone mass can never be attained if the individual fails to ingest an adequate quantity of calcium. they should increase their consumption of iron-rich foods30 such as lean meats and fish. the greatest possible level of calcification. because of fads or because they want to lose .” between the ages of 10 and 14 in girls and 12 and 15 in boys. The greatest need for calcium comes in what is called the “first adolescence. In this period the average daily retention of calcium is approximately 200 milligrams in females and 300 milligrams in males. girls need to ingest a good 50 percent more iron than boys do. Iron supplements must therefore be taken on those specific days. The human skeleton contains some 99 percent of the total body reserves of calcium and the increase in the skeleton’s size and weight reaches its highest point during adolescence. adolescents who eat a vegetarian diet are more at risk of iron shortages. Because of this higher need for iron in adolescents. Calcium also performs an essential function in adolescents experiencing rapid growth. such as citrus fruits. Because only about 30 percent of calcium ingested is actually absorbed. Therefore. On the other hand. it is very common for adolescents to have diets that are lacking in a number of nutrients. A number of studies31 confirm that attaining “peak bone mass” in adolescence is crucial to reducing the risk of osteoporosis in later years. even though the growth of the skeleton continues almost until the age of 30.

On the basis of current recommendations. Studies undertaken in Europe and in the U. equilibrium.32 adolescents should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. release tension and stress.200 milligrams of calcium per day is recommended. Adequate physical condition also correlates positively with the improvement of the body’s elasticity. dance. progression. The principal dietary source of calcium is dairy and cheese products. mozzarella. skating. Physical inactivity is not merely one of the leading causes of overweight and obesity in adolescents. and weightlifting with an instructor’s supervision. and the reinforcement of the bones.” For adolescents of both genders the daily consumption of 1. but also of the later development of such chronic diseases as heart disease. which includes both athletic physical activity and play. or else just bicycling. and persistence of a number of diseases such as obesity. Regular motor activity encourages the maintenance of adequate body weight and an optimal body makeup. Sports and motor activities such as swimming. Consuming various portions of such dairy products as milk. who often therefore fail to reach “peak bone mass. for about 60 minutes a day. Osteoporosis represents one of the most serious and potentially irreversible consequences of anorexia nervosa and of the rapid and excessive weight losses experienced by adolescent girls. it also makes adolescents stronger and accustoms them to adopting a lifestyle that will sustain healthier lives in the years to come. adolescents must eat properly for health and growth. ball sports. osteoporosis. diabetes. and cheese makes it easy to reach the recommended level of calcium. hypertension. from three to five times a week. Motor activity helps to burn calories. Conversely. and improve moods and psychological welfare. have shown that most adolescents are physically inactive or else adopt a lifestyle that does not call for adequate physical activity. Regular physical activity and sports bring notable benefits to the cardiovascular and skeletal systems as well as to the metabolism. in other words. calisthenics. agility. Aged cheeses contain greater concentrations of calcium because they have been subjected to a process that leads to water loss. and certain forms of cancer. they are. Aside from engaging in adequate physical activity. obesity in adolescence is associated with metabolic diseases in adulthood and to higher mortality rates. the lack of physical activity among adolescents plays an important role in the development.204 eating planet weight quickly and to an excessive degree. gymnastics. To be specific.. etc. constipation and intestinal diverticulosis. eating properly means considering the quantity and quality of food ingested and the distribution of food con- . can help to increase bone mass and density. Overweight and obesity in adolescents constitute a serious nutritional problem that is very likely to persist in adulthood. Addressing this problem requires not only a sound diet but also a focus on physical movement. and coordination. sedentary. yogurt.S.

This is invaluable information to people whose responsibility it is to grow and prepare food for their families. .advice for mothers Medical staff at a hospital in Uganda provide information and suggestions about the nutritional properties of food to a group of mothers.

regular physical activity (especially if practiced outdoors in the fresh air) is one of the factors considered fundamental to the health of children and adolescents. etc. good nutrition is not enough. etc. vegetables. especially for the prevention of the chief chronic diseases. cereal grains. as well as alternating foods over the course of the week. .33 4.206 eating planet Breakfast 20% Dinner 30% Mid‑morning snack 5% Afternoon snack 10% Lunch 35% figure 4. legumes. Dietary behaviors focused on a single diet and the repeated and frequent consumption of lunches and dinners away from home significantly increase the risk of overweight and obesity in adolescents.).34 In general. governments and international organizations that are involved in health issues have formulated guidelines to establish a balanced diet in the various stages of life. As we have noted. sumed over the course of the day. up to and including adulthood.2 Breakdown of caloric intake during the day Source: BCFN on Società italiana di nutrizione umana data. with a specific focus on adolescence.2.) and foods produced by and from animals (meat. 2011. prosciutto. seeds. dairy products. Variety is also a good idea. nutritional science indicates that children should eat five times a day. Caloric intake should be broken down as shown in figure 4. it means a mixed diet that includes plant-based foods (fruit. cheese.7 guidelines for healthy diets and sound lifestyles in children and adolescents Given the importance of diet during adolescence. It also can help reduce risks linked to common chronic diseases in later ages.

• legumes: at least twice a week. and organization have made it difficult to study children and adolescents in sufficient detail. It is in the family that a child learns to eat and internalizes dietary behaviors. etc. most of the studies done to date have focused on adults. • fruits and vegetables: every day. the result of the coordination of a variety of actors (school. Prevention is also emerging as one of main lines of future action to ensure the financial sustainability of healthcare systems. pediatricians. problems of methodology. • milk and dairy products: every day. awareness is spreading within both the scientific community and throughout society of the importance of disease prevention and of the fundamental role dietary habits and lifestyles play in preventiong obesity and chronic diseases. .) who provide care to children at different times of the day. • fish: at least three times a week. ensuring that children and adolescents eat properly seems to require a concerted effort. Nevertheless. and although the general picture we present here is based to some degree on fragmentary and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 207 4. family.8 recommendations Two key findings emerge from these observations and analyses. the findings undeniably reveal the extreme importance of a sound approach to diet from the youngest age. Above all else. • eggs: once or twice a week. a sound diet might mean eating various foods at these intervals: • cereal grains (bread and pasta): every day. • meat: two or three times a week. economics. Second. the school—by virtue of its growing importance in shaping diets and the potential the weekly menu for children During a given week. doctors. On the other hand. The family and the school appear to be the principal focuses of effective education about proper diet aimed both at young people and—in the future—at the adults of tomorrow. • cheese: twice a week. First. However. we can document at all levels a growing awareness of the importance of adopting proper dietary approaches in the earliest years of a person’s life (up to adolescence) in order to ensure conditions of good health in adulthood as well.

• Avoid the excessive calories from consuming highly caloric foods or foods with elevated concentrations of fat. knowledge and information We consider it more necessary than ever to: • encourage the further exploration of scientific knowledge. • Minimize the additional intake of salt in order to reduce the risk factors for the development of hypertension. • Distribute daily nutrients evenly to ensure a good equilibrium between the intake of animal and plant proteins (a ratio that should be 1:1). • encourage cooperation among the various entities involved in feeding young people. and animal and plant fats (utilizing less lard and butter and more olive oil). • Distribute meals over five periods during the day: eat at breakfast. pasta. vitamins. including both athletic activity and play. especially in adulthood. Alternating every day among all the principal food groups will provide all the nutrients and micronutrients (calcium.) that adolescents need. and especially reduce time spent in front of video screens (televisions and computers). • Stay active. • Engage in physical activity for at least an hour every day. . or rice). lunch. • Avoid eating at other times. iron. midmorning snack. etc. and dinner.208 eating planet lifestyle for adolescents The guidelines that should be followed in order to provide proper diet and lifestyle to foster the healthy development of an adolescent are the following: • Adopt a healthy and balanced diet. and • encourage the diffusion of proper dietary information and promote a culture of prevention. • properly structure the various interventions in accordance with the most broadly accepted international best practices. potatoes. simple and complex sugars (through the ingestion of less sweets and more bread. afternoon snack.

3 The various actors in food education Source: BCFN. principally as a result of the general increase in average life expectancy. 2010.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 209 involvement of the families themselves—can and should play a truly active role in encouraging balanced ways of eating. physicians are also key actors in establishing dietary and lifestyle virtuous cycles. In the last hundred years. . life expectancy at birth has almost (gr ow ) Fa m ( Sc il y ho at uc ed ol e) Diet and the child’s lifestyle Ped ( e ncourage ) i a tr i c i a n s figure 4. it is clearly fundamental that family doctors and pediatricians more fully become first-access “gatekeepers” to topics having to do with proper nutrition and adequate physical activity for all the members of the nuclear family. in the various phases of their lives from children through old ages. by inviting families to understand the most appropriate dietary choices and to become allies in a joint and concerted program of intervention. longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition In 2025. the world will have more than 8 billion inhabitants. In particular. according to United Nations estimates. Finally.

a reduction of the gap between the duration of one’s life (lifespan) and the duration of one’s health (healthspan). strong. We might find ourselves facing an old age characterized by a sharply reduced quality of life for a significantly longer time. independent. These demographic changes are very worrisome and could cause a general crisis in the healthcare systems of many countries. both industrialized and developing. stretching out from 45 years at the end of the nineteenth century to approximately 80 years in 2010. and socially useful for the longest possible time. and the deterioration of lifestyles (sedentary lifestyle. ideally for their entire lives. The same trend can be seen all over the world. it becomes fundamental to design and implement interventions that are aimed at the prevention of the chronic diseases associated with aging and to work for improvements in the quality of life. The percentage of elderly people (over age 65) has also increased to an astonishing extent. happy. and chronic pulmonary diseases). Unless corrective interventions are carried out in the lives of millions. the fact that those lives are growing longer might no longer imply that they are also improving in quality.35 Those numbers are destined to rise because of the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that is currently under way. for example rising in Italy from 4 percent in 1900 to 20. people over 65 are expected represent 34 percent of the population: one out of every three people will be elderly.210 eating planet doubled. in Italy. . In the period from 1950 to 2010. that is. The strategy of combating each disease only when it comes to a doctor’s attention is conceptually faulty and fails to offer an adequate response to the challenge of the reduction of the gap between lifespan and healthspan. It is more necessary than ever before to identify and adopt lifestyles that promote healthy and successful aging.6 percent in 2010. cigarette smoking). We must confront squarely the problem of aging and the diseases associated with aging by implementing a preventive and integrated approach. arterial hypertension. diabetes mellitus. and that ensure that individuals can remain physically and mentally healthy. Overweight and obesity (in particular abdominal obesity) are associated with an increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and tumoral conditions. Approximately 80 percent of all elderly people suffer from at least one chronic disease and approximately 50 percent are affected by two or more (such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. a trend that shows no sign of slowing: it is estimated that in 2050 the over-65 population will amount to 1. even among the younger members of the population. In light of these demographic changes. tumors. In 2050.9 billion people. the world’s elderly population grew at an average annual rate of 13 percent. Those diseases are responsible for about 70 percent of all deaths in many industrialized and developing countries. hypercaloric diets. active. the epidemic of obesity.

water. food. run by a local NGO. health Kibera. a resource that is as scarce as it is precious. Nairobi is a slum or “informal settlement” with more than one million inhabitants. provides a daily lunch and water for drinking and washing. This school. .

Quality of life is a crucial factor that no one wishes to do without. Now we will complete this in-depth study by examining the relationship between diet and a healthy longevity. cardiovascular diseases. due to a defect in the mechanisms assigned to repair the damage. arterial hypertension. We have also explored the links between good nutrition and healthy growth in the various phases of child’s lives. . metabolic syndrome. alcohol consumption. intervene preventively on the onset of the chronic diseases associated with those processes (obesity.212 eating planet Aging is caused by the progressive accumulation over time of damage to the body’s DNA. As mentioned. It is possible to slow the natural aging processes and. a hypercaloric diet. and a sedentary lifestyle accelerate aging as well as encourage the onset of obesity. In this chapter. especially. physical activity.). Recent studies have shown that lifestyle (nutrition. It is a crucial foundation for the truly sustainable progress of nations. diabetes. Food and lifestyle have a critical role to play in preventing the onset of those diseases. cancer. Although we cannot prevent or reverse natural aging. and all its organs. cardiovascular diseases. diabetes. For instance. exposure to cigarette smoke. smoking. On the other hand. and physical activity—helps prevent mortality by extending average life expectancy by 5 to 14 years per individual. rich in saturated fats and poor in nutrients (vitamins. For example. and tumoral conditions. countless scientific findings have shown how a moderately hypocaloric diet (low in calories) that is rich in nutrients is capable of slowing the aging processes and preventing most of the chronic diseases associated with aging. it is no longer sufficient these days to hope to live longer without also living well during the second part of your life. hypertension. diabetes mellitus. we have analyzed the general relationship between diet and health. mineral salts. either as individuals or as a society. and inflammatory processes). toxic and radioactive substances. its cells. we can still act decisively to affect environmental (or secondary) aging and influence the processes tied to intrinsic (or primary) aging. paying particular attention to those diseases that by now represent full-blown contemporary epidemics (obesity. and pollutants) can have major influences on the aging process. mitigating their effects and encouraging a qualitatively better form of longevity. cardiovascular diseases. The accumulated array of damages causes a progressive decline of many physiological functions and the vital structures of the organism. the years of one’s maturity. numerous studies36 designed to measure the impact of behavior on increased risks of mortality have made it clear that the adoption of a healthy lifestyle—in terms of dietary regimen. etc. and tumoral diseases).

men’s life expectancy in 2020 will rise to 71 years. In Mississippi in particular. Alabama. which is only three years less than men’s life expectancy in Europe. albeit more modestly. Figure 4. the state with the highest rate of obesity. in 2010 it was 70. with a shift from approximately 6 percent of GDP per year in the 1960s to the current level of . Tennessee. In the United States.4 percent of GDP (approximately US$2.14 years for women and 65. and scientific progress. Life expectancies are rising even in countries that still lag in terms of economic and social development.71 years for men (figure 4. A recent study38 has shown that in states such as Mississippi.6 shows the effects on healthcare costs of living longer lives but not in good health.9 demographics.5 trillion) was invested in healthcare in 2009 compared with 5 percent in 1960. Chronic diseases are already the leading cause of death in the world. alone among all developed countries. a general improvement in living conditions. This means an increase in economic inactivity and dependency on the younger members of the population. longevity. life expectancy is just 67 years for men and 74 years for women. life expectancies are progressively falling. Estimates tell us that that rate will rise until it reaches 48 percent in 2050. The United States.5 percent to 25.9 billion in 2050. Oklahoma. Arkansas. In Bangladesh. average worldwide life expectancy37 has increased steadily since the turn of the century. the UN predicts that the rate of elderly dependency will grow from the current 11. there has been growth in healthcare spending. The chart shows the increase in the share of GDP spent on healthcare on average in the OECD nations and certain representative countries. numbers that are much lower than in the countries shown above. Figure 4. especially among women. even though Bangladesh is a country with only partial suffrage.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 213 4.4 percent in 2050. inadequate healthcare structures. the global elderly population (over 65) is growing continuously and will reach an estimated 1. and the economic and social impacts of the principal diseases As a result of global economic growth. Kentucky. but it is expected that between 2005 and 2015 deaths from such diseases will grow by 17 percent. Europe has the highest rate of dependency on Earth. 17. As was mentioned earlier in this chapter. In Italy. who are showing the highest rates of obesity and smoking.4). for example. is beginning to witness a decline in life expectancy at birth in some states. and Louisiana. too.5 shows the 10 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with the highest life expectancies. Worldwide. World values are driven by the Western high-to-medium averages and by the high rates of growth in average life expectancy found in developing economies. and major challenges in terms of obtaining basic pharmaceuticals.

08 64.47 68.70 59. 2010.09 68. In general.21 63. diseases that result from.52 53. major increases in healthcare spending are also predicted.48 62.79 74.65 70.85 64. perhaps 80 percent of all cases of chronic disease could be prevented.05 60.4 World life expectancies.59 72.67 51. population (1950‑2030) . goes for the treatment and care of those suffering from the chronic diseases we have discussed in this book.63 67.75 73.27 65.09 50 60 70 figure 4.10 49.17 70.71 67. In China and India. comparison between the male and the female Source: BCFN on UN (World Population Prospect) data. of course.14 71.214 eating planet 10 percent (approximately €180 billion).66 46.64 58. unhealthy diets and lifestyles. by eliminat- 1950‑1955 1955‑1960 1960‑1965 1965‑1970 1970‑1975 1975‑1980 1980‑1985 1985‑1990 1990‑1995 1995‑2000 2000‑2005 2005‑2010 2010‑2015 2015‑2020 2020‑2025 2025‑2030 0 10 20 30 40 48.33 65.42 56.01 48.35 57.59 62.83 55. or are worsened by. A great deal of this spending.76 66.20 69.79 80 61.

7). high levels of cholesterol.35 percent in 79 low. According to the Global Burden of Diseases Study. . 84 Finland 78 While only 38 percent of the people who 84 suffer from dementia live in high-income Austria 77 high-income nations. Life expectancy in 10 OECD countries. Older people are also more likely to be stricken by neurodegenerative conditions (dementia) and osteoporosis as they age. The estimated worldwide cost of dementia in 2010 was US$604 billion. and smoking) are often predisposed to contract neurodegenerative diseases as well (figure 4. and cancer. Certain risk factors predispose people to both dementia and cardiovascular diseases. cardiac diseases. unhealthy dietary models and customs (diets). physical inactivity. tobetween 2 percent and 10 percent.24 percent 85 Switzerland in low-income nations. Korea 80 In England the social cost of dementia 84 Australia (₤17 billion) is greater than the cost of 78 strokes. dementia results in people living 11. comparison between the male Currently in Italy it is estimated that 2 population (2010) and the female million people suffer from medium-income nations. 2010.) By dementia we mean a condition of chronic and progressive failure of the cerebral functions that lead to a decline of a person’s cognitive faculties.5 because of an absence of structured and accessible healthcare services.1 percent of their total years of life. 70 per86 Italy cent of those costs are incurred in West80 ern Europe and in North America.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 215 ing such risk factors as smoking tobacco. 0.9 percent of their years on Earth in a condition of chronic disability and to lose 1. 77 For the poorest countries a fundamental 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 part of patient care is provided outside the healthcare system by the families figure 4. Patients with high levels of cardiovascular risk (hypertension.24 percent in high-income nations. of Source: BCFN on OECD data. 72 percent of the costs are 84 Canada incurred in those very same countries. and the excessive consumption of alcohol. finally rising to a rate of about 30 percent at the age of 80. 83 and 1. Dementia affects between 1 and 5 percent of the population over 65.50 per85 France 78 cent in medium. diabetes. with the prevalence doubling every four years. (Recent statistics have shown a rising incidence of dementia in individuals over 65.39 85 Japan 80 These costs represent approximately 1 85 percent of world GDP and significant Spain 80 shares of GDP in all nations: 0. 0.

. 2009. both for the healthcare and social welfare systems and for the patients and their families. If we multiply the number of Italians suffering from dementia by the annual average cost per patient we come up with an estimate of the total annual cost 4% 1960 4% 4% 5% 6% 5% OECD United States Great Britain 7% 7% 7% 1970 5% 5% Italy France 1980 6% 9% 7% 7% 7% 12 % 8% 8% 8% 14 % 10 % 9% 16 % 11 % 16 % 11 % 10 % 17 % 12 % 1990 6% 2000 7% 8% 2007 8% 9% 9% 2008 9% 9% 2009 10 % 10 % 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10 % 12 % 14 % 16 % 18 % 20 % figure 4.216 eating planet whom roughly 63 percent are older than 80.6 Share of GDP spent on total health care costs (1960‑2009) Source: BCFN on OECD data. The costs are high.

Japan. and an additional 34 million have such low bone mass that they are at risk of developing osteoporosis.7 Prevalence of Alzheimer’s by age group (2009) Source: BCFN on EURODEM study. femur. and the United States. afflicting 7 percent.7 minutes in 2021. 75 million of them in Europe. osteoporosis is one of the most common chronic diseases associated with aging.1 minutes in 2001 to one every 3. Osteoporosis is increasing worldwide and the World Health Organization has identified it as a health priority. In the United States perhaps 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis. putting it third after hypertension (16 percent) and arthrosis and arthritis (17. There are marked differences 30‑59 60‑64 65‑69 70‑74 75‑79 80‑84 85‑89 90‑94 > 95 0% 0% 0% 2% 3% 5% 4% 5% 7% 12 % 14 % 18 % 23 % 32 % 32 % 32 % 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Women Men 1% 36 % 40% figure 4. 40 Osteoporosis affects an estimated 150 million people around the world.3 percent). . In Italy. too. Osteoporosis is a pathology characterized by the decline in bone mass and the deterioration of the microarchitecture of the bones. The incidence of osteoporotic fractures is expected to increase from one every 8. In Europe one out of every three women and one one out of every five men older than 50 have suffered an osteoporotic fracture at least once. 2011. Most of them have a 15 percent probability of suffering wrist. or vertebral fractures—very close to the likelihood of suffering coronary problems.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 217 of dementia in Italy: approximately €50 billion (€10 billion for direct costs and €40 billon for indirect costs).

