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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11 The Role of Vegetables 1.13 The Importance of Information 1.10 Not by Calories Alone 1.5 1.7 1.6 1. Worldwatch Institute: It’s Possible to Work at All Scales.2 1.12 Bringing Healthy Food Everywhere 1.eating planet 2012 Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition nutrition today: a challenge for mankind and for the planet introduction Guido Barilla.1 1. BCFN: the Answers to Three Paradoxes preface Mario Monti. The Political Challenge of Food executive summary XV 3 XI 1. Small and Large food for all 1.14 The Role of Health Structures .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 1.4 1. the challenges of food introduction Danielle Nierenberg.3 1.8 1.

Agricultural Policies Must Take into Consideration the Health and Well‑being of Human Beings action plan .VI eating planet food for culture 34 36 36 38 38 39 42 1.10 Principal Results of the 2011 BCFN Index 2.3 Possible Areas for Action a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices 2. In Access the Key Factor Is Diversity Ellen Gustafson.16 New Computer and Communications Technologies 1.8 Subjective Approach Versus Objective Approach: Different Outlooks in Terms of Measuring Well-being 2.5 Variables of the Model 2.4 The BCFN Evaluation Model 2.18 Incentivize Employment of the Young the three objectives of food 1.9 The BCFN Indices of Well-being and Sustainability of Well-being 2.15 Relaunching Agricultural Systems 1.11 The Different Dimensions of Sustainability interviews Paul Roberts.7 Gross Domestic Product Versus Indicators of Well-being 2.1 The Global Scope of Food Security and Access Problems 2.2 The “Food Paradox”: Underlying Causes 2. food for all introduction Raj Patel. How to Respond to Market Excesses facts & figures access to food: present and future challenges 2.17 Popularization “In the Field” 1.19 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.

and sustainable food for the environment 3.4 3.3 3.7 The Sustainability of the Systems Used to Grow Durum Wheat: the Barilla Case the water economy and the emergency it confronts 3.5 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 3.12 Water Privatization and its Implications interviews Hans R.2 3.8 The Availability of Water: from Abundance to Scarcity 3.table of contents VII 3. Herren. Paying What’s Fair facts & figures the double pyramid: healthy food for people.9 The Right of Access to Water: Reality and Prospects 3. The Challenging Transition Toward Sustainable Agriculture Tony Allan. food for sustainable growth introduction Carlo Petrini.10 Choices and Behaviors for Sustainable Water Consumption 3. Virtual Water Between Underconsumption and Poor Management action plan .1 3.11 National Water Footprints and the Trade in Virtual Water 3.6 Current Leading Agricultural Paradigms 3.

Longevity.5 The Spread of Obesity and Overweight in Children and Adolescents and the International Economic and Social Impact 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 .11 Inflammatory States and Caloric Restriction: Possible Interventions to Slow the Aging Processes 4.9 Demographics. Nutrition and Health facts & figures food for a healthy life 4.12 Recommendations interviews Marion Nestle.3 The Most Common Guidelines and Dietary Models 4. Food. The Responsibility for Children Must Be Shared Alex Kalache.10 Diet and Lifestyle and Their Effects on Longevity and Diseases of Aging 4.8 Recommendations longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition 4. and the Economic and Social Impacts of the Principal Diseases 4. Agriculture.2 Guidelines for a Healthy Way of Eating and Lifestyle 4. Companies Must Behave Responsibly Aviva Must.1 A Few Key Figures: Global Trends in Chronic Diseases and their Social and Economic Impacts 4.7 Guidelines for Healthy Diets and Sound Lifestyles in Children and Adolescents 4.4 Recommendations food and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow 4.6 Nutrients in the Different Phases of Growth 4.VIII eating planet 4. food for health introduction Ricardo Uauy.