Tumors and tumoral diseases are caused by many factors but harmful lifestyles and diets certainly increase their likelihood. a prolonged old age marked by the risk of fragility. combined with two-and-a-half hours of regular physical activity every week and a dietary strategy that reduces the intake of fats and calories. including diabetes. for the first time in modern history. That’s why it is more necessary than ever to identify lifestyles and diets that can extend the disease-free period of life at the same time that they prolong life itself. The economic burden of osteoporosis is comparable to that of the leading chronic diseases. neurodegenerative diseases. heart attacks. with life expectancies and the rate of principal chronic diseases both rising. but in women older than 45 osteoporosis is the cause of a greater number of hospital admittances than other diseases. since it is also strongly correlated to insulin resistance.000 men. 4. 15 percent between 50 and 59 are affected. and osteoporosis) and the role played by diet and lifestyle. Below is a summary of what’s currently known about the relationship between longevity and certain diseases (diabetes. compared with more than 30 percent in the 60-69 age range and 45 percent of the 70-79 age range. The number of osteoporotic fractures is expected to rise with the aging of the European population. diabetes. A 5-7 percent reduction of body weight. diet is important in preventing the accumulation of excess abdominal fat. a practice that increases roughly thirty-fold an individual’s risk of contracting pulmonary tumors. with costs rising from €31. disability and suboptimal health.41 Among women. may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 60 percent. however: in Italy the disease afflicts 3.7 billion in 2000 to approximately €76.7 billion in 2050. . cancers. obesity. a central feature of diabetes. which is linked to Type 2 diabetes.10 diet and lifestyle and their effects on longevity and diseases of aging As we have said. and breast cancer.218 eating planet by gender.9 million women and 840. programs designed to alter lifestyles in the direction of weight reduction and higher physical activity appear to be help reduce the likelihood of contracting Type 2 diabetes. 42 Numerous studies have shown that abdominal fat is perhaps even more strongly correlated with Type 2 diabetes than a high body mass index. In particular. it is likely that humankind will soon experience. Because overweight and obesity are both linked to the development of insulin resistance and the onset of diabetes. tumors. The nutritional approach is univerally recognized as a fundamental tool in preventing and treating Type 2 diabetes and its complications. One of the most important non-dietary factors is smoking tobacco.

Both longstanding and temporary obesity and overweight can increase the risk of various tumors. The relationship between lack of nutrients and dementia has long been clear. and environmental toxins. we explain the origin of more than 75 percent of all tumoral diseases in the mouth. laryngeal. Recommended measures include daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. in particular colorectal tumors. lifestyle. Dementia and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are primary disturbances that tend to arise and worsen with aging. Smoking. cardiovascular diseases. although cardiovascular diseases occur more often in middle. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has indicated that overweight and physical inactivity account for somewhere between 20 percent and 35 percent of breast.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 219 Smoking accounts for 80 percent of all cases in developed countries and pulmonary tumors are the most common type of tumor worldwide. many studies43 confirm that the right dietary behaviors and personal habits can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.or old age. is clearly linked to lower life expectancy. infectious agents. and esophageal tumors. etc. and esophageal tumors. especially at an advanced age. alcohol abuse. A study44 of protective factors in the serum of patients suffering from either Alzheimer’s-linked or vascular dementia showed significant drops in the levels . colon. Excessive Alcohol consumption is the principal dietary risk factor for oral. diet. therefore. and low alcohol consumption. Cardiovascular diseases are also increasingly characteristic of aging populations. the ingestion of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (contained principally in fish). Tobacco smoke is also one of the principal risk factors for oral. Among those factors are lifestyle. and behavior: smoking. and esophageal tumors. All the studies agree that. kidney. the risk factors that cause them are largely linked to behaviors learned in childhood and youth and perpetuated into adulthood. sedentary lifestyle. persistent overweight. high concentrations of sodium in the blood. adequate physical activity. Although their causes include a diverse array of environmental factors. the available research cautions against consumption of high quantities of saturated fatty acids. Some studies have estimated poor diet may account for 30 percent of the incidence of tumoral diseases. On the other hand. It is now clear that the damage is the product of an interaction between a genetic predisposition and environmental factors. appropriate amounts of n-6 fatty acids and potassium. Diet also affects the incidence of tumoral diseases. second only to tobacco smoke. neurodegenerative diseases. Conversely. they too depend to a great degree on dietary habits. If we add tobacco to alcohol consumption. laryngeal. and excessive consumption of alcohol.

almonds. lentils.600-2. tomatoes. can in fact be a joint causative factor in the development of dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. fennel. can protect against the onset of the disease in a small sample of participants. walnuts. meats. etc.46 There is evidence47 that dementia is associated with an insufficiency of magnesium (contained in cereal grains. and flavonoids) that are natural chemical compounds very commonly found in numerous varieties of fruit (citrus fruit. Diets with high fish content are linked with lower incidence of dementia in general and of Alzheimer’s disease in particular. It is certainly clear that a high consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. fruit juices). green vegetables. broccoli. etc.51 In summary. and starchy foods). and albumin. restricting the ingestion of calories50 may help prevent such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s. tea. Hypercholesterolaemia. broccoli. it has been found 45 that a suite of nutrients (vitamin E.). turnips.g. apricots. some populations in China and Japan ingesting only 1. already known to be a risk factor for atherosclerotic diseases.). and some beverages (red wine. and radishes). wheat germ. vitamin C. As for Parkinson’s disease. beta-carotene. onions. who generally consume about 2. spinach. which can be associated with dementia. zinc. peanuts. A 2004 study explored the role played by fruits and vegetables in Alzheimer’s disease and concluded that elderly women who ate plants rich in folates and antioxidants such ascarotenoids and vitamin C (e.000 calories a day. carotenoids. For instance. Studies on cholesterol levels and on the relationship between saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet48 suggest that neurodegenerative disease involves the metabolism of fats. it is worthwhile pointing out that dietetic habits can certainly contribute to the definition of an individual’s risk profile. vegetables (cabbages. even though the studies on the relationship between diet and neurodegenerative diseases point to fairly vague direct links between diet and neurodegenerative processes. cress. apples. osteoporosis. A shortage could be caused either by low dietetic intake of the mineral or a limited physiological ability to absorb or maintain it. reflecting a possible link between poor diet and the disease. is essential for normal growth and for the development of all the . cocoa. showed a lower level of cognitive decline than women who had low intake of these vegetables. Good nutrition.220 eating planet of vitamins E and C.000 calories a day show a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease compared with the inhabitants of the United States or western Europe. There are factors moreover that establish a linkage between forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s and other forms of vascular dementia. in terms of a balanced diet and adequate caloric intake. green-leaf vegetables and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbages..49 Finally. buckwheat.

health and nutritional education programs can limit the damage caused by poor living conditions.eating in the global slum Growing urbanization can lead to extreme poverty and the marginalization of the poor. the urban population exceeded the population of people in rural areas for the first time in history. . In 2008. In cities.

Vitamin D is among the nutrients critical to bone mass formation. In conclusion. retarding osteoporosis must rely upon proper diet—characterized by reduced sodium. and the elimination of smoking. Adequate calcium intake is fundamental to the prevention of osteoporosis—which makes all the more alarming the fact that. Aging is caused by the progressive accumulation of damage to the DNA. Recent studies52 have shown that the daily ingestion of vitamin D with calcium reduces the risk of fractures by up to 8 percent. fatty fishes such as salmon and sardines. There is agreement that prevention must begin at an early age. and reduced conversion to the more active form of the vitamin. It appears. milk and milk derivatives (especially butter). and the organs of the human body due to the failure of the mechanisms responsible for repairing that dam- . stable body weight. including bone tissue. in fact. and alcohol. 4. the cells. lack of vitamin D is very common in the older population. the typical daily dose of calcium ingested is actually far lower than the recommended level.222 eating planet tissues. However. both because of reduced intake and in part because of diminished intestinal absorption. and of course being overweight. tobacco smoke. in all age groups. that one of the keys to preventing osteoporosis in old age is laying down an ample “foundation” of bone mass during the developmental phases of youth to protect against the inevitable loss of mass later. ingestion of at least 400-500 milligrams of calcium daily. and eggs. Calcium deficiencies cannot be exclusively blamed for osteoporosis53 but are implicated in it. the studies conducted to date have found a moderate but significant link between diet and the prevention of osteoporosis. inflammatory states and longevity.11 inflammatory states and caloric restriction: possible interventions to slow the aging processes Two new areas of research have emerged in recent years—into the role of inflammation in aging and the possible benefits against aging offered by caloric restriction—that could lead to new understanding of the possibilities of living better and longer. Foods with the highest content of this vitamin are liver. when the ingestion of calcium through diet is absorbed and is able to contribute effectively to the consolidation of bone density. fish oils (especially cod liver oil). and the elimination of alcohol—as well as a healthy lifestyle marked by moderate physical activity. a diminished cutaneous synthesis. And in adulthood and during old age. sodium chloride. increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. The risk factors we have discussed repeatedly here also contribute to the loss of calcium: excessive consumption of animal proteins.

In other words. In this context. inflammation caused by diet) is one of the interpretative bases for the origin of a diverse array of chronic diseases. Cells. Certain studies that have been done on telomeres show that there is a relation between the length of the telomeres and the onset of chronic diseases. Recent scientific research has studied the link between chronic disease and the state of low-level. that is to say. Longterm silent inflammation accelerates consumption of the body’s repair capacity and thus the onset of chronic diseases. produce an inflammatory state in the blood and tissues that can intensify the repair processes and lead to their early exhaustion. are no longer able to reproduce correctly. it dies. Other diseases and health conditions. increasing attention to telomeres on the part of the mass reader- .longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 223 age. in the past few years studies have emerged that also indicate that dietary models can have a positive or negative influence on these inflammatory responses. This failure to replicate and thus replace the worn-out reparative cells leads to the progressive onslaught of inflammatory and degenerative phenomena such as arteriosclerosis. While it is known. These cells can exhaust their capacity to replicate—and therefore their reparative potential—earlier or later in the course of life. depending on a number of factors. The potential longevity of any individual is closely tied to the proper functioning of the cells that protect against damage and repair it when it occurs. the process takes place in the following manner: every time that a cell is duplicated. the telomeres (the terminal region of the chromosomes). it loses a sequence of telomeres. Some degenerative chronic diseases can stem from a progressive incapacity to deal with conditions of continual inflammation and the progressive failure to repair the damage. and has been known for many years. Those studies make clear that the dietary model adopted can either benefit or impair the body’s inflammatory responses. The cumulative effect of this damage is a decline of many physiological functions and the vital structures of the organism itself. In summary. such as diabetes and obesity. Moreover. This too can translate into a shortening of life expectancy. and they therefore age and die. therefore. in a more direct link. non-painful “silent” inflammation generated by the adoption of unhealthy dietary models. When the cell runs out of telomere sequences. which serve the function of preventing the loss of information during the phase in which chromosomes are duplicated in the wake of cellular reproduction—a phase that takes place during the reparative processes—are reduced in length until they are no longer able to carry out their protective function toward the chromosomes. it seems to emerge from some studies that cellular inflammation (even “silent” inflammation. reducing longevity and quality of life. that injuries or microbial attacks were the cause of inflammatory responses on the part of the organism.

becomes one of the interpretative bases for the origin of a diverse array of chronic diseases. inasmuch as these levels of inflammation. that is. “Silent” cellular inflammation. below the threshold of pain.224 eating planet ship can be detected in recent years. As we stated above. that is. aging is not inevitably associated with the onset of chronic diseases. which are the leading cause of death in rodents. require “repair actions” by the organism. These studies have found that caloric restriction can help prolong life in conditions of optimal health. The second area of research has to do with the effects on the body’s physiology and biochemistry of reducing intake of calories while maintaining intake of the necessary nutrients. caloric restriction (without malnutrition) has proven to be a powerful intervention for slowing the aging process and increasing life span in many species. The level of inflammation deriving from the adoption of improper diet would appear to be “low” level. the greater the frequency and intensity with which the telomeres are summoned to make repairs. and therefore not perceptible. and the greater the speed with which they are shortened to the point of running out entirely. caloric restriction drastically reduces (up to a maximum of 60 percent) the risk of developing cancers. Many studies are currently under way in an attempt to understand the metabolic and molecular mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon.57 Moreover. The diet adopted by individuals in a population becomes a determinant factor in the care and treatment of inflammatory states produced by conditions of obesity. (1993). it seems to emerge from some studies that dietary models too can have positive or negative influences on the organism’s inflammatory responses.56 For instance. and the presence of cardiovascular diseases. in mammals. caloric restriction and longevity. since researchers first began associating them with the aging process. the studies that have been carried out on telomeres demonstrate that there is a relationship between the length of the telomeres and the onset of chronic diseases.58 approximately 28 percent of rodents on a regimen of caloric restriction die a natural death at an advanced age without any significant anatomopathological lesions. while only 6 percent of the rodents who ate as much as they wanted died without any pathology. as shown by studies done by Shimokawa et al. .54 diabetes. In a more direct linkage. In fact. and that it is possible to live a long life without getting sick. which are in turn linked to lifestyle and diet. triggered by the kind of dietary model adopted. and those actions involve telomeres in a primary role. These data suggest that. then.55 Hundreds of studies on experimental animals have shown that caloric restriction prevents or slows the onset of most of the chronic diseases associated with aging and prolongs the average and maximum life span by as much as 50 percent. In general terms.

This research. and studies done on human beings. Nature. The fact that mechanisms of cell repair are maintained in good functioning condition throughout our entire lifespan has a great deal to do with our overall life expectancy and quality of life. high arterial blood pressure. Inside our bodies. The first piece of important information to emerge from the project is the fact that aging processes affect each of us. It is not yet known whether such a diet can slow aging in humans as well. chimpanzees. but rather to live better. The objective is not just to live longer. insulinemia.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 225 The mechanisms underlying the anti-aging effect of caloric restriction are complex and not entirely clear. has shown that a 30-percent reduction of caloric intake over 20 years in chimpanzees is capable of reducing mortality from cancer and cardiovascular diseases by 50 percent. anemia. in a sense. such as osteoporosis. But studies conducted on a group of volunteers who allowed themselves to be subjected to a regimen of caloric restriction with optimal nutrition for a period of roughly eight years (consuming at least 100 percent of the recommended levels for every nutrient) showed significant reductions of the leading factors of cardiovascular risk. research on the inflammation. and amenorrhoea. and certain hormones and growth factors. during caloric reduction the organism slows the aging processes and focuses on the systems assigned to repair damage. reduction of body temperature and sensitivity to cold. carotid artery intima and media thickness. once we emerge from the age of growth. for now.12 recommendations This in-depth exploration of food and longevity captures current scientific knowledge about the linkage between proper diet and life expectancy in good health conditions. . it is necessary to emphasize that excessive caloric restriction could also involve risks of serious health damage. inflammation. glycemia.) For the time being. immune deficiency. In general terms. libido reduction. infertility. linkage and on caloric restriction is not conclusive. the processes of cell regeneration are constantly active. sarcopenia. places itself on a “stand-by” and “protection” footing if it perceives the absence of nutrition. and it is premature to extend the results of the former to the latter. 4. (However. remains at the current threshold of scientific medicine. There are important differences between studies done on cells and on animals. Does it work in humans? A recent study of our genetic near-relatives. paradoxically from the day of our birth. And the researchers saw a significant slowing in the atrophy of certain areas of the study chimpanzees’ brains. These particular chimpanzees were also completely protected against obesity and diabetes.

as well as on the prevention of the diseases mentioned above. according to a systematic logic—new approaches for the transmission of the scientific knowledge available in the field of diet and health. and private companies must make an intense effort to communicate effectively. the topic of caloric restriction. Governments. the medical industry.” But that’s not all. Diet has an influence on the multiple processes that underlie aging and the processes of cellular inflammation. This includes the mechanisms of aging and cell repair. and further studies on those dietary models that are already providing us with significant findings in the prevention of chronic diseases and prolonging healthy lives. So if we were looking for a slogan to capture this wisdom.” points on diet and nutrition and longevity • encourage the further exploration of available scientific knowledge on the relationship between diet and health. • structure social and health care policies and interventions so as to promote the spread of healthy dietary behaviors. There are lifestyles that constitute a form of insurance for an adulthood and advanced old age in good health conditions: it is necessary that people be able to access an adequate level of information on the subject. in order to allow that knowledge to be translated into concrete interventions capable of having a real impact on the behaviors of individuals. • encourage the spread of proper information and dietary education in order to promote the adoption of adequate dietary habits and lifestyles. . scientific societies. it has become increasingly clear that those mechanisms are heavily influenced by diet and lifestyle. It is necessary to find—with the coordinated contributions of all the subjects involved. which are a crucial factor in the acceleration of the aging process. the relationships between genes and nutrients and diseases.226 eating planet In turn. with a view to the best international practices in the field. we should also add “Eat well today to live better and longer tomorrow too. it might be “Eat well today to live better today.

She is a writer and a university professor. it’s just one product. Foods are not cigarettes. She is also a visiting professor at the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. buses. it took aggressive action on the part of government to implement such policies. and What to Eat (2003). To these must be added anti-smoking policies that raise taxes. She is the author of Food Politics (2002). and don’t seem to be able to reach us in our daily life.interviews | food for health 227 interview companies must behave responsibly Marion Nestle Recent authoritative studies have clearly shown the impor‑ tance of prevention within health policies.” And nobody wants to put the food industry out of business. and forbid smoking in schools. . The message has to be “eat less” or “eat this instead of that. some more effective than others. prototypical public health measure—turning off the Broad Street pump to prevent the spread of cholera—was an environmental change. And the ultimate goal of anti-smoking advocates is to put cigarette companies out of business. topics linked to prevention tend to remain on the theoretical plane more than on the practical one. How can we overcome these prob‑ lems? And what are the most adequate prevention policies and best practices in this area? It is no trouble to think of many examples of prevention policies that are highly effective in public life. Food Politics received many awards. Safe Food (2003). put warning labels on cigarette packages. and stop marketing junk food as healthy or targeting children. With cigarette smoking. regulating the food environment or personal choice presents different kinds of challenges. But in all of these cases. The message is simple: stop. This is a new area of regulation and in the United States Marion Nestle is one of the most respected nutritionists in the world. Food Studies. The classic. Water chlorination. We just want companies to behave better. and policies to change the food environment or personal eating behavior are necessarily more complicated. The big one is how to influence what people eat and how much they eat. and fluoridation to prevent tooth decay are other such measures. Therefore. But I’m guessing that you are more interested in policies that change personal behavior. Laws that require automobile drivers and riders to wear seat belts and cyclists to wear helmets are obvious examples. and Public Health (the department she chaired from 1988-2003) and Professor of Sociology at New York University. These aim to prevent illness or harm in one of two ways: changing the environment or changing personal behavior. It did not depend on personal behavior. and airplanes have made it so expensive or inconvenient to smoke that many people have stopped. That brings us to food and obesity. She is the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition. But people have to eat. Despite this. offices. And many countries have food safety laws. make healthier products. she specializes in the issues of food policy and dietary choices.

Measures like these are strongly opposed by the food industry and it has been difficult for regulatory agencies to make much progress. Among the following subjects of study / frontiers of knowledge. prepare. cook it well. the concrete possibility does exist to make a note‑ worthy improvement in our level of understanding of the dynamics between food and health. Large food portions are a major influence on calorie intake (larger portions have more calories!) and much attention is now focused on ways to encourage restaurants to reduce serving sizes. also in the future? Education. Nonetheless. just as expected. Some schools have introduced gardens to teach children to plant. Food companies spend billions of dollars a year to encourage sales of their products. which in your opinion are the most significant in the food‑health equation. For both adults and children. is only the first step in helping to improve behavior. And we do not yet know whether these kinds of actions will help reverse obesity. As an advertising executive once explained to me. I wish they would also improve regulation of health claims on food labels. as any student of health education will tell you. much of it on television but increasingly on electronic media. These. harvest. and incentive programs for choosing more fruits and vegetables. so much so that food marketing has become part of the daily environment and is not consciously noticed. The patrimony of scientific knowledge regarding nutrition is already very extensive and continues to grow. The more forward-thinking programs are making efforts to source the food locally. Given rising rates of obesity. much of today’s food movement focuses on reforming school meals. the objective of nutrition education .228 eating planet we are now experimenting with such measures as calorie labeling. it must begin in early childhood. and introduce children to a wide range of food tastes and flavors. Environmental interventions tend to be far more effective. education programs must counter the effects of food marketing. and eat food. environmental interventions seem well worth trying.” If so. as they do not depend on personal choice. Government agencies are exploring ways to regulate food advertising directed at children and front-of-package logos that indicate nutritional quality. soda taxes. grow. But if we do try to make education be effective. The goals of the movement are to introduce healthier food into school meals. came more and more to resemble fast food. People of every age are exposed to food advertisements all day long. Food marketing is not supposed to be noticed. especially among children. “marketing is supposed to slip below the radar of critical thinking. In the United States. Early evidence from such experiments suggests that children exposed to these kinds of programs do indeed eat better and exhibit greater interest in a variety of foods. over the years. as a means of teaching them where food comes from.

because education is aimed at changing personal behavior which is too hard for most people to do. and cafes in bookstores. Income inequality underlies most health problems. What you really want is to change the food environment to make it easier for people to make healthier food choices. alas. Getting people to stop smoking required policies that made cigarettes expensive. vending machines in schools. We know that communication alone is not going to make much of a difference unless its messages come with substantial changes to the food environment. I like to add one more precept: get political. With that said. candy at the checkout counters of business supply and clothing stores. it is essential to ensure that everyone in the population has enough food to support life. But before getting to that message. regardless of their effects on health. of course). Telling people not to smoke cigarettes did nothing to change smoking patterns. but the basic “eat less” message is essential. and socially unacceptable. Noticing how food is marketed is the first step to learning how to resist it. we have to help create a food environment that supports healthier food choices. Governments should do all they can to discourage frequent consumption of snack foods and sugared drinks. If people throughout the world are to eat less and eat better.interviews | food for health 229 clearly must be to teach critical thinking about food marketing in all its dimensions: advertisements. “Eat better” also confronts a food industry determined to sell highly profitable processed foods and drinks. Given that obesity is now a global problem. What actions do you think should be undertaken to improve communication processes and encourage people to adopt lifestyles and dietary behavior in line with available scientific knowledge? Communication? I don’t see that as fixing the problem. This requires serious attention to inequalities in income and the widening gap between the incomes of rich and poor. difficult to use. Eating less. They should ensure that every child is fed adequately and healthfully . What is currently known about nutrition is already sufficient to create a massive. Environmental changes are much more likely to be effective. product placements in supermarkets. That is why worldwide efforts to prevent obesity must focus on regulation of food marketing. messages and policy changes will have to be tailored to the particular food culture of each country. pervasive and scientifically unassailable communication campaign on a global scale that could lead to saving a very high number of human lives and improve the quality of life on our planet. the basic message for preventing obesity is quite simple: eat less (and move more. is very bad for business. but also eat better. especially to children. and health. growth. But let’s get back to “eat less” as essential for preventing obesity.

230 eating planet in school. Improving food environments to promote health will benefit individuals and populations and will help reduce the financial and societal burdens of obesityrelated chronic diseases on governments that can ill afford them. . They should establish agricultural policies that encourage production and consumption of vegetables and other plant foods and variety in food intake. but discourage consumption of highly processed food products.

Parents. often arrange for and provide the necessary equipment for children to participate in organized sports. She is also the director of the Clinical and Communit y Research Core at the Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center. such as adolescence and pregnancy. or “spokes-characters” on any curricula or other educational materials. family rules around what. Her chief area of research has to do with the epidemiology of obesity. When schools prepare and serve food to students. and regional or national policies. school personnel. opportunities for free play are in the domain of family life. with parents responsible for serving food that is healthy and appetizing and children responsible for how much of it is eaten. with a special focus on the effects of obesity in critical periods of life. Parents are definitely key given that they determine what food comes into the home. For different reasons. Children may eat breakfast. so that as much as half the child’s intake may occur in the school setting.) involved in caring for children at differ‑ ent times of the day. In the policy arena. community values. lunch. one must also consider the impact of culture. some schools have banned vending machines on school premises and limit the kinds of foods that are sold à la carte in the cafeteria. family.interviews | food for health 231 interview the responsibility for children must be shared Aviva Must Guaranteeing correct eating habits for children and adolescents would seem necessarily to involve a joint effort with the con‑ tribution of a number of players (school. In the US. Schools should consider policies that ban use of any product names. etc. family and school would appear to be the main players in an effective effort of teaching correct eating habits. high-quality nutritious balanced meals and snacks should be the only kind of meals and snacks served. and a snack at school. and where food may be eaten. those who are closest to the child. when. schools no longer teach cooking skills as part of secondary school curricula— although it would take a lot to bring it back. where she is also the department chair. sports groups. it deserves serious consideration: the lack of cooking skills represents a important impediment to healthful eat- . With respect to family. Schools are important reinforcing environments and school policies can directly influence child food intake. pediatricians. and how treats are handled. In addition to these important players. I certainly agree that instilling healthful eating habits in children and adolescents is a shared responsibility. alongside the pediatricians. For younger children. It is useful to think about child feeding as a shared responsibility. logos. What actions are necessary to promote cooperation among the various players involved in different ways in child nutrition? Aviva Must is a professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. and health care providers. coordination throughout the different settings children find themselves in is essential. especially before adolescence.

and opportunities for physical activity should be established. partially due to women entering their childbearing years at higher weights. as part of preventive care. So. where increasingly youth prepare their own meals. regardless of their sports prowess. use of the television. and the potential consequences of serious health problems persisting in adults (increased risk of chronic diseases). Healthcare providers also should adhere to weight screening guidelines. turning the television off at mealtimes. High-quality physical education instruction should emphasize development of skills for a lifetime and insures that all students participate. guidelines develop- . Children are born with higher weights. and working on the computer). By asking questions about what complementary foods are being fed. In afterschool settings. physical activity patterns. such as eating meals together. policies around food served. As the child grows older. Although this latter association is not fully established. screen time (time spent viewing television. and not allowing a television in a child’s bedroom. whether the family eat meals together. what liquids are put into the baby’s bottle. starting in infancy.232 eating planet ing at home. it may reflect the mother child feeding relationship where the breastfed infant controls intake more than the bottle-fed infant. what actions can be or have been put in the field successfully to promote the spread of correct eating habits and lifestyles from the earliest years? The rise in numbers of obese and overweight children has occurred across all of the stages of childhood. In childcare settings. From the first well-baby visits. the pediatrician plays a central role in teaching mothers how to feed their child. which in the US call for annual screening of weight using BMI (weight in kilograms/height in meters squared). During the early years of life some data suggest that children who are breast-fed are more open to a variety of food flavors and less likely to be overweight later in childhood. considerations with respect to food served and physical activity are important as well. playing video games. The pediatrician serves an important role as a trusted source of health-related information to parents. and whether the toddler is permitted to walk around carrying the bottle the pediatrician learns about parental behaviors on which to counsel. healthcare providers should ask about eating habits. Physical activity during the school day. In view of the increasing number of obese and overweight children from the earliest years of life. in class or at recess may represent as much as half of the physical activity the child engages in daily. one promising area for intervention is women before they become pregnant. there must be a mechanism to ensure that policies are being followed. In the home setting. Once established. Health care providers can encourage healthy family behaviors.

with the food industries to promote healthy dietary habits and lifestyles from the earliest years of life? I agree with the premise that the agrifood industry has a major role to play— and one that is both possible and necessary. Foods could be reformulated to be less energy dense. the Dietary Guidelines are developed for individuals over the age of 2— guidelines for children younger than two. Unfortunately.interviews | food for health 233 ment and their wide promulgation would help inform parents of young children about their role in ensuring healthful eating for the very young. Policies around limits for screen time and for physical activity for the very young would also be welcome. in your opinion. especially restriction of sugar-sweetened beverages. The marketing of low nutrient dense foods to children is an industry practice that runs counter to health and should be restricted. there are economic disincentives to many of the best ideas. For example. The consumer would quickly adjust to less sweetness. the soft drink industry might reduce the amount of sweetener in all sugar-sweetened beverages. In the US. . In recent years we have become more and more aware that the agrifood industry has a role that is both possible and necessary in contributing actively to the develop‑ ment of products and offers coherent with the information we have about correct dietary habits and lifestyles for children and adolescents. What actions can be iden‑ tified and coordinated. One would like to see the industry make a business commitment to health—elevating the manufacture of healthful products to be a key criterion for their activities. In terms of food processing. would represent a beneficial first step. the addition of key nutrients to otherwise unhealthy foods is a trend that may fail to deliver expected benefits as consumers no longer can distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods in the context of an everincreasing number of choices and variations. more nutrient-dense and of more appropriate portion size. just as they adjusted to greater sweetness.

The paper is based on a sophisticated study which concludes that “the difference between USA and Europe would disappear if prevalence of obesity in the US would be the same as in Europe. But. It does not make sense. even more than that for most of the developed world—into a major problem of the 21st century. a senior advisor to the President on Global Ageing at the New York Academy of Medicine. are we sure that living longer is living better? Alexandre Kalache is one of the leading world experts on issues linked to aging. He was the director of the Department of Ageing and Life-Course at the World Health Organization (WHO) from 2004 to 2008. He is president of the International Longevity Centre (Brazil). To illustrate this point I refer to a paper by the Canadian researcher PC Michaud and collaborators from both sides of the Atlantic. and over the last decade overweight and obesity have exploded. In 2002 he established the Active Ageing Policy Framework. Important gains of recent decades are already clearly under threat. Nonetheless. . Although the earlier an individual is when healthy life styles are adopted. with special reference to the care and treatment of the elderly and the epidemiology of aging. This caused a significant increase in medical costs. and introduced the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. contemporane‑ ous with this. The study also suggests that policies to reverse unhealthy behaviour are particularly critical among middle aged individuals. We are indeed facing the serious risk of turning the greatest achievement of the 20th century—an increase of more than 30 years in life expectancy at birth worldwide.234 eating planet interview lifestyles influence the way we age Alex Kalache In industrialized countries. Policies and interventions to ensure good health and quality of life as individuals age are urgently required. Americans are now living 18 months less than their European counterparts despite the fact that the US spends more than twice as much on health-care as a percentage of GNP. This paper shows that in the 1970s the USA led the world in terms of life expectancy at birth yet four decades later LEB in the USA lags behind European countries of comparable socio-economic development. the better. as well as for Brazil’s federal government in Brasilia.” The authors emphasize that inneficiency in the American health care system is not a factor. considering the different concepts of lifespan & health span. cardiovascular disease and cancer have continued to emerge. middle age is the threshold to yield major health gains. average life expectancy has increased sharply thanks to the constant improvement in medical care and important scientific discoveries. the director of the International Centre for Policies on Ageing in Rio de Janeiro. published in the prestigious Journal of Social Sciences and Medicine last July. starting from the beginning of the 20th century. and a consultant to the municipal and state governments in Rio de Janeiro and Saõ Paulo. when they are around 50 years old. diseases such as diabetes. while a general change in lifestyles goes ahead. Americans are not dying earlier because their health system fails them but because of their prevailing life-style.

Over the last few decades study after study confirm the importance of our behaviour in relation to ageassociated diseases. taking away billions of dollars from the public sector which could be otherwise used in interventions and policies (such as education. Although studies using animal models suggest substantial life extension through reduction in the amount of calories ingested. shows that virtually half of the adult population is now overweight. As soon as socio-economic levels reach a certain threshold this is followed by a spree of over-consuption of food in parallel to the adoption of sedentary life-styles. Take for instance what is already happenning in developing countries as varied as Brazil. Equivalent figures in the 1970s . However.interviews | food for health 235 While living longer does not necessarily mean living better. environmental. Modern‑day theories indicate there could be a common source to the various non‑ communicable diseases: gradual cell inflammation that then manifests itself in actual pathologies. thus slowing aging in individuals. The problem is how to implement sustainable policies. it seems that American are not only living shorter lifes but also worse lifes. Diseases associated with obesity—such as diabetes. The very fact that obesity has become such a major public health problem throughout the world shows that humans are inclined to eat more than they need—and to burn less calories than they should. In addition. How to reduce inflammation with the adoption of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyles? While we do not yet fully understand the process of biological ageing there is no doubt that life styles affect it in important ways. Mexico. Jamaica. in the absence of major intervention to invert recent trends. Numerous studies currently underway demonstrate that an approach which reduces caloric intake constitutes a powerful weapon in reducing inflammation. osteomuscular problems. Similar results might extend human life span to 150 years or more. they are still to be confirmed in humans. Obesity is both taking years from their lives but also negatively impacting their quality of life. Gradual cell inflammation seems to be at the core of the pathogenic mechanism. available evidence in these studies suggest that the calorie reductions might have to be at levels that would not be easily accepted by a large majority of the population. India and the Phillippines. unhealthy diets and excessive consumption of alcohol. cardiovascular disorders and some forms of cancer—not only lead to premature death but also to many years of suffering through morbidity and disability. they substantially add to health care costs. some 15% of them obese. tobacco smoking. recreational) that would be translated into better quality of life for the population as a whole. Control of four modifiable risk factors for non-communicable disease would lead to a huge decrease in their morbidity and mortality: sedentary life-styles. Most recently available data for Brazil for example.

moderate to high intake of fish. the second of the pillars of the Active Ageing concept. unrefined cereals. moderate intake of dairy products. For instance. in some cultures cooking styles are not healthy to begin with—for instance. high in fat (fried food). This implies a life course approach: the earlier one starts to invest on one’s own health. participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as individuals age. prohibiting trans-saturated fats or the provision of sugary drinks at school meals). salt and. Changes in life-style that are more acceptable to the population at large should be pursued with more vigour. This would require a combination of marketing research—to ascertain what are the healthy behavioural preferences of the population as well as how to encourage them—with fiscal and legal policies that would sustain effective policies. In addition. moderate intake . Compare that with the Mediterranean diet (high intakes of olive oil. Pre‑ vention from the earliest years of life and change in lifestyle as adults (by which is intended eating habits and physical activity) has become an approach that can no longer be put off. and made sustainable throughout the life course. high calory/low nutrient food as well as overly-aggressive marketing strategies conspire to cause children to acquire unhealthy diets early in life. for healthy aging? The World Health Organization defines “Active Ageing” as the process of optimizing the opportunities for health. low consuption of meat and. often. security: a system that should be there in place to ensure that those who do not age in good health will receive the adequate protection and care so that they continue to have some quality of life however low is their residual level of functional capacity (independence). for instance. Health is the central pillar (to which “lifelong learning should be added) through which to guarantee participation. the easy availability of cheap. a “white diet” based on refined carbohydrates. This is easier said than done. From the nutritional point of view—and coherent with the active ageing approach—healthy diets should be encouraged as early as possible. Today. showing how fast negative trends are achieved. the higher the health capital for life. alcohol. research to find out which health food is more easily accepted by the population (marketing campaigns through the media) at affordable prices (fiscal policies decreasing taxes for fruits and vegetables) while creating barriers to discourage unhealthy items (legal policies. refined sugar.236 eating planet and 1980s were at a fraction of these. from a nutritional point of view. it is no longer enough to merely aim at living longer without also living well: quality of life is an indispensable factor that no one wants to give up. Finally. What are your suggestions. fruits and vegetables. the emergence of fast and sugary food.

Policies and interventions aimed at promoting and sustaining healthy diets should be followed from as early as possible in life—but not neglected later in middle age or dismissed in older age with the wrong assertion that “it is too late”. Inevitably. some cultures predispose one to good dietary decisions while others induce one to a bad start. studies recently conduct by Professor Ng Tze Pin. little meat. virtually no eggs or diary products). from Singapore. fibers. In this respect. etc—but also demonstrating that there are other food ingedients that may well protect individuals from senile dementia later in life— such as green tea (polyphenols) or yellow curries (basic ingredients.interviews | food for health 237 of wine) or the Okinawan diet (low calories and fat. high consumption of soya beans and other legumes. low fat. have shown that the importance of “health eating for healthy brains”—not only through high intakes of fruits and vegetables. small to moderate consumption of fish. high consumption of green and yellow vegetables. tumeric and cumin) possess strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflamatory properties) .

vegetables. and metabolic syndrome. the adoption of a balanced diet. encourage good behaviors and lifestyles from childhood on for better adult health The findings in favor of the exceptional importance of a proper dietary regimen from the earliest age appear to be undeniable. health does not seem to be improving at the same rate: about 80 percent of elderly people (over age 65) suffer . with a view to channeling proper dietary information and the promotion of a culture of prevention. We must also encourage cooperation among the various subjects involved (including the food industry) in shaping the diets of young people. salt. such as the Mediterranean diet— with a low content of sugars. and continuous advances in medical and healthcare technologies. and intense linkage between lifestyles and health and. pediatricians. from the earliest phases of our lives. and cereal grains—significantly reduces the negative factors that cause diseases. medical and scientific discoveries. rising from 45 years at the end of the nineteenth century to about 80 years in 2010. These results are the product of improvements in living conditions. diabetes. Specifically. There is clearly a high correlation between poor behaviors and diet in the early years of life and the onset of diseases in adulthood. direct. It is clear that we must encourage the further exploration of scientific knowledge concerning childhood. cardiocirculatory diseases.238 eating planet action plan adopt a balanced diet and an active lifestyle There exists an evident. obesity. diet and nutrition play a decisive role. states of infirmity in individuals and. which has been less thoroughly studied than adulthood. in the context of individual choices. physicians. in some cases. and a high content of fruits. tumors. at the same time and in parallel. Despite the prolonged average life span. Ensuring sound ways of eating in children and adolescents will require a concerted group effort by the numerous actors (school. premature death. the adoption of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. and the dietary industry) who take care of children at different points throughout the day. fats. In brief. maintain an adequate diet throughout your life Over the last hundred years life expectancy at birth has almost doubled. family. the risks of overweight. can help minimize.

Therefore. a widespread old age characterized by a sub-optimal average quality of life. longer. for a significantly longer period of time. This may mean studying fields that are particularly innovative.action plan | food for health 239 from at least one chronic disease and about 50 percent suffer from two or more chronic diseases. . as well as the benefits that can be obtained through regimes of caloric restriction with optimal nutrition. In the face of a steady increase of life expectancy and the dramatic rise in the spread of the leading chronic diseases. such as the link between states of inflammation and the onset of chronic diseases. what is needed is not so much to find a way of living longer but actions to live better. for the first time in modern history. it is probable that humanity will soon experience.

13 5.9 5.10 5.6 5.12 5.7 The Relationship Between Food and Culture: the Origins How Food Contributes to Communication and Conviviality Delight and Disgust: the Cultural Classification of the Edible Food: Social.8 5.table of contents introduction Food for Peace—a Call for the Mobilization of Goodwill by Shimon Peres facts & figures the cultural dimension of food 5. Gender.15 The Salient Characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet The Mediterranean Diet and Commensality Mediterraneity Today: the Decline of a Model How to Recover the Significance of Mediterraneity interviews We Must Construct a Culture of Responsibility by Joaquín Navarro-Valls Whoever Controls Food Controls Democracy by Vandana Shiva The Consumer Culture War and the Food System: What Does This Mean for the Mediterranean Model? by Michael Heasman action plan .14 5.1 5.11 The Great Culinary Traditions Food Today: Challenges and Perspectives Toward a New Vision of Nutrition Guidelines for Redefining Man’s Relationship with Food the mediterranean culture: the value of a lifestyle and a culinary tradition 5. and Power Roles The Symbolic Value of Foods in the Major Religious Faiths Food Prohibitions: Food and Purity Food and Culture: an Indissoluble Bond the great culinary traditions and the reality of food today 5.5 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.

and their evolution. including the Mediterranean diet. 5. . food for culture Food for Culture explores the relationship between man and food. We highlight the great food traditions. focusing on the importance of recovering its cultural value in the world we now live in. Particular attention is given to behaviors linked to food and the need to rediscover aspects of conviviality around eating.

expectations also grow. desertification is spreading and people are becoming bitter. With the growing population. He was prime minister from ity. and therefore the main concern was territory— activist. breaking down barriers. public administrator poverty and pointing to a tomorrow of hope and prosperand parliamentarian. food consumption Prize in 1994 together with Israeli prime minisincreases. Like a new and fresh wind they are blowing away bor1984 to 1986 and from ders. The Middle East lives in a state of tension. In other words. thinker and Zionist was land. Politician. Today. he was tion growth that presented new issues that call for new awarded the Nobel Peace answers. Water is declining. I cannot help but be reminded of John F.” the President of Israel Generations ago the source of livelihood and food supply since June 2007. Shimon Peres has enclosed by borders and based on an economy that was held major positions of national. Kennedy’s words which encapsulate the very essence of the role of food in our global society: “Food is strength and food is peace and food is freedom and food is helping people around the world whose goodshimon peres has been will and friendship we want. their influ1995 to 1996. and in particuand reduce child-mortality. like today’s economy. food for peace has become a crucial and burning issue that needs to be urgently addressed. It is easier to promise dreams than to realize them. and in the global era. erasing distances. overcoming man. it is easier to produce children than to produce food for them. ter Yitzhak Rabin and Yasand finding the right answers to meet the surging demand ser Arafat. of his long-term commitment to the peace Science enabled us to have a longer life expectancy process. science and technology have replaced land responsibility within the state of Israel as statesas our source of livelihood and food supply.242 eating planet 5. It has been subject to conflict and . But the answers are few. food for culture Food for Peace—a Call for the Mobilization of Goodwill Shimon Peres. President of the State of Israel In today’s changing world. Because ence is global. for food is of the essence. which has led to a populalar thanks to the start of the Oslo Accords.

has proven this point. augmenting clean energy. poverty is more dangerous than anything else. a minuscule country with practically no natural resources. and we can improve on this. . And my greatest hope is that we shall succeed in combining both these elements to meet the need for food. So we look upon science as a provider of food and existence. above nationalities. meager water supplies. With little land. There is no limit to human potential. As a result. and without a drop of oil. developing plants that require little water. Israel’s agriculture is based more on technology than on land and water. goodwill and volunteers with this in mind have to be mobilized to work together towards a common goal. is all a matter of experience which we would be glad to share with everyone. Israel. above prejudice. we had no choice but to give up the cultivation of land and replace it with the cultivation of hi-tech. and recycling water for home consumption and agricultural use that boosts food supply. With the power of innovation. It needs prosperity and well-being for its people. It needs peace. because in our view. we can attain a better quality of life. with hopes and dreams. And for this. His Excellency Shimon Peres. Let us plant the seeds of innovation into the soil of human potential and we shall feed the children of the Middle East. at the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Forum in December 2009 and the Villa d’Este Conference in September 2011. placing it as a priority above borders. Decreasing waterconsumption. we have increased our yearly crops by twenty using little water. It needs food for its children. Matching the potential of water and land with the potential of science is a promise for the future. Today it needs a hopeful tomorrow.introduction | food for culture 243 war.* * Quoted from the addresses of the President of the State of Israel. Only 23% of the surface of the globe is being cultivated agriculturally. and of the world. By placing food above politics. countries can overcome deserts.

  food for culture CHOOSE FOODS CONSCIOUSLY Humans have remarkable capacities for recognizing and memorizing. rituals. individuals based their food choices on culture and traditions that preserve the flavor and experience of countless “tasters” who went before them. regulations. and traditions. recipes. All of this allows human beings to avoid being faced on a daily basis with “the omnivore’s dilemma” Fairer food means that we have a responsibility for our weaker neighbors. Aside from their senses and memories.244 eating planet 5. GREATER FAIRNESS IN THE WORLD THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA Culture codifies the rules of a wise diet with a complex series of taboos. that wet value food as a means of peaceful coexistence among peoples. and that we find ways to establish socio-economic equilibriums through the phases of production . and these skills help people to avoid poisons and to find the most nutritious foods.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CULINARY TRADITIONS FIGHTING OBESITY AND FOOD‑BASED PATHOLOGIES Eating has become a banal experience. and conviviality. taste. more meaningful relationship with food. we are witnessing the progressive abandonment of the gastronomical traditions of the past. where the relationship with the things we eat is restored to the dimension of esthetics. leading to the epidemic of obesity and diseases linked to obesity Currently.facts & figures | food for culture 245 REDISCOVERING THE PLEASURE OF FOOD The great challenge of our time is to redevelop a deeper. as well as the loss of knowledge about cooking and the makeup of food . richer.