Whoever Controls Food Controls Democracy Michael Heasman.1 5.8 The Great Culinary Traditions 5. The Consumer Culture War and the Food System: What Does This Mean for the Mediterranean Model? action plan notes .13 The Mediterranean Diet and Commensality 5.14 Mediterraneity Today: the Decline of a Model 5.10 Toward a New Vision of Nutrition 5.4 5.15 How to Recover the Significance of Mediterraneity interviews the great culinary traditions and the reality of food today Joaquín Navarro-Valls.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.12 The Salient Characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet 5. We Must Construct a Culture of Responsibility Vandana Shiva. 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 5.6 5.5 5.9 Food Today: Challenges and Perspectives 5.11 Guidelines for Redefining Man’s Relationship with Food the mediterranean culture: the value of a lifestyle and a culinary tradition 5. food for culture introduction Shimon Peres. Food for Peace—a Call for the Mobilization of Goodwill 242 facts & figures the cultural dimension of food 5.3 5.2 5. Gender.table of contents IX 5.


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

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

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


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

XVI eating planet lem emerges from the state of acute emergency. “how” to undertake the distribution desired) come back full-force into the domestic and global political arena. as far as food security is concerned. the eating habits of consumers—is fundamental. what is needed. But now. together with the European Council and the European Commission. 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). or in a group of countries. But even the conclusive point on the production chain—which ends where the food reaches the end users. Quite to the contrary. governance does not mean blocking entrepreneurial initiatives: governance means governing the markets in general terms. * Mario Monti (Prime Minister of Italy and also the Minister of Economy and Finance of the Italian Republic. This. we have seen to their implementation and supervision. is less grave in the European Union. and businessmen. that is. in a country. are the protagonists of the market. More specifically. 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. is where the food sector most closely resembles the financial sector. 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. and now those rules will remain in place even once the emergency is over. on a European level. but also due to considerations of individual and family health. if you like. President of the Bocconi University. Therefore. 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 distribution (that is to say. understood as the possibility of achieving access to food. all the considerations concerning equality. it is clear that a potential reinforcement of global governance is fundamental. beginning of course with the idea of once again assigning a central role to food in the international political and economic program. 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. is not an excessively ambitious model of planning to be implemented worldwide. inequality. For various reasons that have to do with issues of sustainability. Member of the . There are a few proposals on the subject that I consider to be effective. in my opinion. like users and consumers. thanks to the excellent work done by the European Parliament. Let us take as an example the financial crisis: after all. Governance does not mean repression.

. 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.preface XVII Advisory Board of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition from February 2009 to November 2011.


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


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

in contrast. 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.4 eating planet • preventing the cultivation of crops for the production of biofuels from inter• regulating excessive financial speculation on food commodities. but rather a case of increasing in real terms the quality of the public decision-making processes. restricted to its distinctive economic traits. then. given the impact that it will have on the global balances of production in the realm of agriculture. Moreover. There is a close tie between variations in stock and price fluctuations of food commodities. in an attempt to face up to a health-care emergency that is linked to the rapid spread of metabolic. . 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. in the final analysis. a rise in the stock-to-use ratio tends to drive down prices. not merely a matter of defining better indicators. to an increase in the price levels while. cardiocirculatory. • creating a multilateral system of food reserves and improving transparency in terms of volume flows and stocks. In particular. and tumoral diseases and illnesses that derive from improper ways of eating. 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. over a sufficiently broad time horizon. This aspect is taking on concrete outlines in developed nations. Even though fering with the cultivation of crops for food. This approach will also become crucial for the developing nations. and environmental conditions in which people live. the actual role that this phenomenon plays in influencing the increase in price levels of agricultural goods is still being widely debated. economic. generally speaking. politic. Instead we should include the vast array of real facts that contribute to define the overall social. 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. This is not. it has been observed that a reduction in the stockto-use ratio of cereal grains corresponds. in a more transparent form.

) and reduced emissions. etc. and management tools. 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. adaptation to atmospheric phenomena.). The factors at play are numerous (quality of the soil. It is particularly important to spread practices. 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. in fact.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. something that has positive effects on one’s health and also helps to safeguard the environment. water. and technologies to increase water productivity (more crop per drop) and reduce wastage. focuses on parents and on the school system for the nutritional education of the young. . 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. models. The various approaches to the Double Pyramid that are proposed. entail smaller environmental impacts in terms of the consumption of natural resources (land. etc. built in order to meet the challenge of phenomena of relative scarcity. promoting the necessary investments and removing restraints of a technical and political nature. it is therefore necessary to undertake a process of collective responsibility that. know-how. The problems that arise in connection with water resources must be solved with integrated policies. without leaving the children themselves out entirely. availability of water. 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.