Whether we’re talking about picking a piece of fruit or killing prey for food. For eons. was eaten raw. the cooked implies a transition that is at once cultural and social. food. and drying (food and clothing). fire gave rise to progressive cultural developments of enormous importance. the human relationship with the environment that surrounds us has always been transformative. In the words of Claude LéviStrauss. Used for heat. In the same period. while the raw is natural in origin. rotten. . as the psychologist Paul Rozin puts it. What was perhaps the most problematic aspect of life (the hunt for food) was transformed from a critical challenge into an opportunity. Roaming the landscape in search of food. early humans sought survival through two principal practices: hunting and the collection of any and all possible edible objects. and even putrefying. that imperative required protection from harsh climatic environments and the ability to turn to one’s own advantage the perpetual contest to eat. 5. We are all familiar with that process. fish. As early as the Paleolithic era humans had discovered and begun to use fire.2 embody the dietary wisdom of populations and their respective cultures. From this transition onward.000 years ago. especially in the realm of diet and nutrition. protection. Cooking then symbolically marks a transition between nature and culture.1 cooking food with fire is “the invention that made humans human. given the fact that. and create shelters. have interacted with nature on the basis of one dominant imperative: survival. The use of fire was a decisive turning point.246 eating planet the cultural dimension of food Ever since the earliest times humans. long before the adoption of agriculture some 15. like every other species on the planet. Our capacity to manipulate nature passed a crucial milestone with the discovery of fire. Continually exposed to the danger of becoming food themselves. defend themselves. food becomes a point of departure for the extraordinary social and cultural developments that followed. light. our ancestors developed increasingly sophisticated abilities to manipulate nature. they also devised a growing number of tools and weapons— first in stone.” Before we learned about cooking. hunter-gatherer humans were endowed with considerable brainpower and an exploratory curiosity to match. It is not far-fetched to argue that the history of man’s relationship with food has been an extraordinary social and cultural saga of a quest for meaning. National cuisines.1 the relationship between food and culture: the origins Physically ill-equipped in comparison with other animals. but not be eaten. especially meat. and also between nature and society. later in metal—to hunt. signaling.

This is also true among the modern populations of hunter-gatherers in the arctic and subarctic regions. given human being’s pitiful lack of fangs and claws and the doubtful efficiency of primitive hunting equipment. In all societies. shoots. .400 cubic centimeters. They got better at finding meat. In short. and anything else edible. […] The only way an animal with a huge. pursue the opposite strategy and consume a very selective diet. Over the course of the Paleolithic Homo erectus was replaced by Homo sapiens. but also at finding roots. where there is not much else to eat. The “culinary triangle.” for instance. must devote enormous mental energy to refining the cognitive and sensory knowledge needed to distinguish which foods—among the many available—are safe to eat. both by scavenging and by hunting.” Humankind’s first “cultural” elaborations were therefore by and large focused on the challenge of how to find food and accommodate an omnivorous propensity that was decidedly out of the ordinary. demanding brain can survive is by using the brain to figure out how to draw on a wide range of good food to get the most nutrition with the least effort. The most ancient uses of fire for cooking simply exposed food directly to the flames. the one closest to the natural order. It is part of who we are. As noted earlier. But many modern scholars believe that by far most of the hunter-gatherers of the past lived primarily on foods derived from plants. seeds. make art and music about it. eggs. and study it scientifically—a great deal. His explanation of the link between brain development and diet is different: “In my view. distinguishes among three different categories of cooked food: the roasted. cooking is deeply embedded in human culture. roasting was the first form of cooking. this notoriously small-brained animal eats only eucalyptus leaves. Nonetheless.the cultural dimension of food | food for culture 247 In some populations of hunter-gatherers. In fact. or else. the only credible theory of human dietary evolution is that the early hominids just became better and better at omnivory. and correspondingly possess much smaller brains. food was held on sticks and simply scorched or burned. so it’s no surprise that humans have developed our notions of cooking extensively. in areas near seas and rivers. Michael Pollan4 fully subscribes to this theory in his bestselling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. the diet was actually largely based on game and the consumption of meat. The koala is an extreme case. and brain size rose from about 400 cubic centimeters almost to the current size of 1. Humans. the American anthropologist Eugene Anderson3 questions the theory that this specific factor explains the inclination to hunt and eat meat. on fish and shellfish. A large brain demands an extraordinary quantity of nutrients. and the smoked. the boiled. in contrast. Other animals. That effort is an essential part of humanity’s cultural processes. we think about food—and write about it. Some populations were almost exclusively vegetarian. Pollan notes.

an experience that allowed the human species to overcome natural instinctive tensions and climb a number of steps up the ladder of cultural and social development.3 delight and disgust: the cultural classification of the edible The growing mastery of language and the higher brainpower of Homo sapiens do not imply that establishing what to eat was ever an easy choice. and water (plus a receptacle) in the other case. probably discovered by accident.” So the ability to communicate must have played a considerable role. in order to explain exactly where it was located and how many members of the group it could feed. The extent of the territory occupied by the group also expanded. in those rituals of sharing through which our ancestors managed to reverse signals of danger and transform them into the very essence of that conviviality that characterizes human social relations. but the same is true of the ability to smoke food in such a way as to extend its ability to withstand deterioration far longer than with any other method of cooking. not only because of the fear of fire. is certainly evidence of cultural evolution. Moreover. but also because in the animal kingdom direct eye contact. and been in turn rewarded. This was undoubtedly one of the ways in which language developed. from the 20 or so members typical of Homo erectus groups to the roughly 50 to 150 members common during the period of Homo sapiens. “if we add to this the idea of placing food in the middle of a group of individuals. These practices are not found among other species. smiling. 5. laughing—and eventually talking. . At the origins of what we now call conviviality were the primitive practices of sharing food around a fire by groups of human beings who sat face to face. So even the simple act of cooking. and showing teeth are typically hostile gestures. opening the mouth. Language probably also evolved in part due to the need to alleviate tensions bound up with the division of foods. In a larger territory the discovery of a food source had to be communicated in greater detail. necessary for boiling. The contemporary table and the habit of mixing food and conversation in convivial circumstances of all kinds therefore derives from an experience with ancient roots very distant in time. there is a clear recipe for conflict and violence. so did social groups begin to expand. succumbs to the human drive for cultural elaboration.2 how food contributes to communication and conviviality Food took on a very important role in the development of the earliest forms of human communication. The use of cooking utensils. 5. with different parents and children. As the human brain grew.248 eating planet Smoking food and boiling are distinguished from roasting by the inventive use of two different elements of mediation in cooking: air and smoke in one case. as noted by Lévi-Strauss.

buds. inasmuch as their dietary preferences are written in their genes. with that of animals tethered to specialized diets. shoots. but it also figures in our less primordial encounters with the putatively edible: when we’re deliberating the nutritional claims on the boxes in the cereal aisle. he finds himself dealing with two clashing feelings: neophobia. For these animals. As Pollan observes. In 1976 Rozin wrote an article titled “The Selection of Foods by Rats.the cultural dimension of food | food for culture 249 Humans and other omnivores.” This capacity for nutritional and dietary adaptation greatly assisted the evolution of the species. or choosing to observe (or flout) kosher or halal rules. “Indeed.” The concept of the omnivore’s dilemma is already present in the writings of Jean Jacques-Rousseau and Brillat-Savarin. have to devote time and study in an attempt to understand which of the countless foods offered by nature can be safely eaten. seeds.5 but it was officially singled out and identified as such by Paul Rozin. seaweed. when we’re settling on a weight-loss regimen (low fat or low carb?). on the other hand. that is. which spon- . The latter animals are untroubled by doubts about what to eat. In this process. These sentiments are completely unknown to animals with specialized diets. These animals waste no thought or emotion on deciding what to eat and what not to eat. When an omnivore encounters something new and potentially edible. by adapting to and exploiting the different types of food available. the ability to do this has allowed humans to colonize all of the Earth’s habitats. as Michael Pollan says. Omnivores. or deciding whether to sample McDonald’s’ newly reformulated chicken nugget. such as rats and human beings. dirt. Humans. and neophilia. flowers. In our case. there is probably not a nutrient source on Earth that is not eaten by some human somewhere—bugs. or weighing the costs and benefits of buying the organic strawberries over the conventional ones. bark. or determining whether or not it is ethically defensible to eat meat. the natural and instinctive mechanism functions perfectly because the digestive system is only capable of obtaining all that the organism needs from a few foods. “The omnivore’s dilemma is replayed every time we decide whether or not to ingest a wild mushroom. fungi. we are aided by our sense of taste. and fruits of plants. and Other Animals. worms. every imaginable part of every imaginable animal. but it also put humankind in constant difficulties in distinguishing the foods that were advisable to eat. For humans. unlike animals that follow a very selective diet. the fear of eating an unknown substance. constantly confront the question of whether a certain edible substance would be beneficial or harmful. the problem is acute. that is.” in which he compared the existential condition of omnivores. lichens. stems. an American psychologist working at the University of Pennsylvania. For. Humans are endowed with extraordinary abilities to distinguish and remember that help us to avoid poisons and toxins and to seek out the most nutritious foods. the desire to experience new flavors. the roots. rotten fish.

rituals. depending on the geographic region and the social group. disgust flags potentially dangerous foods. Aside from using our senses and memory in choosing foods. and that boundary is almost always defined in cultural terms. Likewise. frogs. Among human beings. As we shall see below. even among other animal species. and traditions. The hierarchy of rank establishes the rules governing access to food. Some things have the power to disgust individuals belonging to all human societies. While humans as a species are ready to gobble down almost anything that comes to hand. Humans have another advantage as omnivores too. As Rozin made clear. foods such as snails. guide a certain perception of the social body. we can rely on the culture and traditions that preserve the cumulative knowledge and experience of countless “tasters” before us. the control of food was historically one of the principal sources of power. and vice versa. a signal of a wealth of energy-packed carbohydrates. rules. which often have no underlying reasons other than the cultural development of customs and habits. But specific societies express rather idiosyncratic forms of disgust. and in .250 eating planet taneously leads us to prefer the sweet. That subdivision often includes many elements of a symbolic nature which. which is characteristic of many poisonous alkaloids synthesized by plants. and animal organs can be either hailed as delicious or considered repellent. it should be said that the various human societies tend to restrict considerably the notion of what constitutes food. Even though lionesses do the hunting themselves. disgust (a term of general meaning but etymologically derived from the nutritional and dietary concept of taste. gender. as in “gusto” and “gustatory”) is the fear of ingesting substances that might prove harmful. and power roles Access to food and nutrition—what might be called the nutritional order and hierarchy—is governed by power. recipes. 5. In the Middle Ages. the banquets of aristocratic families contrasted with endemic starvation among the peasantry. Even in Western societies. Between delight and disgust there seems to be a fairly thin line. All this allows human beings to avoid having to deal each time with the omnivore’s dilemma. Every culture tends to have its own way of dividing the world into that which can be eaten and that which cannot.4 food: social. and makes us avoid the bitter. The culture codifies the rules of wise nutrition with a complex series of taboos. the crucial meanings of these processes of classification primarily speak to the notion of purity. beginning with the physical body. they do not touch the prey until the lion has finished eating. such as stale or rotten food. What we ingest—or reject—says a great deal more than a simple dietary preference.

Markets tend to be one of the sites where people interact in urban areas. .the importance of markets The wooden ceilings of the Mercat de Santa Caterina in Barcelona. Spain. In addition to selling produce and prepared foods. markets also attract tourists and visitors since they are the perfect place to watch the local culture and economy.

often in the open air and with great ostentation. Also playing a part in that context are increasingly articulated factors of market knowledge.252 eating planet various parts of Europe those who were caught poaching in the royal reserves or the preserves of local lords were put to death. At the same time. and that in many societies this traditionally tends to place women in a subordinate position. are subtly but pervasively implicated in unequal relationships of subordination. But this relationship in terms of prestige and power can be overturned as well. however gratifying they might be for those who perform them. For instance. family-oriented style of cooking (dishes such as stews or boiled meats). Of course. Food can be a signifier of power in terms of social prestige as well. According to some. which thus reinforces the “naturalness” sensed in their deference to the needs of men and undermines any progress toward forms of food culture under the aegis of reciprocity. because boiled food frequently tends to be associated with a more intimate. tended to reproduce an ideology of their own role that was deeply reductionistic and strongly influenced by state institutions. The categories of Lévi-Strauss’s culinary triangle allow us to understand this aspect very clearly. Roasted foods. nutritional expertise. women can take pleasure from their condition of chosen preparers of homecooked food. But it is interesting to observe that the cultural perception of such forms of prestige is fairly complex. especially in the more prosperous Western societies. The comparative specialization of women in the purchase and preparation of food can in many cases represent an area of strength in their relationship with men. and what was at stake was always getting the upper hand over a certain way of producing food. foods that were generally cooked by women. On the African continent these conflicts are still under way. especially in the United States. the sociologist Marjorie DeVault points out that the female practices of providing food for the family. the pleasure of an activity that is no less intelligent and imagina- . boiled food constitutes a more evolved form and therefore communicates more refined values than roasted food. which tended to be associated with the world of males. purchasing autonomy. the role of women can also be viewed in a more positive light. and self-expression. Countless battles and wars have been waged between farmers and stockbreeders in many regions of the world. could be presented in public celebrations. the anthropologist Anne Allison emphasizes that Japanese mothers. and in some cases contradictory. A very significant example of the latter form is the barbecue. in their meticulous and dutiful preparation of the bento (the lunch-box for their pre-school-age children). on the other hand. Our understanding of these issues has been updated and expanded by socioanthropological studies that examine the relationship between food and gender. There can be no doubt that food practices give rise to countless varieties of hierarchy. In his analysis.

The importance of dietary practices as defined by religious strictures is emphasized by the fast of Ramadan. In Judaism a substantial number of the 613 mitz‑ vot (commandments or precepts) that guide the life of an observant Jew have to do with the dietary sphere and originate within important passages of the Old Testament. The symbolic role of the wine and the host in the sacrament of Eucharist (Holy Communion). 5. Islam. defining the relationship of humans with nature and partaking profoundly of sacredness. Buddhism. especially during the liturgical period of Lent. and spirituality. and Jainism—share this commitment to what is called in Sanskrit . designed to educate Muslims in the practices of patience. and religious celebrations inevitably include the relationship with food. Anderson points out that “meat is seen as involving the killing of animals. Even though the relationship with food in Christianity is a relatively free one. The third great monotheistic religion. There is no comparable set of rules about food in Christianity. rejects both the narrow strictures of Judaism and the dietary freedom of Christianity. unlike Judaism and Christianity. Jewish tradition tends to perceive in the act of nourishment a significance that educates people to make a constant series of choices and verifications.5 the symbolic value of foods in the major religious faiths As Eugene Anderson points out. there is no general distinction between foods that are permitted and foods that are prohibited. The symbolic value of foods in the major religions is impossible to overestimate. such as music. with reference to Émile Durkheim. Nonetheless. The chief limitations (less stringent than those in Judaism) also have to do with meat. ceremonies. the halal dietary tradition. and tends instead to preach an attitude of moderation in the consumption of food. modesty. represents for Christians the means of communion of souls and a form of ongoing memory of the passion of Christ.the cultural dimension of food | food for culture 253 tive than other activities that are customarily considered to have superior standing. Certain other religions are characterized in dietetic terms by the almost absolute prohibition against eating meat. which is followed by about 70 percent of all Muslims on Earth. also dictates some rules about what can be eaten and what cannot. However. a violent and anti-spiritual thing. which is based on the words uttered by Jesus during the Last Supper. some prescriptions require the faithful to restrict their consumption of meat and to engage in periods of abstinence and fasting. Islam famously forbids the consumption of alcoholic beverages.6 a great many rituals. people’s relationship with food remains a part of the dimension of the relationship with God. Moreover. at least among the most devout followers. The religions based in India—Hinduism. In particular.

in particular. ranging from disgust toward certain species to hygienic reasons. in all these cases. and which have no specific foundation in the realm of religion. and that the soul is potentially divine. an element that serves the function—among others—of establishing who is a member of the congregation of the faithful and who is not. What stands out. are strongly present both in the primitive world and in contemporary societies. These prohibitions—and at the same time. food is also an important factor in social aggregation. the rules about the foods that were allowed—have been interpreted on the basis of various orders of explanations. In her vision.” Jainism. and punishment. A great many rituals are therefore designed to ensure an attempt to approach some ideal of purity through practices of separation. which is a symbolic element of particular significance since it is a piece of reality that we literally incorporate. and the fears that derive from it. strictures against eating birds of prey out of a rejection of the violence intrinsic to those animals). given its ability to be a catalyzer of meanings and symbolisms. It therefore rejects the eating of meat as well as all useless forms of violence. assumes that every living thing. however microscopic. The sharers eat together at ritual meals. in which the lower castes (which are by definition impure. Anderson also explains this point very effectively: “Typically. the idea of contamination. to educational considerations (teaching man that not all goods need to be enjoyed directly and thoughtlessly). or at any rate assigned to a lower rank of purity than the higher castes). such as the violence practiced by modern factory-farming of animal products. For that reason. a number of prohibitions concerning food. British anthropologist Diane Mary Douglas7 traces many rituals that are intended to define the relationship between the individual body and the social body back to the idea of purity. This analysis broadly applies to food. in . food and final significance. Food is almost always a marker. In most religions.254 eating planet ahimsa. Of course. Even within those extraordinary processes of cultural elaboration that are the religions. aggregation and differentiation are stronger and more emotionally intense in religion than in other human activities (though political ideology and ethnicity have sometimes taken pride of place in the last century or so). as we have mentioned. habitually participate in the production of food in various roles.” 5. The clearest example is that of the Hindu caste system.6 food prohibitions: food and purity Religious rules include. possesses a soul. demarcation. certain foods tend to be considered inedible for reasons that may be purely cultural. is the narrow connection between food and destiny. for instance. nonviolence. food plays a role of enormous importance. from symbolic motivations (for instance. as farmers.

intimate nature of the link between food and culture. is a cultural thing. memory. to the extent that it entails rationality. or Mediterranean Sea. What we have chosen to discuss in this brief introduction to the topic is the close. It becomes even more so when it loses all semblance of equilibrium. Beginning in the Neolithic Age. Rather than working back to the origins or exploring the history of these three different approaches to nutrition. tradition. we will focus on trying to chart their trajectories. This is evident when this relationship is balanced.the great culinary traditions | food for culture 255 the higher castes. symbols. was the destination of countless migrations. the Mare Nostrum. many books have been). in some cases.8 the great culinary traditions mediterranean cuisine. The new arrivals settled in existing communities in search of better living conditions: . Asian cuisine. and values. The very act of feeding oneself. with repercussions in social and individual terms of extreme significance. 5. there are three great culinary traditions that we will attempt to describe in very abbreviated form in the following pages: Mediterranean cuisine. in view of current opportunities and challenges. The interaction of these variables has given rise over time. the great culinary traditions and the reality of food today We showed in the previous section that there is a deep-seated link between food and culture. to unique and specific dietary approaches and gastronomical traditions. 5. food must be cooked by the family or by someone else who belongs to the same level of caste. in an act of symbolic demarcation. Food has a marked effect on people’s lives and ways of eating reflect and are conditioned by individual lifestyles and the nature of relationships between people.7 food and culture: an indissoluble bond It would certainly be possible to write entire volumes on the relationship between food and nutrition (and in fact. and Anglo-Saxon cuisine. It is so innate to human beings to establish a relationship with foods that it is the point of departure for remarkable developments. Keeping in mind that every tradition is the inevitably provisional product of a series of innovations and the changes that they have induced in the cultures that accepted those innovations.

The new agriculture introduced unfamiliar plant species or varieties that had only been utilized by the more prosperous social classes because of their elevated prices. as well as the chosen symbols of the new faith—encountered the culture of the Germanic peoples. the tomato. spinach. it is also important to remember the role played by cereal grains as the foundation of the poor man’s cuisine and as a tool of .E. The tomato. citrus fruit. corn. While the central role of vegetables is one of the most distinctive characteristics of the Mediterranean tradition. Those peoples lived in close symbiosis with the forest. during the high Middle Ages. orange water. Moreover. Among the products introduced into Mediterranean cuisine that originally came from the Islamic world. initially treated as no more than an exotic curiosity and an ornamental fruit. as well as a number of varieties of beans.. on the model of Greek culture. Islamic culture. almond water. which had developed. along the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Another chapter of great historic impact was the discovery and the conquest of America by the Europeans. lemon water. providing a decisive contribution to the new gastronomic model that was taking shape. At first.256 eating planet more fertile soil for those who came from Asian or African deserts. from which they drew most of their nutritional resources. a milder climate for those coming from Scandinavia or Germany. we should mention sugar cane. during which a significant number of new food products were traded and introduced into the respective gastronomical cultures. and spices. and harvesting. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries C. rice. the pepper. the eggplant. the new food civilization that emerged from the marriage and fusion of the nutritional models of the Roman and Christian civilization and its Germanic counterpart measured itself against the tradition of the Arab world. its own specific nutritional culture. then. It was precisely the Muslims who gave rise to a significant process of agricultural renewal in which irrigated fields played a fundamental role. Thereafter. and the chili pepper. was not thought of as edible until a relatively late date—the first red vegetable to enrich our pantry of edible plants—but it has now become a symbol of Mediterranean cuisine and. in particular. identified bread. contacts between Muslim and Christian communities based on the Iberian peninsula grew into intense commercial exchanges. the use of rose water. through hunting. as Rome had so forcefully constructed it. and oil as the products symbolizing the tradition of a farming and agricultural civilization. of Italian cuisine. herding. wine. played a role in the change and the transformation of the cultural unity of the Mediterranean. and pomegranate water was introduced as well. This discovery also resulted in a “to-and-fro” of food products: the potato. the ancient Roman tradition—which.

the market square is the true center of urban and social life. It still preserves its roll as a meeting place. the Jamaa el Fna is the square around which the historic city has grown. .food and urban space In many cities. Morocco. In Marrakech. at night it becomes a giant open‑air restaurant. A market by day.

for millennia. Thai or Vietnamese—is rich in flavors that are unexpected for the Western nations. because of the economic and cultural importance that food has in the entire region and for its capacity to inspire a sense of continuity and identity for the local populations. cuisine forces people to respect the dietetic rules that have been acquired as the foundation of traditional medicine. as they are representative of a broader approach. it is indispensable to place it in the broader context of a body of knowledge that defines the relationship between nutrition and health. to the nutritional characteristics of the foods and the nutrients that were being attentively studied by physicians and by Taoists. This vast geo-culinary movement. In China. and has been for thousands of years. health has represented the focus of all nutritional behavior. In order to understand the Chinese culinary tradition. asian cuisine. identified proper and harmonious nutrition as one of the principal ways to improve health and seek longevity. The Chinese. In this connection. and not only in the Mediterranean region but also in regions throughout the world. In daily life. Crossbreeding is one of the causes of its cultural diversity and peculiarity. Rooted in a vast rural world. given its distinctive nutritional characteristics. Despite the changes in dietary customs and lifestyles that have taken place since the second half of the twentieth century. the quality of the foodstuffs. and lifestyles. The Mediterranean diet also represents a very important resource in terms of sustainable development for all the countries that overlook the Mediterranean basin. Here we shall focus on the great Chinese tradition and its distinctive features. is not only a way of nourishing oneself. which benefited from nutritional inputs that were originally typical of the Far East and Africa. therefore. based on healthfulness. their distinctive territorial characteristics—and conviviality and a love of food. in fact. Asian cuisine—Chinese or Japanese. They are the product of a historic and cultural tradition comparable in importance with the tradition that sprang up around the Mediterranean basin. beliefs. we should mention another important factor of the Chinese tradition: the central role played by food in festivities and the symbolic value of . as well. Chinese cuisine boasts an extraordinary variety of ingredients and excellent dietetic qualities. This attention to diet. in fact. but also the expression of an entire cultural system.” then. given their capacity to fill stomachs and help assuage the hunger pangs of the less well-to-do classes. emphasizes the fact that the Mediterranean basin has long served as a crucible and melting pot of civilizations. the Mediterranean diet continues to be a point of reference.258 eating planet day-to-day survival. is emblematic of the concept of food that is central to the Chinese tradition. The food model that we now call the “Mediterranean diet.

In fact. and the production and consumption of tea were widespread throughout the territory as far back as the time of the Tang dynasty (A. for instance.” as LéviStrauss put it. must take care to respect the equilibrium and harmony of these categories of ingredients. in China tea was the characteristic beverage of tradition.8 Cutting the foods very thin before cooking. The practice can easily be traced back thousands of years and is quite understandable if we consider the use of chopsticks that is associated with it. is also the chief criterion of differentiation from other cuisines. A taste for that is translated into the taste for the consumption of food together with other people. an approach. In Chinese cuisine there is also a particular technical rationality that can be found in the methods of cooking and in the cutting of the raw materials. soy sauce. Anglo-Saxon cuisine. According to the philosophy of Tao. Foodstuffs are therefore divided into four categories.the great culinary traditions | food for culture 259 certain dishes. and the attention to taste and the social dimension of eating. and in particular North American cooking. anglo-saxon cuisine. a simultaneous vehicle for pleasure and relationships. In China. rice. to the care and the creativity employed in its preparation. which was more accustomed to the consumption of wine. The cooking is designed to attain harmony of the flavors: cooking in fact is meant to achieve the “ideal consummation of the substance through fire. The Chinese were the first to cultivate tea. therefore. which is so characteristic of this cuisine. oil. the world is a continual process of becom‑ ing whose propulsive force derives from the dynamic opposition of yin and yang (female and male. nutrition is a social concern of enormous importance. the objective absence of typical products that characterize a culinary style. along with fuel. a tendency toward hyper-mobility that prevents attachment to any given territory. The Chinese and Mediterranean cuisines in fact share important values with respect to the importance attributed to food. and lifestyles and ways of consumption based on individual- . salt. develops out of a logic. cold and heat). We’re referring to the absence of a sufficiently long history to permit the deep rooting of widespread cultural practices and values. Cooking and cuisine. noodles are eaten. according to their yin and yang nature: cold and cool foods are yin. and social contexts that are very different from the ones described above. because their thin and elongated shape symbolizes longevity. warm and temperate foods are yang. Tea was so important that it was listed among the seven products that were indispensable to life. In comparison with the Mediterranean tradition. they are viewed as concrete categories of life which also permeate the realm of diet. These are far from being merely theoretical principles.D. 618-907). For birthdays and at New Year’s. darkness and light. we find in Chinese gastronomic culture (and more generally in Asian gastronomic culture) parallel traits to the conviviality typical of the Mediterranean tradition. and vinegar.

with a variety of outcomes. often with very negative results. changes in nutritional culture were for the most part the result of migration. in fact. As we conclude this introductory overview. together helped to orient the American and Anglo-Saxon city dweller toward speed of consumption and choice. who then lacks basic tools of information and culture. This is perhaps the most evident case of how the absence of a patrimony of knowledge and shared. Women moreover began to work outside of the home: this significantly changed the female model prevalent until then. it is possible to see that the deep social changes experienced in the United States many decades ahead of the other Western countries. along with a growing mobility between countries. except on the margins. In the past. All of these factors seem to have prevented North America (and Great Britain9) from developing an original gastronomic culture of quality comparable to the Mediterranean and Chinese cuisines. as well as in terms of the quality of the social interaction that accompanies the consumption of food. common choices—a nutritional culture—winds up “unloading” upon the individual. despite the fact the United States is a land of transition and settlement for people of all nations and civilizations. If we are to attempt to characterize the Anglo-Saxon culinary tradition. there has been a general leveling toward a diffuse mediocrity. along with the absence of a strong nutritional tradition. Prepared foods tended to become the norm.” and the strategies of industrial expansion pursued by multinationals. the capacity of choosing and selecting foods. While on the one hand it is certainly a positive development to see the choice of food as a channel of knowledge that makes it possible to appreciate and get closer . and speed. women in every social class began to work. which had been that of a woman primarily devoted to caring for home and children. In brief. pragmatism.260 eating planet ism. it should be pointed out that the process of exchange between cultural traditions—the so-called crossover traditions—is generally growing to an exponential degree. Today. we cannot ignore the fact that as early as the beginning of the 1960s in America. globalization. have modified the picture. and to a resulting disinterest in the characteristics of the product. the desire to discover characteristic traits of other civilizations in a generalized process of drawing closer to “others. there has not been. while over time the consumption of meals eaten outside of the house increased. The preparation of food lost its connotation as an everyday obligation and therefore became a moment of pure socializing. Moreover. bound up primarily with the sphere of recreation. and subsequently in England and Europe as well. often in the form of fast food. To the contrary. a process of creative cross-fertilization capable of leading to the birth of original approaches.

is sheer production— that proved to be so misguided and dangerous. health concerns emerge. especially when some of the potential foods on offer are liable to sicken or kill you. to the moment of initial choices. The most natural of all human activities—nourishing oneself. indeed of human society. well-being. and conviviality. 5. ironically. Such a radical change in eating habits is an unmistakable sign of a diffuse nutritional disorder. a growing demand for functionality intervenes.” This is the modern face of the omnivore’s dilemma. deciding what to eat—has become an undertaking that requires aid from nutritionists.) seem to emulate those “productivist” solutions of the past—presuming that the purpose of economic activity. Nothing of the sort could ever have happened in a society that possessed solid traditions concerning food and eating.the great culinary traditions | food for culture 261 to novel experiences. Although humanity’s age-old dietary history has introduced fairly strictly codified forms of the best nutritional practices from the various dietary traditions. is increasingly disorienting individuals and taking them backwards in time. health. the omnivore struggles to make decisions and choices. today this body of nutritional information and knowledge seems to be vanishing from many places. or the health consequences of what he ingests. The combination of excessive quantities and varieties of foods in the supermarkets. etc. and doctors.” it is quite worrisome to envision a setting in which the responses to the social changes now under way (changes in the role played by women. the omnivore’s dilemma. Bewildered by the excess of supply and information. As Pollan writes. “When you can eat just about anything nature has to offer. that often lead creative “contamination. What historically referred to a natural condition of humanity becomes. and suddenly Michael Pollan’s “omnivore’s dilemma” becomes relevant again. its almost complete opposite: an emblem of uncertainty generated by the prevalence of general conditions of unnaturalness. Lifestyles change. that happy balance among pleasure. The equilibrium attained by the great culinary traditions. deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety. the makeup of food. associated with the lack of adequate contexts of analysis and interpretation caused by a progressive loss of dietary identity. and incapable of thoroughly understanding industrial processes. appears to be increasingly precarious. less and less free time. the capacity to transfer gastronomical knowledge and skills declines. . food scientists.9 food today: challenges and perspectives The current relationship between food and culture is particularly challenging.

and pleasure. and to make up for the loss of food culture). that will influence the future of food in the coming decades: first and foremost is the demand for greater naturalness and the need for a rebalancing of ways of eating toward a healthier and more sustainable dietetic approach.262 eating planet No doubt in reaction to this trend. an increasing demand for authenticity is arising. But the great challenge of our time is probably that of reclaiming for ourselves a deeper. This is a turning point. From this point of view. there are three imperatives today: restore direct contact with the cultural dimension of food. more satisfying relationship with food. richer. We are now seeing the possibility of rethinking our relationship with food in terms of a new overall vision. as we have noted above. of equal importance is the recovery of conviviality. Likewise. in which the rapport with the food fully embraces the dimensions of aesthetics. This introduces other significant dimensions: from the need to simplify the procedures for the preparation of food (in order to save time. 5. . will significantly influence our relationship with food—and in different terms than the ones that we already know (nowadays it is an expression of a stark poverty of cultural contents). the temporal dimension appears decisive: we must find a way to ensure that time once again stretches out and opens up for this new approach to the eating experience. To put it in a slogan. and spread its flavor. The aspect of speed. asking it to take on new responsibilities. health. redefine its pleasure. a quality that in many ways lies at the foundation of the very possibility of a gratifying experience. The emerging traits of this new approach could be—according to Bauman’s analysis10 —situated at the intersection between the pleasure of the sensory experience and the demand for a situational comfort that makes it possible to savor in full the flavor of the food. to the notion of universal portability. linked to the rediscovery of sustainability in all its embodiments (environment. which is in such short supply today. taste. which has become a characteristic element of our time. The domain of ritual is a powerful aspect of the relationship with food. The recovery of food rituals can confer a dimension of reassuring meaning that will help to render more immediate the experience of eating. social relations) and which points a finger at the food industry. understood as the ease of application of the desired way of eating within an increasingly frenetic society in constant movement. We must try to reinterpret our relationship with food so as to reconcile the social dynamics of our times with a healthy and positive approach to nutrition and food.10 toward a new vision of nutrition There are a number of different factors.

. Are current levels of meat consumption a problem for the environment and health? We can reduce the impact of meat production by beginning to eat insects. for example. already a widespread habit in many countries. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.400 species of insects are eaten by humans. around the world some 1.excess supply It is probably more difficult to list the foods that are currently eaten than it is to list the foods that humans don’t eat.

resemblance. far more urbanized. duration. gender. In short. in an attempt to reconcile the social dynamics of our time with a healthy and positive approach to nutrition. understood as the ease with which a desired way of eating can be applied even within a society that is constantly moving at an increasingly frenetic pace. Post-modern society is the society of disenchantment. anxiety relief. In order to induce consumption and remain in consumers’ preferences. connection. Lifestyles will become fluid. by its very nature. the future will see an attempted constructive reinterpretation of our relationship with food. and identities based on age. depriving people of the human dimensions of tangibility. Finally. economically more polarized. Speed of life and loss of conventional spatial dimension will determine the way we live. The link between food practices and culture is a strong bond that . What role will food play in this emerging world? The basis of all consumption will increasingly tend to be the realm of the imagination. of the disruption and distortion of the space and time of lifestyle. now at such a premium. Globalization itself makes the presence of “otherness” a looming fact. a cultural experience specific to humans. the society of the future will be a society of multiplicity and uncertainty: an older. multiethnic. Food preparation will need to be simplified (which will save time.11 guidelines for redefining man’s relationship with food The consumption of food is. and depth. localization. 5. durability. the recovery of food rituals will confer a dimension of meaning and reassurance that will help to make more immediate the experience of eating. and help make up for the general loss of culinary culture and the guidance it passes on). It will not be the products themselves that will encourage choices. pressured lifestyles. And food will require universal portability. but rather their code of significance. products will need to integrate their functional and emotional aspects with symbolic elements. The risk is that a desperate need to find interaction and relationships with other people and the growing fear and inability to do so will tend to render fragile and ephemeral any sense of community and all temporary and fragmentary emotions. based on total mobility and fragmented. responding to and interpreting the need for roots. influenced by changing situations and shifting moods. with serious environmental concerns. and culture will become multiple and undergo continuous change. more feminine society.264 eating planet Even as we do our best to recover traits that were typical of the ritual aspects of tradition. modern reality demands that we move toward a pattern of food consumption that complies with new paradigms of behavior. In summary. and a reassuring physical and mental boundary. of the loss of the magic of the symbolic exchange.

the great culinary traditions | food for culture


extends back throughout all human history. The progressive dying out of this important aspect of human culture seems to be the result of a process of alienation that, as we have shown, generates anxiety and uncertainty. Our era thus represents the most opportune moment to requalify, in positive terms, the cultural value of the relationship between humans and food. The social importance and the urgency of a vast operation of rethinking that relationship makes it impossible to put it off any longer. It is necessary if we hope to respond, at the root, to the needs and the aspirations of people everywhere. Food culture is the most effective lever for redefining the relationship between man and food. It is only by beginning from a nutritional culture that is more focused on the values of naturalness and sustainability that we might tackle the challenge of the great food emergencies of this century, ranging from those linked to food access, to the prevention of a broad array of pathologies and a more general respect for the environment. Culture has long been a multiplier of results, thanks to its innate capacity to activate and orient the energies of individuals into collective action. Limiting ourselves to technical solutions to the emerging issues, and overlooking the spread of a cultural dimension and the role of knowledge and understanding, means planning only short-term interventions and renouncing the possibility of having any real effect on the deeper causes of the current challenges.

redirecting the future of food

• make the best possible use of the bountiful reservoir of conviviality.

The times we live in are impoverished in terms of relationships. The proliferation of opportunities for contact (through new technologies, among other things) often correlates with superficiality in human relations. Food, on the other hand, is still a vehicle for opportunities for interaction and relations. It is necessary to recover this natural inclination intrinsic to food and restore to a more appropriate social dimension the moments in which it is consumed. • protect forms of local territorial variety and work to expand them. Food is an expression of the identity of a community and a territory. It thereby preserves a quality of unique individuality that makes it, on the one hand, an opportunity to rediscover one’s own cultural roots and, at the same time, an opportunity to establish relations with other traditions. For this to happen, however, it is necessary to preserve the wealth of food and cuisine identities, without giving up the taste for “contaminations” and cross-fertilizations, thus reinforcing the emotional capital linked to roots, distinctive traits, and territorial localization while capitalizing on their universally human aspects.


eating planet

transfer knowledge and know-how. These are extraordinary deposits of cultural wealth. The preparation of food is by its nature an artisanal experience; the consumer is summoned to contribute by joining into forms of co-production with the people who make foodstuffs available. Such participation demands major skills and expertise, which must be preserved and handed down over time. • restore healthy relationships with territory and the context of the raw material, with a view to the excellence of the ingredients. In the case of nutrition, the relationship between the physical and material quality of the food and the quality of the cultural experience is very strong. Poorquality food does not produce culture. It is therefore necessary to work carefully on the excellence of the ingredients, establishing a direct and respectful link with the soils and lands where the raw materials are created. • recover the value of food as a fertile link between generations. The table at which breakfast and the evening meal are served seems to remain, in many families, one of the few privileged places where they share the experience of their lives, a place for cultivating mutual bonds of affection. This should be recovered as a means of constructing (and reconstructing) a social fabric that modern life is steadily weakening. • recover the ancient flavors that can be renewed in the context of contemporary taste. We should strive to preserve the best of gastronomic traditions by reinterpreting them creatively. This, in all fields, is the principal mechanism for the transmitting culture across generations. • finally, spread the culture of taste and enjoyment of life through authentic food. If we can revitalize the magic and the astonishment of food in its rituals and its carefree pleasures—as an existential and cultural “fuel”—we can restore people, their feelings and human relations to the center of the human experience. Future luxury and health will consist to a very great degree in the art of living and conceiving of food in a cultural context.

the mediterranean culture | food for culture


the mediterranean culture: the value of a lifestyle and a culinary tradition
There is a strong cultural bond that has united and continues to unite the diverse peoples of the Mediterranean basin. The Mediterranean Sea has long been a special theater of encounters between diverse cultures continually exchanging material goods, ideas, and values. This created a geographic and cultural context made up of significant differences but also of numerous points of convergence. One of these is the attitude toward food: the Mediterranean peoples share a view of reality that identifies food as one of the essential components of their identity. It is not a matter of the sameness of the products consumed; to the contrary, they are rather diversified. It is instead the approach to food that is unique; an approach that attributes a central role in people’s lives to food and the moments of conviviality linked to food. This is, in other words, a combination of foods and types of relationships with food that is the basis of a durable cultural identity. Together with other factors (but no less a degree than the other factors), this identity helps to constitute the foundation of a rich and articulated system of sociability. As Claude Fischler, the French sociologist, recently pointed out, the Mediterranean approach to food—the so-called Mediterranean diet, understood here in the broader sense as an overall lifestyle and foodway—however now displays an unexpected degree of fragility. It is unexpected because in the past it was the Mediterranean diet more than any other that had proved capable of successfully assimilating elements of extraordinary novelty (think of the various New World foods, first and foremost the tomato) without losing its distinctive personality—indeed, being enriched by them. Secure in a clear and strong identity, the Mediterranean diet assimilated elements of innovation in a complementary manner, encouraging an even more complete structuring of the way of eating. Today, however, within the same Mediterranean countries the lifestyles and foodways of recent history tend to be lost very easily, giving way to nutritional habits, foodways, and approaches to eating that come from other traditions. Those traditions are often much less rich in terms of nutritional content as well as elements of sociability and significance. This seems to be happening to a much greater degree within regions that, more than others, once represented the select territories of the Mediterranean identity. What seems to be blocked is a strong mechanism for transmitting tradition. This exposes the people of the Mediterranean to the risk of losing a trove of knowledge and nutritional behaviors that are unrivalled on Earth.