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

but rather to live healthier and longer. recovering age-old flavors capable of being renewed into a contemporary taste. though not so much to achieve a longer lifespan. for a significantly longer time. suffers from at least one chronic illness and roughly 50 percent are afflicted with two or more chronic pathologies. What is needed is a concerted effort. protecting local territorial varieties by preserving the wealth of identities. remains capable of implementing cooperative games aimed at the promotion of a new culinary paradigm. in fact. as well as the benefits that can be obtained through regimens of caloric restriction with optimal nutrition. Therefore. taste. 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. an alliance among the various entities that. transferring the expertise and know-how linked to the preparation of foods. It is a matter of making the most of these aspects of conviviality. and an intact social structure. while it preserves the distinctive character of competition in the relationships among the operators in a single sector. 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. 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. . the environment. food for culture recovering and spreading the elements of culture. 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. The scale of the challenge is so great that it demands capacities to intervene that vastly outweigh the power of individual players. such as the Mediterranean culinary culture.executive summary 7 sixty-five). action must be taken. in order to reorient the lifestyles and ways of eating toward modes of consumption that are more sustainable in terms of health. through a critical operation that makes it possible to preserve the best of the culinary tradition. which may involve research into such particularly innovative fields as the link between inflammatory states and the onset of chronic illnesses.

15 1.8 1.table of contents introduction Worldwatch Institute: It’s Possible to Work at All Scales.12 1.19 Increasing Awareness about the Importance of Agriculture .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 1.7 1.11 1.17 1.4 1.18 Relaunching Agricultural Systems New Computer and Communications Technologies Popularization “In the Field” Incentivize Employment of the Young the three objectives of food 1.9 Rethinking the Green Revolution Yields and Environmental Sustainability Food Sustainability and Climate Change Integrated Animal Husbandry for Better Sustainability food for health 1.3 1.16 1.10 1.1 1.13 1.5 How Rich Nations Squander Food New Techniques for the Transformation of Food Eating Better School Lunches and Nutrition Buying Local food for sustainable growth 1.6 1.2 1. Small and Large by Danielle Nierenberg food for all 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. we identify existing challenges in the food system and highlight ways to alleviate hunger and poverty while also protecting the environment. . In this chapter.

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

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

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

It’s been roughly half a century after the Green Revolution. at dinner tables in Italy.5 billion people in the world are obese or overweight and thus at higher risk of diabetes. 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 But the challenges we face will not be easy to overcome. however. cardiovascular disease. we can build a better strategy. and socially just and sustainable. The solutions are out there—in market garden projects in rural Niger. on rooftop gardens in Vietnam. drought. and disease. yet nearly 1 billion people in the world go to bed hungry each night and several billion suffer micronutrient deficiencies (figure 1. in edible school yards in the United States. Agriculture is at a turning point. This needs to change. If we begin now. and in communities all over the world—but they are not getting the attention and the investment they need. One result is that 1.1). .introduction | the challenges of food 13 ries but also essential vitamins and micronutrients and tend to be resistant to heat. environmentally. and other maladies. vision. at research institutes in Taiwan.