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But before exploring ways to address this challenge, first let us attempt to clarify what we mean when we talk about the Mediterranean diet. 5.12 the salient characteristics of the mediterranean diet As discussed above, there are three principal culinary traditions in the world, each of them characterized by specific traits: the Mediterranean model, the North American model, and the Asian model (which contains a number of very important traditions and cultures, from the Japanese and the Vietnamese traditions to Chinese cuisine). We can describe the Mediterranean diet as the nutritional model inspired by the traditional dietary models of the European countries of the Mediterranean basin, in particular, Italy, Greece, southern France, Spain, and Portugal. This diet has spread widely outside of the borders of these countries and has been broadly adopted in South America (Argentina and Uruguay, in particular) and in certain areas of the United States of America and Canada. Many scientific studies have concluded that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets for promoting physical well-being and preventing chronic diseases, in particular cardiovascular diseases. the first intuition of the mediterranean diet. The concept of the Mediterranean diet was first developed in 1939 by Lorenzo Piroddi, a physician and nutritionist, who intuited the linkage between nutrition and diabetes, bulimia and obesity.11 Later, in the 1950s, Ancel Keys,12 a doctor and scientist at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition, who later wrote the bestselling book Eat Well and Stay Well, the Mediterra‑ nean Way, spent time in Italy and noted a fact that at the time struck him as distinctly odd: the less well-to-do people (the so-called poor) of the small villages of southern Italy ate a diet mainly of bread, onions, and tomatoes—yet appeared to be much healthier than city-dwellers in New York, and even than their own relatives who had emigrated to the United States in previous years. In later studies, Keys observed a very low incidence of coronary disease among the inhabitants of the Cilento and the island of Crete and theorized that this situation was a result of the diet adopted in those areas. These early observations led to the renowned Seven Countries Study,13 based on a comparison of the diets of over 12,000 people, ranging in age from 40 to 59, in Finland, Japan, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States, and the former Yugoslavia. From the findings of the Seven Countries Study, numerous associations were discovered between the kind of diet consumed and the risk of onset of chronic diseases.14 As seen in the findings, levels of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol

mediterranean constants

The balance in the makeup of the Mediterranean diet is represented in this traditional Turkish breakfast: tomatoes, olives, fresh cheese, cucumbers, bread, honey, and yogurt. Certain of these foods represent genuine “pillars” in the eating habits that are customary along the shores of the entire Mediterranean basin and in various combinations they characterize many moments of the daily relationship with food.


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in the blood largely explain the differences in mortality rates of the populations analyzed, as well as predicting the future their rates of coronary disease.15 Mortality due to heart attack is still lower among the Mediterranean populations than in countries, like Finland, where diets are rich in saturated fats (butter, lard, milk and milk products, and red meats). The final results of the Seven Countries Study indicated that the best dietary regimen was that followed by the inhabitants of Nicotera, in Calabria, and that they had adopted a Mediterranean way of eating. The population of Nicotera, Montegiorgio (Marche), and the inhabitants of the Campania region presented very low levels of blood cholesterol and a minimal percentage of coronary disease. These rates were due to a dietary regimen based on olive oil, bread and pasta, garlic, red onions, aromatic herbs, vegetables, and not much meat.16 more recent studies. From the first Seven Countries Study to today, a great many other research projects have analyzed the characteristics and the associations between ways of eating and onset of chronic diseases.17 Since the middle of the 1990s, moreover, a line of studies has been investigating the association between diet and longevity.18 What this work reveals is that the adoption of a Mediterranean diet, or one similar to it, helps protect against the most widespread chronic diseases, allowing people to live better and longer. As we indicated above, the Mediterranean dietary model calls for a high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and cereal grains (which in the past were mainly unrefined); moderate consumption of fish and dairy products (especially cheese and yogurt) and wine; and low consumption of red meat, white meat, and saturated fatty acids.19 The model is largely based upon an apparent paradox: The peoples that adopt the Mediterranean diet consume relatively high quantities of fats (levels similar to those consumed by people in the United States), but they have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than do other populations in North America. The explanation is that the large quantity of olive oil used in Mediterranean cuisine substitutes for animal fats, at least in part. In fact, olive oil seems to help to maintain lower levels of cholesterols. Aside from olive oil, cereal grains occupy a special place in the Mediterranean diet. Unlike what is commonly thought, cereal grains are not limited to bread and pasta; they also include barley, spelt, oats, rice, and corn. Unrefined cereal grains take on special prominence in the Mediterranean diet. These are different from refined cereal grains, which undergo the removal of the outside part of the kernel. This impoverishes the food in terms of its use as an alimentary fiber and other important components, such as minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. The food customs that have spread over recent years have gradually excluded

rabbit) to red meat. the Mediterranean diet tends to recommend more extensive consumption of fish than of meat. to say nothing of the nutritional aspect. in healthy individuals of normal weight) is another protective factor. These foods contain essential vitamins (such as vitamin C) and contribute to a sense of fullness without adding many calories. The Mediterranean diet. because of the antioxidants contained in alcoholic beverages. the lipidic components (fats) depend strongly on the animal the meat comes from. the Mediterranean diet tends to prefer white meat (chicken. people who adhere to it are less likely to suffer premature cognitive decline. On a cultural basis. Legumes contain slow-absorption carbohydrates (low glycemic index) and substantial amounts of proteins mineral salts. essential fatty acids. This is mainly due to the presence of high quantities of fiber and water. turkey. vitamins. With dried fruit. it is believed that the moderate consumption of red wine during meals (equivalent to two glasses a day for men and one glass for women. and food fiber. what to consume. The Mediterranean diet requires not only consuming fresh fruit on a daily basis (though in limited quantity) but also dried fruit. Fish has excellent quantities of protein. Studies of the Mediterranean diet not only point to its effects in reducing chronic diseases. moreover. Rich in proteins.the mediterranean culture | food for culture 271 legumes from diets. Dried fruit contains very little water. Given the last characteristic. mineral salts and essential fatty acids such as omega-6. Generally speaking. however. certain vitamins. rather low levels of proteins. With reference to meat. the Mediterranean diet lowers the rate of mortality from coronary disease by 50 percent. as well as the part of the animal consumed. according to a study done by the American Heart Association. limited sugar. fish could not help but be a major presence on Mediterranean dining tables.20 In that connection. only moderate consumption is advisable. apparently reduces the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease in people who are already showing signs of cognitive difficulties. precisely because the marine environment that did so much to shape and determine the history of Mediterranean countries lay right on their doorstep. on the other hand. In the Mediterranean diet. and some mineral salts. the standard recommendation is to consume at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. in order to live better. and mineral salts. on the other hand. The Mediterranean diet’s stress on fruits and vegetables is now well accepted in the international scientific community. and a substantial portion of fats. there is a substantial intake of vitamin E. for instance. . their presence is fundamental. which increase the volume of the food but not its caloric content. they also show protective effects on the brain. Last of all.

and to a certain extent in Great Britain. on another. in the United States. But in several of the cultures that developed around the Mediterranean basin it acquired a greater degree of institutionalization and political significance.13 the mediterranean diet and commensality When we think about the Mediterranean diet. in some cases implying the dependence of one or more of the commensals. some of the nations that preserve traditions of commensality seem to have better diet and nutrition in terms of obesity and correlated health problems. to their . this word means to eat at the same table (from the medieval Latin. medical nutrition did not adequately take into account the social and cultural dimension of food and eating. in the wake of the sacrificial banquet. toward individual and medical consumption.21 In the literal sense. or messmates. And in the monotheistic religions that grew in the Mediterranean world. the act of eating rotates to a greater degree around the appointed hours of the meals and commensality. eating has become an increasingly individualized and medicalized act. the Sabbath meal of the Jews and the commemoration of the Last Supper performed by Christians in the Eucharist. On the other hand. of human evolution—is commensality. calories. However. It is considered a form of private consumption. commensality ought to be considered a fundamental concept and become the subject of research in the field of diet and nutrition. commensalis. or communion). Historians have shown that. which in turn contributed to crucial further developments. with an essentially social (public) dimension. from con‑dividere + mensa. public meals in fact became an essential factor in the development of Athenian democracy. A great many of the efforts to improve the general level of nutrition are based on the implicit presumption that simply giving information about nutritious substances. A key feature of that lifestyle—in fact. and physical exercise to individuals should be enough to optimize their behavior. we are not referring only to its composition. In Italy or in France.272 eating planet 5. in contrast. or table). In fact. Until very recent times. For instance. but also and especially to the lifestyle associated with it. thinking of food and eating in terms of nutritious substances and choices of personal responsibility does not seem to be sufficiently helpful. the formal meal and its rules acquired a high degree of ritualization and symbolic significance (for instance. In the broader sense it conveys the idea of habitually sharing food. Recent comparative research projects have shown that inside the Western world there are surprising differences between countries with relatively similar levels of development as far as the models concerning the act of eating and the relationship with food in general. The Mediterranean cultures that eat best are those that seem to devote the greatest attention to the foods as opposed to the nutritious substances. Commensality is not specifically Mediterranean.

but rather in those areas where food is pervasive. to the total quality. stripped of all meaning. to the social occasions in which the foods are consumed.14 mediterraneity today: the decline of a model From the 1950s to the present day.6 in 1965. A recent study done on Spanish and Italian diets24 noted that the younger generations have seemed to be gradually but steadily abandoning the Mediterranean diet in favor of new eating trends characterized by foods with high fat content. it fell to 3. not just their makeup.the mediterranean culture | food for culture 273 origin. thoughtlessly or indifferently. 5. In recent years European society. we ought to turn to the quality and the world of “Mediterraneity” in order that it might help us to re-enchant it. the index of Mediterranean adequacy has dropped to 1. since Keys’s first study. and to the sacral importance of food. The abandonment of the Mediterranean diet appears to be unmistakable in the larger Italian cities. of also of poor quality. diabetes. not just the nutritious value and health.2 in 1960 but dropped to 2. Every day in Italy about 105 million meals are consumed. have changed from a number of points of view. The results of the studies by Flaminio Fidanza (one of the pioneers in food and nutrition research. as well. not just the maintenance of the body. who thoroughly investigated the state of affairs in Italy beginning in the Sixties)22 have shown that the index of Mediterranean adequacy in two Italian cities that have been symbolic in this context has dropped drastically: in Nicotera that index was 7. and correlated pathologies are most common not in the areas where food and eating are considered important daily social occasions. so to speak. of which 76 percent are eaten at home and 24 percent are eaten . The great German sociologist Max Weber wrote about the disenchantment (Entzauberung) of the world associated with advent of modernity: where food has become disenchanted. and specifically Italian society. not just its quotidian aspects. cheap. we have witnessed all over the Mediterranean region.9 in 1991. In Montegiorgio. a gradual abandonment of the Mediterranean approach to food in favor of less-healthy ways of eating.44. And vice versa: obesity. as well as with a reduction in physical activity. and personal choices. and deprived.2 in 1991. Overweight and obesity in Italy and Spain seem to correlate with the abandonment of the Mediterranean diet. where food is commodified. at any time—in short.23 A study presented in July 2009 by the Italian Association for Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition (Associazione italiana di dietetica e nutrizione clinica) and by the Nutritional Observatory of Grana Padano (Osservatorio nutrizionale Grana Padano) confirms the trend: in Italy in general. responsibility. always available for consumption. of its sacrality. where the index had been 5. Italy included. that is. trivialized.

2009. Source: BCFN on Nielsen-Barilla data. and only in 30 percent of all cases are those lunches eaten between one and two o’clock in the afternoon (figure 5.1 Breakdown of the 105 million meals consumed daily in Italy by mode of consumption Note: Data expressed in %.5 million meals consumed daily away from home are lunches. and 16 percent are eaten alone. that 11 percent are “lunch on the run” and 5 percent are the “catch-up lunch. away from home.1).25 On an aggregate level lunches (53 percent) outnumber dinners (47 percent) while 71 percent of the meals are consumed with one’s family.274 eating planet Late morning meal Lunch on the run Normal lunch Make‑up lunch 1% 1% 3% 3% 1% Total At home Away from home 11 % 46 % 46 % 48 % 2% 1% 1% 0% 2% 1% 1% 2% 5% Aperitif Dinner on the run Normal dinner 44 % 27 % 1% 1% 3% 1% 1% 1% 49 % Late dinner Dinner late at night figure 5. 16 percent with friends and colleagues.” Lunches eaten in less than 10 minutes account for 9 percent of the total number of lunches eaten away from home. among the meals consumed away from home. . 105 million meals daily.000 meals analyzed. Base: 99. Sixtyseven percent of the 25. Observing the breakdown by method of the meals eaten every day in Italy (aside from the prevalence of the “normal” lunches and dinners) we see.

diversity. and link with local cultures.eating on the street Street food has become the object of new appreciation for its flavor. . But eating street food is also one of the most universal ways of experiencing a place.

they are predominantly “primi piatti.276 eating planet Less than 10 minutes From 10 to 20 minutes From 20 to 30 minutes From 30 minutes to 1 hour From 1 to 2 hours More than 2 hours 5% 4% Total 9% 29 % 30 % 39 % 28 % 22 % 22 % 22 % At home Away from home 26 % 42 % 4% 2% 1% 0% 10 % 4% figure 5. 2009. while 15 percent of those meals were eaten sitting down. on the other hand. as can be seen in figure 5.2 Distribution of preparation time for meals at home and away from home Note: Data expressed in %. The composition of the meals eaten at home. with one million “primi piatti” consumed away from home every day (for the most part in bars and cafeterias).” or pasta or soup dishes (41 percent) and main entrees (42 percent). As for the meals eaten away from home. Base: 80 million meals at home daily. The result is that the time and the quality of the space devoted to nutrition over the course of the day is more and more squeezed in among the other daily commitments of individuals who increasingly find themselves obliged to sacrifice the quality of their own nutrition. but not at a table.2. represent a cultural patrimony that still endures in Italian society despite the pressure to which individual lifestyles are subject. The picture drawn by these data seems to be fairly clear: the pace of Italian life is accelerating and the way of eating is progressively following this trend. The distinctive features and traits of Mediterraneity. especially the tendency to assign meaning and significance to eating that rise above the merely nutritional or functional aspects. But it is . Source: BCFN on Nielsen-Barilla data. Moreover. 14 percent of the meals eaten away from home were eaten standing up. shows a greater degree of variety.

the same productivist paradigm that is now sweeping other areas of Earth (this is demonstrated. A survey undertaken by Eurobarometer for the European Commission in 2006 of the nutritional habits of the citizens residing in the twenty-five European countries27 revealed that the majority of European citizens believe that eating in a healthy way means adopting a balanced diet made up of a variety of foods. but they correspond to the figures for Europe as well. 59 percent of European citizens believe that a diet composed of a wide variety of foods and including significant consumption of fruit and vegetables meets the needs of healthy nutrition. While awareness of the importance of good nutrition to overall well-being is rising. on the other hand it is clear that certain values typical of Mediterraneity have by now permeated the entire continent. Sweden (77 percent). the vast majority of European citizens (83 percent of the total) say they are conscious of the crucial significance of what they eat for their own physical well-being. Some European citizens (about one out of four) are also aware that excessive consumption of fats and sugars is not healthy and should therefore be avoided (figure 5. However. however. actually practicing those values is becoming increasingly difficult.the mediterranean culture | food for culture 277 increasingly difficult to reconcile Mediterraneity with a reality that makes its practice more and more challenging. Italy is below the European average. the challenges of adopting a balanced diet. is undergoing social changes parallel to those seen in Italy—we observe the same tendency toward a fluidity and a social movement that are structurally modifying the customs established over time. In fact. it tends to affirm itself over time. with 57 percent of respondents who believe that it is easy to eat in a healthy manner as against the 66 percent of the EU25 average. and Malta (77 percent). although it only partly shares the larger cultural tradition mentioned here. people report it seems fairly easy to adopt a healthy diet in countries such as the Netherlands (79 percent). What appears most significant.3). among other things. On the other hand. The lifestyle of European citizens seems to be the chief obstacle to their eating . on the one hand. the number of people who have difficulty eating in a healthy manner is pretty high in countries such as Hungary (54 percent). The statistics shown have to do with Italy. despite the fact that most European citizens say they follow a healthy diet. if we broaden our view to include sociopolitical context of the entire European Union—which. While. by the growing number of people afflicted with diseases directly linked to overweight and all obesity26). Slovakia (52 percent). Specifically. is the emergence of a meaningful fracture between ideal dietary choices and actual everyday practice. and Poland (49 percent). Well aware of the importance of the makeup of diet. and this is the most worrisome datum.

rice.278 eating planet Eat a variety of different foods/balanced diet Eat more fruit and vegetables Avoid/do not eat too much fatty food Avoid/do not eat too much sugary food Eat more fish Do not eat too many calories Avoid/do not eat too much salt Eat less meat Avoid/do not eat food containing additives Eat organic food Eat more bread. and the inability to supervise the foods consumed because they were purchased or prepared by someone else (27 percent). In conclusion. rice. pasta and other carbohydrates Eat less bread. in a healthy and nutritious manner. A third significant reason expressed is the idea that healthy food isn’t particularly tasty (23 percent). full life. 2006. Twelve percent also report a lack of information concerning what constitutes a healthy diet and 15 percent complain about the confusing and contradictory information accompanying foodstuffs. pasta and other carbohydrates Eat more meat Eat less fruit and vegetables Eat less fish Other DK 8% 8% 7% 3% 2% 1% 11 % 2% 28 % 25 % 22 % 19 % 16 % 13 % 45 % 59 % 58 % figure 5. What is lacking is a means of cultural mediation that makes it possible to translate in a natural way what is already known and acknowledged by scien- .3 What does it mean to follow a healthy diet? Source: The European House-Ambrosetti on Eurobarometro data. But it also confirms the difficulty of translating that awareness into concrete forms of behavior. two principal factors hinder that possibility: the excessive amount of time required for the selection and preparation of a meal (31 percent of respondents). the Eurobarometer survey seems to indicate an increasingly widespread awareness of the importance of diet and nutrition in terms of a healthy. According to the survey.

. More than two months of incessant rain did not stop clients or vendors.street food and extreme climates Bangkok. November 2011: with water knee‑high. Thailand. a food stand continues selling to customers.

distinctive qualities. even before it is fought in the realm of the choice of foods.) What emerges from these observations is a clear indication of the challenge facing us. 5. but never so seldom applied in the world as it is today. .15 how to recover the significance of mediterraneity Aside from the loss of nutritional value. It will be decided on the good practices that will make it possible to attribute a value and a meaning to food. and more attractive— attractive because it will become the vehicle of a conviviality. The battle for good nutrition depends upon and can only be won on the field of behavior. while at the same time emphasizing the aspects that are humanly universal. We are not suggesting that food become an obsession or a tedious task but. a measured use of time. within the context of time devoted to caring for oneself as a person. what seems to be progressively vanishing in many countries is a balanced relationship with food. anxiety. We shall therefore limit ourselves to suggesting two ideas that.280 eating planet tific nutrition about sound dietary practices into proper behavior. (Just consider. more beautiful. in this era of ours that is so impoverished in terms of relationships. a path toward the rediscovery of oneself and others. in our opinion. of an aesthetic taste that we sometimes have a hard time expressing in a daily life that is punctuated by frenetic rhythms. What should the most significant dimensions of this movement be? The topic is complex and deserves to be explored at much great length than we have here. The first has to do with the capacity of the agro-alimentary industry to put itself at the service of some fundamental dynamics of Mediterraneity (explored in greater depth in the insert “Redirecting the Future of Food”): • make the best possible use of the rich and diverse resource of conviviality. are decisive. • protect local territorial variety by preserving the wealth of identities (while still encouraging cross-fertilizations). • transfer the knowledge and know-how linked to the preparation of foods. the Food Pyramid—universally known for the past 30 years. and territorial localization. then. in this connection. they are extraordinary deposits of cultural wealth. should be to make the time we spend eating less predictable and banal. quite to the contrary. and therefore more immediate and intense. and superficiality. The objective. thus reinforcing the emotional capital invested in roots. This original theme has always constituted the heart of the Mediterranean approach to diet and nutrition. If this belief is well-founded—that culture is the primary tool in the attempt to win back a portion of daily reality from merely economic and productive concerns—then the problem arises of how to redirect concrete terms—the future of nutrition.

and an intact social structure. an alliance.the mediterranean culture | food for culture 281 food materials that go into a cuisine. • last of all. makes it possible to undertake cooperative games intended to promote a new dietary paradigm—in the hope that one day in the not too distant future it may become dominant. aiming at the excellence of the ingredients. which while it preserves the typical character of competition in the relationships between the various players in a single sector. It is necessary. the environment. in the simplicity and clarity of its benefits. Revitalizing the magic and astonishment of food in its rituals and its carefree pleasure—as the fuel of life and culture—allows a renewed centrality to the role played by people and their feelings. to this end. The scale of the challenge—to educate the populace to a new dietary ecology—is so great that it demands an ability to intervene that is well beyond the power of the individual actors. including the public institutions— nowadays increasingly concerned about the devastating consequences of the improper dietary choices being carried out by their citizens—in order to reorient lifestyles and ways of eating toward modes of consumption that are more sustainable in terms of health. • restore the value of food as a medium for a fertile relationship between the generations. The second significant element is bound up with the method of activating the process of change. • return to a healthy relationship with the territory and the context of the raw . to forge a great pact among all the actors of the world of nutrition and food. An exquisitely Mediterranean nutritional paradigm. spread the culture of taste and the enjoyment of life through authentic food. • recover the flavors of bygone times to preserve the best of gastronomic traditions and seek to renew and reinterpret them creatively in the context of contemporary tastes. to promote the construction (and reconstruction) of a social fabric that is steadily weakening under the pressure of modernity. establishing a direct and respectful link with the context in which the raw materials develop. A concerted effort will be required.

in terms of responsibility as well. Not a globalization that excludes us. we will never solve this kind of problem. Joaquín Navarro-Valls h as been president of the Telecom Italia Foundation since January 2009 and has been president of the Advisory Board Biomedical University of Rome since January 2007. and not only the more advanced countries? To find the solution to a problem. a sense of responsibility is always individual. the research centers? Who should be the first to move? From my point of view. We can decide to solve a problem that we do not want to take on ourselves by dumping upon developing nations the responsibility for that problem and the corresponding measures. Until we realize that the problems of mankind in general must be solved with the sense of responsibility of people themselves and we stop handing it off to others. the development of the poorer nations. but on something called a sense of responsibility. any decision that can affect the habits of human beings must be based not on national or supranational considerations. Since 1996 he has been a visiting professor at the school of Social Institutional Communication at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. for example. . and global in nature. Every time I go there with the mentality of sustainable development. I’ve been in Africa many times and I’ve visited nearly every African country (North-Saharan and SubSaharan). but it can be created and fostered with aid that is political. This strikes me as the first aspect: it is necessary to state the problem in truly global terms. From 1984 to 2006 he was Director of the Holy See Press Office (or Vatican Press Office). A badly formulated problem will never find a solution. Rome. the universities. the NGOs. the first thing is to state the problem itself correctly. but it is wrong to think that it has to begin in those countries: it is we who need to change our habits. Which are the chief actors who can undertake development in this direction: the local governments. geopolitical.282 eating planet interview we must construct a culture of responsibility Joaquín Navarro‑Valls There are problems on a worldwide level that never seem to find resolution: we are referring to world hunger and. I say this because it is very easy for us in the west to criticize. What are the priorities for undertaking a sustainable develop‑ ment that will include all countries. the partial deforestation of certain zones of the Amazon. in more general terms. but a globalization that instead begins to include us. the international institutions. Naturally. The problem of sustainability is one that we created ourselves—the developed nations—not the developing nations.

I can say what I hope. social. if the prevailing interest is selfish in nature. I hope that the process of taking on individual responsibility. As an opinion leader. However. and therefore collective responsibility. If we forget this.interviews | food for culture 283 The solution to global problems always demands a multidisciplinary approach. social responsibility. more than formulating any prophecy for tomorrow. This however is a form of education that must begin with us. Now. Many habits in the developed western world must change. I see no other solution. there must be someone who is doing the teaching. to reiterate the question. If we lose our sense of personal responsibility (individual responsibility. therefore an approach that takes into account economic. in this problem and in others like it. but rather as an anguished necessity because things can’t keep going on as they are. imagining it is impossible. it strikes me that the only way forward is education. Perhaps we have not done enough because we are not placed face to face with the responsibility that I was talking about earlier. To educate a person. from that point of view. it strikes me that we haven’t done enough. then selfishness breeds chaos. the only way forward is through education. . humanity in general: it’s always the same thing. collective responsibility. the only thing is that they are not changing as the result of any free decisions. and also environmental problems. I’m talking about the developed western world in relation to the developing nations. who knows that situation and who can explain it in a process of educational development. This is the crux of the matter. a geographic area. and on the basis of your experience and your own observa‑ tions.) then it will be difficult to “produce” a better future. continues to grow. In order to acquaint a person with a situation. etc. what do you expect from the coming years? Building the future is never a simple thing. Can politicians and institutions manage to adopt this type of approach? From my point of view. and in fact in many places they already are changing. Only responsibility can lead us out of chaos. cultural.

to prevent the problem getting worse? Well. They can put 40% of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that gives us climate change. And non-food becomes junk food and junk food creates all kinds of diseases. They can push species to extinction. And a system that forgets that food is about nourishment then produces non-food. Technology and Natural Resource Policy. Not technologies that are already failing us like genetic engineering. 500 million are producers of food. as well as for such NGOs as the International Forum on Globalization. biodiversity disappearing. If we start imitating the large scale industrial corporate farming of the West. We need to have respect for the land. She has also served as an adviser to the Indian government and for foreign governments. destroying our farmers. Vandana Shiva is the founder of Navdanya.284 eating planet interview whoever controls food controls democracy Vandana Shiva The one billion people starving and the two billion people sick. and the planet sick—water disappearing. a movement for the conservation of biodiversity and to protect the rights of farmers. it forgets the nutrition of people and puts at the center profits from extraction. So of the one billion people who are hungry. destroying the Earth. And we need to treat our small farmers as our social capital. whose mission is to solve the most serious social and economic problems in collaboration with local communities and social movements. She is the founder and director of the Research Foundation for Science. we will destroy our food security. even China and India. we will not only destroy our farmers. are small farmers. Africa for sure. So profits lead to destroying food. destroying our health. what approach should developing countries take towards agriculture. I think the most important point is that so-called developing countries are called developing because we weren’t industrialized in the first industrial revolution. the climate damaged—soil losing fertility—are all interconnected. Not financial loans from banks that are going to take away your land down the line. That’s also the same system that is able to exploit water because it doesn’t have to bear the cost. . That means small farmers can’t feed themselves because they are now part of the new dispossessed. And they are interconnected in a model of farming that forgets the nutrition of the soil. for sure. Given this. Obsession with profits. Or if they are farming they’re indebted and they are selling what they grow. And the large majority of people in our countries. for our farmers. Women’s Environment and Development Organization. because small farms produce more. we need to recognize that nature’s capital of bio-diversity is real capital. The second thing we need to do because developing countries happen to lie in the part of the world that has higher bio-diversity. and Third World Network. Latin America.

When you control the food you control people. Therefore no patents on seed. taking away the democracy of people worldwide to choose the food they grow and to know what’s in the food. nor genetic engineering are food security solutions. It came out of war. And third. .interviews | food for culture 285 and for the knowledge that has been older and more time-tested in agriculture. We need the non-violence. is an agriculture that has its roots in war. That means democracy begins with food. And it has its roots in what I call the patriarchal mindset of man as dominator. First. Agri-chemicals came out of war. food is being controlled through control of seeds. which did not give us diabetes epidemics. That is what the IAASTD report has pointed out. it means being much more aware of what you’re eating and how it is grown. can you explain better? Well. Man as a violent conqueror of the Earth and people. That model has become too heavy for the food system. is now only collecting royalties from patented seed. He said when you control weapons. That neither the Green Revolution. at one level it is what Kissinger said when he talked about food as a weapon. which did not create obesity. You once said that whoever controls our food system will control our democracy as well. Monsanto has emerged as the single biggest player on the seed front. therefore the defense of the small farm and therefore stopping the perverse subsidies of 400 billion dollars that give industrial farming an unfair benefit to prosper. so that we learn once again how to give respect to food. 2 billion obese. Ecological farming very often linked and growing out of indigenous knowledge systems is the place to increase your production while conserving your resources. So we need to turn to women to say how do we feed people with nourishment? That’s why in Navdanya we run a Grandmothers’ university. you control governments and armies. And sadly the US government which has made itself extremely impoverished by outsourcing all its production. Science and Technology for Development. Food democracy in our times means having seed sovereignty and seed freedom. that long history was an agriculture and food in which women had the knowledge and control. the diversity. the multifunctionality that women bring to agriculture. Do you think that in this process women have a specific role? Women have a specific role for two reasons. taking away the democracy of the third world farmer to have their own seed. The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge. Having the ability to grow your own food. In today’s context. when we talk about the long history of agriculture which did not starve people. What do you mean. The second thing is that the agriculture that is creating all these problems for a billion hungry people.

So an important task is for societies to reclaim their narratives relevant to their food . A late entry into this food cultural melee are farmers who are attempting to inject their imagery into this consumer cultural mix with an appeal to the “natural”. ten more than 90 publications or presentations. He has writfood consumerism itself. so that this model World of Food (1996). hugely sophisHealthy Profits? (2001) ticated. tures”. Increasingly all of these players attempt to convince consumers of their sustainability and environmental credentials. appears to be the only option available. So food processors work to sell their branded product dreams. mechanisms to activate this. one that enables an ecologiprofessor of food policy in cally integrated food system from production through to the bachelor’s degree program in Global Nutrition consumption. not least through creating a model for constructing Michael Heasman is a a “sustainable diet”—that is.29 But the consumer culture food war is not simply between the mainstream and alternatives.28 The impact of the Mediterranean model has to London. Minds and Markets (2004. chase goods and services in even greater amounts and the with Professor Tim Lang). He specializes be situated within this broader context which sees today’s in food and health. The on-going industrial food system dynamic is driven including: Food Wars: The by consumerism—that is. In this respect the industrial The Functional Foods Revolution: Healthy People. creating the desire to purGlobal Battle for Mouths. This “food system” continues to shape and influence Visiting Research Fellow food consumption patterns and hence consumer food “culat the Centre for Food Policy. Within the mainstream a struggle is also underway to shape consumer culture towards particular interests. City University. The Mediterranean model is competing with all these consumer and societal influences. While food consumer culture is important it is rarely mentioned in nutrition and food policy documents. foodservice operators lure consumers to their food offerings through strategies that owe more to the entertainment industries than food— a trend termed “eatertainment” in the United States—and the supermarkets try to outdo both. consumer marketing industries.30 Instead much modern food and nutrition policy (and business language) is all about framing consumers through a market-led “consumer choice” lens—in this sense “choice” defines consumer culture. But the current food system is rooted in the and Health at the Metroindustrial food model and its resulting consumer food culpolitan University College di Copenhagen and he is a ture. the global food industry and food culture war framed as a conflict within the future of food policies.286 eating planet the consumer culture war and the food system: what does this mean for the mediterranean model? Michael Heasman The traditional Mediterranean model to eating could be a potential roadmap towards a different diet and food system. production model and its accompanying. are designed to and Consumption in the Age of Affluence: The push this consumption agenda forward.

saw increased demand in non-traditional markets—such as northern European countries—with a more than 10 food increase. In a study of the olive oil systems between 1972-2003 by Armin Scheidel and Fridolin Krausmann33 they demonstrate how olive oil developed from a niche product that could hardly be found in food stores outside of the producing regions towards an integrated component in the diets of industrial countries. While global olive oil production is still concentrated in the Mediterranean region just three countries are dominant: Greece. as is well known. In some instances the Mediterranean diet has itself become “medicalised”— stripped of its cultural heritage. But Scheidel and Krausmann also document some of the consequences of .32 Some of these societal and cultural trends can be identified through following the olive oil food system in recent years. as posing a threat to the industrial food system. Food traditions and heritage need careful nurturing to remain authentic in the brutally competitive consumer culture war around food. our bodies and health. Italy and Spain. As importantly the Mediterranean consumer culture itself has started to succumb to globalizing and industrializing dietary tendencies.31 established on plant-based foods with little meat and dairy—almost the opposite to the modernizing trends in global food markets which are seeing increasing promotion of meat and dairy product consumption. In this manner the modern globalizing food system relies as much on breaking down and reinventing food cultures as it does on breaking down the chemical and nutrient components of foodstuffs and ingredients and reassembling them into branded consumer food products with new marketing stories about their “naturalness” and “healthiness” and “provenance”. For example. and ecological framing—and instead been turned into a package of nutrients which in the right combinations will prevent individual heart attacks and other diet-related ill-health. Until relatively recently olive oil markets were predominantly for local consumption. at the same time. It is a diet. diet. In a globalizing world. But in other ways the modern global consumer culture offers possibilities for the Mediterranean model.interviews | food for culture 287 cultures. cuisines have opened up or created new consumer markets and introduced new eating possibilities for people that were unheard of for earlier generations. And the Mediterranean diet itself has not been immune from this process. But promotional campaigns for the “healthy Mediterranean diet” especially from the 1980s onwards and devised and promoted by production interests. Consumers in European Mediterranean countries have also moved away from traditional Mediterranean diets and foodstuffs in recent decades. the Mediterranean “model” might be regarded as both under threat and. As a result the diet of Mediterranean countries today relies more on both sugars and saturated fat and childhood obesity rates are now higher in some Mediterranean countries than compared to northern Europe. gastronomy.

industrial olive groves expanded primarily into agricultural land with high quality soils. and even choice is limited to macro-issues such as price and convenience.” The growth in olive oil consumption has therefore had profound ecological impacts leading to a structural transformation of Mediterranean landscapes. is the impact on local and traditional Mediterranean olive groves. This then raises the question of how to internationalize the Mediterranean model in a culturally appropriate way. First. agro-chemicals and mechanization. Spain. some of the downstream production implications may be unexpected and not necessarily desirable over the longer-term and the consumption impact in relation to public health objectives might be minimal. The case of olive oil also serves as a lesson in how it is often difficult for consumers in a globalized food system to connect to the environmental consequences of their consumption patterns. Many of these were abandoned and modern. . This intensification has been especially pronounced in Andalusia. consumption patterns. food economies.288 eating planet these production-consumption changes. for local food systems and global consumers. but has also meant major structural changes in land use. intensive. whereas consumer choice itself embraces a much more complex set of demands and aspirations. This has enabled much higher productivity and modernization of industrial processes. both health and ecological principles together are key consumer concerns and a repositioning of an authentic Mediterranean diet seems well placed to reconnect with these concerns and aspirations. in addition to public health and nutrition. As noted from the olive oil case study. From such a perspective we have to ask (and provide answers if we are serious) about what would be the impact of its large-scale adaptation on agricultural practices. In the food policy world there has been a reluctance to confront the true scope of consumer culture—all too often consumer culture is reduced to “choice”. mono-cultural production plantations were set up which rely upon irrigation systems.34 Increasingly. in food. As Scheidel and Krausmann write: “While traditionally rain fed olive trees were grown mainly on marginal soils. The Mediterranean diet when set in the context of the industrial food consumer culture war raises many questions about its implementation as a potential new “model” for a healthier and sustainable diet.

such that. and the recovery of traditional flavors capable of being renewed in the context of contemporary tastes. through a critical operation that allows us to preserve the best of the gastronomic tradition. an alliance among diverse subjects. What’s involved is the revitalization of the aspects of conviviality. . the environment. and joy of living bound up with food We need to bring back to life a number of fundamental dynamics typical of the gastronomic cultures that are most keenly aware of the link between food and person. while still preserving the distinctive characteristic of competition in the relationship among players in a single sector.action plan | food for culture 289 action plan culture. What is needed is a concerted effort. it becomes capable of implementing cooperative games aimed at the promotion of a new nutritional and dietary paradigms. the return to a healthy relationship with the territory and with the context of the raw material by focusing on the excellence of the ingredients. including the public institutions—now increasingly worried about the devastating consequences of the mistaken nutritional choices being made by their own citizens—to redirect the lifestyles and ways of eating toward forms of consumption that are more sustainable in terms of health. teach a new ecology of food We must establish a grand overriding pact among all the actors of the world of food. taste. The scale of the challenge is such that it demands a capacity for intervention that rises above the power of the individual operators. the protection of local territorial variety by preserving the wealth of identities. the transfer of knowledge and know-how tied up in the preparation of foods. and an intact social structure. such as the Mediterranean gastronomic culture.

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FAO. Masters. 8 World Bank. Justin Costa-Roberts. International Data Base.: World Bank 2010. or average quadratic displacement is an index of dispersion in experimental measurements.” 19 The standard deviation. David B. A. Testimony of Michael London: World Development Movement 2011. 2011. please see the section entitled “A New Emergency: the Dramatic Instability in Food Prices. 2008. Boston. White That datum was calculated by using the world population figure as of 31 December 2010.: Beacon. Masters. “Obesity. World Bank. FAO.920. 2009.S. diets. It measures the amount of variability of one group of data or one causal variable. The data shown in the figure above related to the last two years. Oxford: Fahamu.worldfoodprize. October 2007. For an explanation of volatility. Statistics Division. Murray. Press Conference by The President.” at http:// www.. Standard deviation measures the dispersal of data around an expected . “The State of Food Insecurity in the World”. Enfield: Publishers Group UK [distributor] 2009. Holt-Giménez. Rose Garden.” Indian Express. 29 for all | notes 299 “NAC Draft Food Bill: PDS Gets Legal Backing & Eminent Panel. U. Raj Patel. Eric. and social inequalities”.cfm?nodeID=33367&audienceID=1.373. Census Bureau. Broken markets: How financial market regulation can help prevent another global food crisis. Statistics Division. 67 Suppl 7 June 2011.. Michael M. to achieve consistency with FAO estimates for 2010 on the number of undernourished people in the world. based on FAO estimates using the Food Security Model of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). March 2011. Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can it Yield Sustainable and Equitable Ben‑ efits?. 4 5 6 7 Drewnowski. Closing the food gap: resetting the table in the land of plenty. Washington DC. The World Food Prize. 5 august 2009. Bush. Mass. Food Rebellions! Crisis and the hunger for justice. Washington D. update of 22 March 2011. 31 may 2011. 2010. March 2011. “Russia Wheat Ban Worked”. Washington DC. or typical displacement. It is important to underscore that the estimate is burdened by statistical gaps because of the lack of updated and homogenous data on malnutrition in the world. Science.907. at http://www. Statistics Division. 13 14 15 16 17 18 12 11 10 FAO. Lobell. Financial Times. Lex. “The 2011 World Food Prize Laureates. FAO. food for all 1 2 3 86 www.C. World Development Report 2008 “Agriculture Center Development”. viewed 4 November 2011.indianexpress.. George W. This agency estimated that the world population as of 22 March 2011 was 6. “Climate Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980”. 2009. March 2011. 9 Winne. Mark. Wolfram Schlenker. Nutrition reviews.

. The yield of cereals. the scientific authority for the construction of the BCFN Index of Well-being. it is the principal indicator for assessing the performance of a country or region over time. or other units. Nobel Prize for economics. feemsi. every five years on average. barley. 26 27 The Italian representative was Enrico Giovannini. It causes flooding. especially those on the Pacific Rim. 20 This weather phenomenon in the Central Pacific Ocean recurs between December and January. the following may be cited: 24 25 • The Measure of Economic Welfare (MEW) by William Nordhaus and James Tobin • The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) by the Redefining Progress Institute • The Index of Economic Well-being (IEWB) by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards • The Index of Social Health (ISH) by Fordham University • The Index of Living Standards (ILS) by the Fraser Institute • The Human Development Index (HDI) by the United Nations Development Program • The Quality of Life Index (QOL) by Ed Diener of the University of Illinois • The Index of Social Progress (ISP) by Richard Estes of the University of Pennsylvania • The BC Stats Index of Regional Indicators • The Oregon Benchmarks by the Oregon Progress Board The WWF has also launched a “Beyond GDP” track working with the European Parliament. because they benefit from exceptions (or loopholes) in the MIFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) and the MAD (Market Abuse Directive). the European Commission. in kilograms per hectare. When converted to a population GDP (GDP per capita). millet. the Legambiente Urban Ecosystem report. regions. oats. 21 Currently. the quality of life study by the magazine Italia Oggi. corn. and mixed In Italy the Enrico Mattei Foundation has published its 15th edition of the FEEM index (www. drought. based on an aggregation of variables that consider the social and environmental sustainability of development.300 eating planet value. and other disturbances. the unit of measurement of which is the square of the unit of the reference values. rye. the quality of life index of the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. unlike variance.beyond-gdp. which differ each time. 28 “Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. it allows comparisons across space and time between different countries. with a variable periodicity of three to seven years. and the Club of Rome (www. president of ISTAT. buckwheat. Generally. includes: wheat. rice. it is the first indicator used to diagnose an economic or social situation and to compare different contexts. sorghum. Developing countries that depend heavily on agriculture and fishing. 23 22 The GDP is the market value of all goods and services produced in a country over a particular period of the OECD. American economist. Professor of Economics and Chair of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and Chair of the Observatoire Français des Conjonctures Economiques. At the international level. drawn up in collaboration with Ambiente Italia and Il Sole 24 Ore. As a growth rate. Professor Fitoussi was a member of the Advisory Board of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. some European operators on the physical market and some derivatives on commodities are not subject to oversight or regulation.” 14 September 2009. are the most seriously hit. and it has the same unit of measurement as the observed values. usually one year.