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. Instead of being able to buy nutritious beans.6 Nearly 4 million Somalis. 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. reminding the world that hunger and malnourishment continue to be a cruel reality for many of the world’s poor. where hunger receded dramatically throughout the 1990s. making any increase in food prices especially painful. 41 million in Bangladesh. however. is now creeping back up. the number is 53 million. and corruption. 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. many households can afford only staple crops such as rice or cassava. violence. Some 11 million people are at risk of starvation in Ethiopia.8 Food prices also continue to increase (figure 1. Kenya. “Traditional ways of looking at hunger are unhelpful because they focus on aggregates and increasing production. more than 1 billion people are undernourished—a number that. and protect the environment. World Bank data show that food prices increased 15 percent for many developing countries between October 2010 and January 2011 alone.9 According to Olivier De Schutter. Asia has the greatest number of hungry people: 225 million people in India. Somalia.2). that price spike has pushed an estimated 44 million people into poverty. which fill people up but provide very few nutrients. Worldwide. the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. In Latin America and the Caribbean. development agencies. Djibouti.10 Preventing the millions and millions of tons of food waste that occurs annually. and Uganda. or vegetables.7 The problem of hunger is not confined to Africa. According to the Bank. eggs. decrease malnutrition. meat. 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. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia many farmers and consumers are earning just US$1–2 per day. for example. 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.14 eating planet food for all Famine reemerged in the Horn of Africa in 2011. the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) Food Price Index has recorded a 70-percent jump in international food prices. after falling steadily throughout the 1980s and 1990s.” Governments. could be a way to help fill bellies and pocket books in both devel- . Since 2007. more than half the population. South Sudan. are in need of immediate emergency aid. as well as of pervasive conflict.

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

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

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

“we can do the program. Food from the Hood is a group of student gardeners that began in Los Angeles after the 1992 riots.8 percent where they weren’t available. an NGO in N’Ganon village. “it’s easier for them to become better students. The students grow kale. organized a women’s group to start growing organic food and cook meals for the children.3 percent. radishes. onions. and 16 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.4 school lunches and nutrition Ghana began its own Home Grown School Feeding Program in 2005.000 pupils in 200 schools across every district in the country. and other crops.26 The children who did attend school received meals that were often of poor nutritional quality because of inadequate funding. The program is estimated to have assisted more than 1 million children in 2010. By the end of 2006.25 In Cote d’Ivoire. where a national school lunch program is funded through the government. but the WFP estimates that approximately 90 percent of participants purchase vegetables and meat from local producers. school lunches reach 1. Not only did yields and incomes decrease. tomatoes.5 buying local In the same way.8 million primary school children and 700. cabbages. Mariam Ouattara.24 School feeding programs can be especially important in areas where there’s conflict. while the surplus is sold to help maintain the garden and the canteen. haricot blanc (white beans). . Enrollment in schools where meals were served increased by 20.23 In Thailand.27 The project started with 300 students working with about the same number of women in the community to grow rice. eggplants. Thailand’s school food program does not mandate where individual schools get their food. compared to 2.000 kindergartners.” says Ouattara. says Ouattara. 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. School retention rates increased by around 10 percent for schools with the programs. eggplant.”28 1.” Their hope is that by educating children they can also change how parents cook and eat vegetables through “trickle-up education. Twenty-five percent of what they grow is given to the needy and the rest is sold for profit. As a result. the program was reaching 69. the president of Chigata Fettes et Development (Women and Development). half of which has been funneled into scholarships for students. The students and teachers know how to keep the operation going. Much of this food is eaten by the children in the school canteen. whether it’s gang violence in Los Angeles or political violence in Cote d’Ivoire. roughly 30 percent of all school children in the country.18 eating planet 1. food aid in sub-Saharan Africa is now coming from farmers in the region rather than from thousands of miles away. Much of the maize. so that “even if we’re not there.” And when children eat. but many children stopped going to school because of the violence.

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

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

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

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

They’re also helping farmers find ways to add value to cassava through processing the crop into gari and foo‑foo. In many parts of Africa. cassava provides a daily source of energy. The introduction of these improved varieties has already provided food for some 50 million people in Nigeria. .woman peeling cassava in ibadan. nigeria. 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.