10 percent to industrial production. BCFN. from the acquisition of the raw materials until the end of its life (“from cradle to grave”). 12 13 The LEI (low external input) model of agricultural production utilizes roughly 35 percent more work per hectare of land farmed than an HEI (high external input) model. and environmental context in which it is applied.. The LCA method is an objective method of evaluation and quantification of the energy and environmental loads and the potential impacts associated with a product/process/activity throughout its entire life cycle. 8 9 This represents the quantity of grain corn produced in the harvest per unit of nitrogen distributed in the tillage of durum wheat. both natural and anthropic in nature. and 5 percent to domestic consumption. 5-7 September 2011. IPM = Integrated Pest Management.” FAO. which involves an evaluation of all the phases of a productive process. For the purposes . 1990). 4 FAO/OECD “Expert Meeting on Greening the Economy with Agriculture”. social. updated to the prices of March 2011) and the cost of production of the crops. The water footprint represents the water consumption tied to the production of goods and services. see also “Global Agro-Ecological Zone Assessment input levels. Paris. Previously. food for sustainable growth “Food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging these assets” (Pretty. as correlated and for sustainable growth | notes 301 29 30 OECD. 2007. People reporting various positive and negative experiences. This represents the difference between the GMP (gross marketable production. to a substantial extent. La misurazione del benessere delle persone: il BCFN Index (2010) e La misurazione del benessere delle persone: il BCFN Index (2011). Stanhill. by the atmosphere. Even though numerous studies indicate that HEI generally has relatively better yields (Badgley et al. LEI agriculture utilizes roughly 50 percent less energy per hectare than an HEI model. 3. The carbon footprint expresses the total amount of GHG (greenhouse gases) that represent those substances present in the atmosphere. Factbook 2010. 14 The difference in yield between HEI and LEI is a topic that is still being extensively discussed.” IIASA and FAO (2010). and by the clouds. 2005). 2 3 1 FAO. 10 11 “Save and grow—A policymaker’s guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production. The importance of this technique is due to its innovative approach. that are transparent to the solar radiation reaching the earth but which are able to contain. 2011. 5 6 7 The ecological footprint measures the biologically productive area of sea and land that is necessary to regenerate the resources consumed by a human population as well as to absorb the corresponding waste products. 2008. the infrared radiation emitted by the earth’s surface. OECD-FAO. the yield of each type of model of production depends on the economic. Roughly 85 percent of the human water footprint is linked to agricultural (and animal) production. “Agricultural Outlook 2011-2020”.

University of Oxford.. British Heart Foundation.” 1999. Blackburn H. National Nutrition Survey.. 2003. Keys A. Health Economics Research Centre. 2001. Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Survival in a Greek Population.S.. Djordjevic B. The Japan Dietetic Association. Puddu V. Therefore.” May 2006. Fact sheet n. University of Oxford.. New England Journal of Medicine. 12 13 14 Agriculture Fact Book.. 26. “Cardiovascular Diseases”. Health Promotion Research Group. for diabetes. World Health Organization.. Profiling Food Consumption in America. “European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2008”.: Seven Countries: A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease. This difference tends to decline over the long term thanks to a general improvement in the knowledge needed for an efficient application of the LEI model. University of Oxford.. for tumors. February 2007. Trichopoulos D. the American Diabetes Association. WHO Technical Report Series 916.. Cambridge. and the Società italiana di diabetologia. n. Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases”. Fidanza F. “Healthy Living. Health Economics Research Centre.B. “Healthy Living.S. 1-381. British Heart Foundation.. Department of Public Health. Van Buchem F. Nedeljkovic S. 2003. 2011. in 2007”. Volume 31. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation.. “Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U. March 2008.302 eating planet of this study.. “European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2008”. I.J. Geneva. Karvonen M. Bamia C. 1980 Harvard University Press.L. Dontas A. Virtual Water. Number 3. Diabetes Care. these are the hours of assistance received by patients suffering from coronary or cerebrovascular diseases by unpaid persons.P. Kimura N. “Health & the EU Lisbon Agenda—High Returns on Health Investment. the European Society of Cardiology.. Volume 348. Koga Y. Tokyo. the American Cancer Association.. 2009. the International Agency for Research on Cancer. 4... in a low external input (LEI) regimen of agriculture.: Lessons for Science from the Seven Countries Study. 317. Toshima H. 5 4 3 2 For the most part.” 1999.S. MA and London. is some 30 percent lower than a high external input (HEI) regimen of agriculture. Costacou T. see the FAO/OECD study: “Food Availability and natural resource use in a green economy context”.. and Blackburn H. Department of Public Health. 2009. Department of Public Health. 16 15 Tony Allan. Buzina R. food for health 1 Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America”. 1995 Springer Verlag. Aravanis C.S. the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Punsar S. Menotti A. World Health Organization.. World Health Organization. University of Oxford. and the Società italiana di cardiologia. July 2009. the yield per hectare in an LEI model is lower. For more information. let us introduce the hypothesis that the density of nitrogen in the soil. . Taylor H. the American Heart Association. Health Promotion Research Group. 15 Trichopoulou A. “Diet. and the Federation of European Cancer Societies... World Health Organization. Department of Public Health. Tauris. 6 7 8 9 10 11 We considered: for cardiovascular diseases.. American Diabetes Association. Mohacek I.. 2002.

James.. “Nutritional requirements reports”. Martin J. the part of the processes of synthesis of the more complex organic molecules out of simpler molecules of nutritious substances. Libro Bianco della Commissione Europea sull’Alimentazione. and thus.A. 28 American Academy of Pediatrics. “Feeding and Nutrition of Infants and Young Children. Subar A. Population: Results from the NIH‑AARP Diet and Health Study. Stationery Office. Mouw T. National Library of Medicine.F... Circulation. Thiebaut A. H.. Schatzkin A. Wardley.R... S. 2007..L.. for health | notes 303 De Lorgeril M.. U. Puntis. M. Mediterranean Diet. 2000 (updated reprint 2003).R.. United Kingdom. Monjaud I. Reedy J. Oxford University Press. OMS Regional Office for Europe and UNICEF.N. moreover.. Arredondo.” Pediatrics. and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications after Myocardial Infarction: Final Report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study.S.R. more than 61 million people) appear to fall under the criteria identified to define conditions of obesity (an individual is defined as obese if he or she has a body-mass index. that is. Department of Agriculture.. and the U. S.. L. FAO Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division.” OMS Regional Publications..7 percent of the American adult population falls under the criteria for what is called “extreme obesity” (with a BMI of over 40).. A. Handbook of Child Nutrition. These processes demand energy. Food and Nutrition Board (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies).S. T.. Kipnis V. Delaye J. “Effectiveness of Iron-Fortified Infant Cereal in the Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anaemia. 1999.. 25 26 Department of Health. Pena. September 2009.. In particular.. L. IOFT—International Obesity Task Force. 1991. 1989 (Report on Health and Social Subjects. “Iron Fortification of Infant Formulas. L.” Obesity. In other words. for the growth of the individual. Wirfalt E. Committee on Nutrition. Salen P. J.. W. L. National Institutes of Health. Hertrampf.. London. 2007.” Maternal and Child Health.S. 1997. P. 91(5):976-982. World Health Organization. 29 30 27 Lean body mass represents what is left of the organism after stripping of its deposited fat.. Archives of Internal Medicine.. Hollenbeck A. 2008. Taitz. 37).. Letelier. .. the prevalent part is anabolism or biosynthesis. F. Letizmann M. E. during adolescence.. Bartholmey.. Oxford. “The Impact of Obesity on Health Service Utilization and Costs on Childhood. or BMI. Traditional Risk Factors. B. IASO—International Association for the Study of Obesity. G..: Mediterranean Dietary Pattern and Prediction of All‑ Cause Mortality in a U. “Dietary Reference Intakes. of more than 30). Mamelle N. Pizarro.” 1996 revision. and specifically anabolism is responsible for the formation of the cellular components and the body’s tissues. 1993. 1999. 17 16 Mitrou P. Olivares..” 2006 The Nemours Foundation Center for Children’s Health Media is an initiative accredited by the U. Dietary Sugars and Human Disease.M.. that 4..J. n. 87. 24 The values that are reported in the charts and tables presented in this subchapter make reference to the following documents: Società Italiana di Nutrizione Umana. J. Flood A. n. “L. European Series. The National Institutes of Health believe. Chatterjee S. Dallman.S. 18 19 More than 65 percent of all Americans are either obese or overweight and approximately 31 percent of the adult population (that is to say.N. 2nd Edition..” Pediatrics. “Iron Deficiency in Toddlers. 20 21 22 23 Trasande L. complex molecules are produced from the of simpler molecules that are useful to the cell.. M. Walter.

..304 eating planet 31 Weaver.M. Nashville. Assessment.. De Rijk M. “Dietary Antioxidants and Parkinson’s Disease: The Rotterdam Study. concerning the subject of “Caloric Restriction and Longevity”. M.. Spencer C.J. “Diet and Mortality in a Cohort of Elderly People in a North European Community. Hofman A.C. Hofman A. 26:155-9. Nicolas M. Dubois F.A. 45 44 De Rich M.A... World Alzheimer Report. Shu X. 54:762-765. 2008. Bates C. Grobbee D.” Int J Epidemiol. Yang G.B. World Health Organization.” 43 World Health Organization. Breteler M. and Survival Among Elderly Participants from the United Kingdom. Zubair K... Annuario statistico italiano 2010..O. 2003. 2004.. consider—among others—the following studies: Osler M. 31:211-225. Neurology. 2007.. “Dietary Antioxidants and Parkinson’s Disease. McNaughton S.. 2010.. Assessed from a Weighed Food Record. concerning the topic “Caloric Restriction and Longevity... 49 50 51 . C. “Lipid Peroxidation and Free Radical Scavengers in Alzheimer’s Disease.2 of this document. For an in-depth study of the topic. 59:303-306. 37 38 39 40 41 42 The average number of years that a human being can hope to live. den Breeijen J. we refer the reader to section 4.2 of this position paper. Launer L. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Population Health Metrics.G. Mishra G.” Arch Neu‑ rol. For an in-depth study of the topic. we refer the reader to section 5.” Medical Hypotheses.. Hamer M. Witteman J. et al. “Dementias: the Role of Magnesium Deficiency and an Hypothesis Concerning the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease.P. Food and Nutrition Board. 1990.. Breteler N. Ann Neurol. ISTAT. Rotterdam Study.B. Schroll M. Archives of Neurology. 2006.. Società italiana di nutrizione umana. Jae Kang. Volume 56 (10). et al. Dietary Patterns. Xu W. 42:776-782. 1989. 1997.. Nabet-Belleville F. Launer L.E..H.” Pediatrics. 48 Kalmijn S. Cai H. 34 35 36 OMS. “Expert Committee Recommendations Regarding the Prevention. and treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: Summary Report. 2007.. et al. 2000. “Will Caloric Restriction and Folate Protect against AD and PD?”. Xiang Y. “Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Cognitive Decline in Women. Barlow. National Vital Statistics Reports..” Gerontology.... 35:257-282.” For an in-depth study of the topic. “The North Karelia Project—Pioneering Work to Improve National Public Health. Vanderbilt University.” 2002. “North Karelia Project”. van der Meche F. Ott A..H.. University College London. July 17-22. 1997.D.. The 9th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in Philadelphia. 2006. Jeandel C. Elsevier 2005.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.. Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis. Penin F.C. Cuny G.. A Simple Lifestyle Score Predicts Survival in Healthy Elderly Men.L. 2010.” European Journal of Public Health. “Life-Years Gained from Population Risk Factor Changes and Modern Cardiology Treatments in Ireland. Zheng W. 32 33 Sarah E.M. Dietary Patterns and Their Correlates Among Middle‑Aged and Elderly Chinese men: A Report from the Shanghai Men’s Health Study... 1997. 1997. 2003.J.” The Rotterdam Study. “Dietary fat intake and the risk of incident dementia”.J.. Li H.. National Public Health Institute.. 2011. Bennett K. Mattson M... “The Growing Years and Prevention of Osteoporosis in Later Life. United States Department of Agriculture. 46 47 Glick J..

J Gerontol Biol Sci. McMahan C. “Obesità viscerale.. Milan.M.. 1999.. Phosphorus. Lévi-Strauss.A. and Fluoride. . 7 5 4 Douglas D. Brillat-Savarin A. “Extending Healthy Lifespan—From Yeast to Humans. Washington. Hubbard G. National Academy Press. 1993. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium. 2011.. food for culture Claude Lévi-Strauss (Brussels. The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption.” Journal of Obesity..: “Diet and the Suitability of the Male Fischer 344 Rat as a Model for Aging Research”. Weindruch R. 1987. Anderson E. Numerous authors refer to the entire Anglo-Saxon world when they speak about the Western diet. Institute of Medicine. and philosopher. Ingredienti.” Mech Ageing Dev. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. 54:131-133.J. “Patient Level Pooled Analysis of 68. 5.. Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte. 8 9 The influence that North American culture has exercised over the United Kingdom in the twentieth century makes it possible now to group the two countries together in this context.S. Yu B.” Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. 6 Émile Durkheim (Épinal. Fontana for culture | notes 305 52 Abrahamsen B.500 Patients from Seven Major Vitamin D Fracture Trials in the US and Europe.. 30 October 2009 was a French anthropologist. activist.. 1997.” N Engl J Med. Masoro E. 19 November 1925) is a Polish sociologist and philosopher of Polish-Jewish origin. Sohal R. The book was originally published in French in 1826.” G Gerontol.337:986-94. Cucina Mediterranea.. 2005 Michael Pollan is a writer. 48: B27-32. et al. 2010.P. In this connection. 2 3 1 Psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The Physiology of Taste.. Magnesium. 15 April 1858—Paris.B. Albanes D. 2005. Higami Y. 2010. Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes.. Ricordi C. 11 Piroddi L. journalist. New York University Press. 28 November 1908—Paris. Food and Nutrition Board.126:913-22. “Overview of Caloric Restriction and Aging. DC. Isherwood B. 1993.” Science.. Among his contributions to scientific psychology was the application of the method of structuralist investigation to anthropological studies.. Sears B. principi dietetici e ricette al sapore di sole. 2006.J. 10 Zygmunt Bauman (Poznań. restrizione calorica ed aging. “Caloric Intake and Aging. and professor of journalism at the University of California. anthropologist. or Transcendental Gastronomy. and historian of religion. Masoro E. “Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition as a Pharmacological Approach to Treat Obesity.. Everyone Eats: Understanding Food and Culture. Cancer Research. psychologist. 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. Vitamin D. 53 54 55 56 57 58 Shimokawa I. Mondadori. 1979... New York. see also: Fontana L.

.C. Kouris-Blazos A.L. Washington. ed... in particular cardiovascular diseases. 1997..S.J... the Association for the Mediterranean Diet. “Diet and Coronary Heart Disease”. Farchi G. Fidanza F. Lekos D. Mariotti S.. MA and London.. and Blackburn H. Block G..K. 15 14 Keys A. 1995. 1995... D. Taylor H.. Schatzkin A. Kok F... 1997.. Vandenbroucke J.. Cambridge.. Lancia A. Nutrition.. Lash18 17 16 ... Journal of American Diet Association. “Coronary Heart Disease in Seven Countries”.. in: Willett W.L.S.. Feskens E.L. 1970 (Suppl to vol. 460) 1-392. Willett W.. “A prospective study of diet quality and mortality in women”.P.. Menotti A.. Schroll M. Harvard University Press. Shibata H. 1998. The Seven Countries Study: A Scientific Adventure in Cardio‑ vascular Disease Epidemiology.. Circulation.B. The association was honored by the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano for the cultural and social values embodied by the association and the conference... International Journal of Epidemiologic. 1994 Brouwer.L.. Huijbregts P. Trichopoulos D. 1997. Journal Clinical Nutri‑ tion. Van Buchem F.. Br J Nutr... Kimura N.. 1967 (Supplement to vol.: American Institute for Cancer Prevention. Nutritional Epidemiology. Djordjevic B.. 1995.. Springer Verlag. 1993.. in the Cilento... BMJ. Nutrition. Menotti A. 1-381.. and Lifestyle was founded in Pioppi.. Tokyo.. Forty years after the publication of the findings of the Seven Countries Study.S. New York: Oxford University Press..C.. “Diet and overall survival in the elderly”. 1999. Lukito W.. and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Per‑ spective. Menotti A.. Suzuki T.S.C. Wahlqvist M. Nedeljkovic S. World Cancer Research Fund. Karvonen M.. Aravanis C. Karvonen M. and the Netherlands: longitudinal cohort study”. Lessons for Science from the Seven Countries Study. Ziegler R. Mohacek I. Dontas A.. Kouris-Blazos A. Wahlqvist M. Trichopoulou A. van der Heide R. Dontas A. Kumagai S.. BMJ. Monti M. 1987. Ancel Keys and the other scientists that contributed to the Seven Countries Study pursued their research in Pioppi. American Journal of Clinical Nutritional. Kimura N.G. with the participation of illustrious scientists and personalities from all over the world. Food. Fidanza F.. Schatzkin A. 2nd ed. as an important source of popularization of a proper lifestyle. Gnardellis C.S. Journal Nutrition Health Aging... Rasanen L. Puddu V. Buzina R. “Effect of food intake pattern on all-cause mortality in the community elderly: a 7-year longitudinal study”.. Osler M. “Are the advantages of the Mediterranean diet transferable to other populations? A cohort study in Melbourne. Graubard B. van der Heide-Wessel C.S. Toshima H. Van Buchem F. Fidanza F..K.I. Trichopoulou A... Harris T. Haga H.J. Puddu V. Australia”.... “Dietary diversity and subsequent mortality in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study”. Acta medica scandinavica. Aravanis C. Blackburn H. In the years that followed.W. Kant A... Watanabe S. JAMA.. Nube M.M.306 eating planet Ancel Benjamin Keys (1904-2004) an American doctor and physiologist was known as one of the first proponents of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet as a way of combatting many pathologies common in the west. “Diet and mortality in a cohort of elderly people in a north European community”.P... Taylor H... “Dietary pattern and 20 year mortality in elderly men in Finland. Seven Countries: A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coro‑ nary Heart Disease. Schairer C.J. Djordjevic B.. Kant A. 12 Keys A.. 1999. 13 Keys A. Utrecht.P. 41) 1-211. “Relationship between eating patterns meeting recommendations and subsequent mortality in 20 years”... 2000. Blackburn H. Italy.. It held a conference on the Mediterranean diet at Pioppi from 24 to 27 September 2009. Koga Y.. 1980. “Epidemiological Studies Related to Coronary Heart Disease: Characteristics of Men Aged 40-59 in Seven Countries”. Punsar S. “Scoring of prudent dietary habits and its relation to 25-year survival”. Grossi P. Kromhout D. Buzina R......

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. production and consumption trends. Hans Herren. and convivial eating? The paradoxes of the global food system. the cultural value of food. Paul Roberts. and the effects of food production and consumption on health and the environment are some of the major themes of Eating Planet 2012. Raj Patel.EATING PLANET NUTRITION TODAY: A CHALLENGE FOR MANKIND AND FOR THE PLANET Can we produce food for all the inhabitants of Earth and distribute it fairly? Is it possible to make the food system more sustainable to help protect the environment and save resources? What are ways to provide better nutrition that help people maintain good health over the long term? Within the great culinary traditions. Carlo Petrini. fair. is it possible to rediscover the ingredients for healthy. Alex Kalache. in collaboration with the Worldwatch Institute. the first global report on food and nutrition by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. Vandana Shiva. Marion Nestle. Aviva Must. Joaquín Navarro-Valls. Shimon Peres. Analysis of these issues and discussions about potential solutions are enriched by the contributions of prestigious experts: Tony Allan. Ricardo Uauy. Mario Monti. Michael Heasman. Ellen Gustafson.