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

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

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

the International Rice Research Institute reports that these systems have resulted in 20 percent higher crop yields. more grains. 43 One reason for the resilience to storms is that rice plants grown under SRI practices are generally stronger. Mixed-crop and livestock agriculture systems in communities in China. and Taiwan allow farmers to raise hogs. This helps create deep root systems that are better able to resist drought. and using a minimum amount of water instead of flooding fields. They can resist the mechanical shear power of wind and rain. The manure from the pigs is used to fertilize the tilapia ponds and rice fields. demonstrated higher resistance and greater sustainability than conventional farms immediately after the storm. insects.42 When Typhoon Pedring hit the Philippines in October 2011. helping reduce the labor needed for weeding. professor of government and international agriculture at Cornell University. the Philippines. in addition to having larger panicles. 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. and herbicides. and enhancing their flavor.44 According to Erika Styger. strengthening the plants. director of programs for the SRI International Network and Resources Center.” explains Norman Uphoff. Practicing farmers have seen their net incomes rise by 80 percent. “SRI plants. or those engaged in agro-ecological or sustainable land management practices. while also increasing yields. SRI practices include transplanting seedlings when they are very young and growing them widely apart. and rice on the same farm. have larger root systems and thicker. This type of system generates little waste and provides diverse and stable sources of food and income for farmers.41 Agro-ecological practices also help farmers better cope with natural disasters. chickens. weeding regularly. stronger tillers (stalks). which caused millions of dollars of damage in the country.40 These systems can also work with other animals. 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. synthetic fertilizers. The study found the “sustainable” farms. 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. and other pests. In Bangladesh. tilapia. for sustainable growth | the challenges of food 27 eat weeds. and heavier grains. SRI increases the productivity of resources used in rice cultivation by reducing requirements for water. adding compost from organic matter to the soil. it killed at least 90 people and caused an estimated US$250 million in damage to the country’s agricultural sector. weed seeds. the domino effect of falling down with a strong wind cannot happen as . and the duck droppings provide nutrients for the rice plants.

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

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

researchers and policymakers have paid less attention to the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Vegetable production is the most sustainable and affordable way of alleviating micronutrient deficiencies among the poor.” . but just US$15. and more than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from one or the other. starkly describes the importance of vegetables in the diets of children: in Mali.30 eating planet millet. sorghum. has about 100 grams of vegetables available per person per day. While poor nations receive a great deal of attention for high malnutrition rates. 49 1.3). the director general of AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center. and iodine—afflict some 1 billion people worldwide. and this rate is expected to rise. a research institute that works in Asia and Africa. are a luxury for many of the world’s poor. iron. Obesity and malnutrition are the most obvious and painful symptoms of a broken food system. lower rates of vegetable consumption are linked to higher rates of mortality in children under five years.7 million in fruit and vegetable research. that leads to illness and disease. and other countries. the Philippines. Not surprisingly. blindness.11 the role of vegetables Dr. Dyno Keatinge. and degrade performance in work and in school. and anemia. though. Often referred to as “hidden hunger. In 2002. And while Africans in particular get most of their calories from starchy crops. Sixty-three percent of global deaths are caused by noncommunicable diseases. But ignoring vegetables and fruits can have disastrous consequences. the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research invested US$118 million in research on cereals. such as cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases as well as type 2 diabetes. Tanzania. Increase consumption of vegetables.51 According to Olivier De Schutter.50 It’s not just the lack of vegetables and other nutritious foods in our diets. which is at the low end of a scale that reaches 800. especially among children. there’s been very little funding for research on how to make those starchy staples palatable and nutritious. unfortunately.48 Vegetables. Low. Niger. Niger. however. that result from unhealthy and inadequate diets. Niger has one of the highest child malnutrition and mortality rates in the world. for example. further crippling communities already facing poverty and other health problems.” micronutrient deficiencies—including lack of Vitamin A. and vegetables.and middle-income countries often also face a double burden of under-nutrition and over-nutrition. Many farmers who once grew vegetables have had to focus their attention on staple crops. and mortality declines and the average weight of children increases (figure 1. They lead to poor mental and physical development. “Our food systems create sick people and failure to act decisively on this issue kills almost 3 million adults each year.

IFPRI’s February 2011 conference in New Delhi. or health—are inextricably linked. Rachel Nugent. “Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health. well-nourished. It is obvious that the health sector alone cannot prevent all these premature deaths and chronic illnesses. All of our efforts—whether in agriculture.” 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.53 At the conference. deputy director of global health at the Council. according to research by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. researchers. and other food-related health problems. Source: FAOSTAT 2010. “The costs of dealing with NCDs are soaring in both rich and poor countries. NGOs. obesity. and policymakers from around the world to discuss the issue.”54 . and poor health are denying billions of people the opportunity for a healthy. Dr. NCDs will cost $30 trillion globally between now and 2030. “We are standing face to face with some serious challenges: hunger. and WHO 2011. We are more likely to succeed in addressing the challenges if we understand these links and put them to work for people’s for health | the challenges of food 31 a 300 children < 5 mortality rate (1/1.3 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. IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan said. and productive life. and the poor of the world are the most vulnerable. malnutrition. nutrition. said.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.” brought scientists.

one of the newest parts of the AmeriCorps program.13 the importance of information Many consumers are simply unaware about what foods are nutritious. for some time now the USDA has created and manages a database that provides a classification of all food products and gives their ingredients.12 bringing healthy food everywhere Creation of those linkages to make agriculture healthier is happening. but students in schools working with Food Corps will receive at least 10 hours. but we also need to learn how to prepare vegetables in ways that help maintain their nutritional quality. and national media.S. and researchers to know which foods deliver the biggest bang for the buck nutritionally. The Center recently released its Nutritional Quality Index. The Trust runs community-based nutrition and food systems programs that have helped reduce the number of obese children there by half. school gardens. data-driven measure of the benefits of individual foods. To solve that problem. including vitamins and minerals. under the leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama. Food Corps is working to address the country’s childhood obesity epidemic by focusing on nutrition education. the World Veg- . and daily diets. and farm-to-school programs. Food Corps has received support from food policy activists. which may help it reach its ambitious goal of reducing childhood obesity rates to below 5 percent by 2030. the White House launched the nationwide initiative Let’s Move. American children on average receive only 3. farmers.32 eating planet 1.55 Although the program is relatively young—it was established in 2009 and began operating in 2010—it has already achieved much. But researchers like Chuck Benbrook of the U.-based Organic Center are helping consumers make more informed food decisions.4 hours of nutrition education each year. Food Corps service members partner with local organizations in sites across the country. moreover. A more broadly based U.S. nutrient-rich food choices. and is the only profiling system that estimates overall nutritional quality based on 27 nutrients. while also bringing in new energy and ideas. and not just in laboratories or at conferences.56 In 2010. Educating farmers and consumers about growing and buying more nutritious crops is important. 1. foundations. a new tool that helps consumers identify smart. It enables consumers. helping to support community initiatives that are in touch with local needs. Vegetables are often cooked so long that they lose most of their nutrients. meals. One successful model is The Food Trust in north Philadelphia in the United States.57 Moreover. It is also occurring at the grassroots level in kitchens and back yards all over the world. program is Food Corps. The NQI provides a comprehensive.

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


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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-

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

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

wheat. Institutions such as agricultural cooperatives can help farmers operate more efficiently and earn more money than they can as individuals. This flood of speculative investment has contributed to volatility in agricultural markets. and healthy food. such as national school feeding programs and increased support for agricultural extension services. leveraged. speculators then sell these in the marketplace. and the UN’s Olivier De Schutter has argued publicly for less speculation and more transparency in agricultural markets. affordable.84 In addition.19 increasing awareness about the importance of agriculture Nations must recognize the inherent right of every human being to safe. making rural areas and urban communities more livable. allowing traders to hedge against risk. this seems like an ideal scenario—farmers are guaranteed payment for their crops and food prices can be determined ahead of time. Some progress has been made in this area: the United States has already passed laws to limit speculation. including land. which aims to improve food access for the country’s poorest communities.83 A future is a financial practice which allows traders around the world to purchase a good for a fixed price. with grave impacts on the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. farmers need access to markets where they can get a fair price. Clamping down on food price speculation—especially prices for maize. Countries such as Ghana and Brazil have already reduced the number of people suffering from hunger through effective government action. and even reducing climate change. distribute. and rice. enhancing communities’ economic power and as well as their social service networks. After investing in futures. insurance. who lack access to the most basic aspects of domestic support. 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. and speculated on for profit. however. At first. 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. and bargaining power in the value chain. and back up that right with appropriate policies. and/or sell food. cooperatives act as both business and social groups. decreasing poverty. By helping farmers come together to grow. who need stable markets and a fair price for their yields. 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. India recently approved a draft of the National Food Security Act. thus creating stability for farmers and consumers alike. but also causing wild fluctuations in the actual prices of the good. credit.85 1. creating jobs for youth.

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

4 2.2 2.table of contents introduction How to Respond to Market Excesses by Raj Patel facts & figures access to food: present and future challenges 2.10 2.6 The BCFN Evaluation Model Variables of the Model Strategies for Controlling Volatility new tools to measure and promote well-being 2.9 2.8 2.3 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 2.7 2.5 2.1 2.11 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 .

health. We need to better understand how to ensure better governance of the agroalimentary system on a global scale. and the environment? . 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.

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

with its emphasis on meat and empty calories means that a great deal of land is diverted toward producing feed for animals. and costs. pricing the poorest out of the grain market. traders themselves have testified that they’re playing commodities markets at the expense of consumers. the spread of the western diet. 4 higher levels of liquidity are not to blame for the increased price swings.3 Third. . With poor grain storage systems.1 Price oscillations on the food markets Source: Worthy. 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. 2011. (See graph below. higher oil prices have driven up production and transport costs for food. in food markets. 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. Fifth. It must be said this is controversial—economists are embroiled in heated debate about whether speculators are to blame for the problems. increasing financial speculation has tied the price of food to other commodities.) On the other hand. increasing poverty. Fourth. reduced social safety nets.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.5 and this wouldn’t be the first time that reality has failed to live up to the models of economists. These short term phenomena sit on top of a food system that has made shocks to the food system spread quickly.

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

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

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. WoRlD 53% In developing countries.800 calories per person per day.550 calories. while the average per capita daily calorie requirement for an individual adult is 2.800 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  .  food for all WoRlD FooD SYSTEm  2.50 eating planet 2.

distribution.3 billion PEOPLE ARE OBESE OR OVERWEIGHT It is estimated that 1. 29 million DEAD EVERY YEAR Approximately 29 million people die every year   of diseases linked to excessive consumption of food  1.3 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%. this increase helped to generate new conditions of poverty for 44 million people. transformation. or wasted in the processes of preserving. destroyed. or consumption . Over the same period.

starvation being the first and most tragic. However. This tragedy takes an array of different forms. 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. and lack of access to plentiful drinking water and basic pharmaceuticals. Undernourishment and malnutrition have serious harmful effects on the human immune system. 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). throughout the world. They stem from the chronic or acute conditions of undernourishment and malnutrition that plague many poor and developing countries. lack of basic knowledge about nutrition prevents mothers from taking adequate care of their children. poor economic and social conditions tend to exacerbate the link between malnutrition and disease. it becomes impossible to live with dignity. and they too can be devastating. making potential workers unsuited to employment and further marginalizing the unwell in social and economic terms. social conflicts—especially fights over control of natural and agricultural resources—tend to undermine the potential of nations to develop socially and economically. and the rights to a healthy life and peaceful coexistence are undermined. inadequate health care. In many cases. This relationship is reinforced by a broader system of allied conditions that are typically associated with situations of inadequate nutrition. such as poor hygiene. There is also a range of secondary impacts on human health and welfare. The world is now experiencing a silent tragedy caused by humanity’s inability to produce and distribute sufficient quantities of food. Where food is lacking. already aggravated by climate change. This would occur mainly . Moreover.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. 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. They augment susceptibility to diseases and increase the gravity and duration of the ensuing illnesses.

2). prices for several leading food commodities began rising again.11. Indeed. in the months between late 2010 and early 2011. the overall situation shows a serious worsening over the last 15 years at the global level.access to food: present and future challenges | food for all 53 1. This points to the real possibility of a new rise in the . reaching and outstripping the levels recorded in 2008. where food and water issues exacerbate unresolved ethnic religious and economic tensions.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. That development was made possible by an improved global economic situation and a decline in the prices of foodstuffs compared to the peaks in 2008.6 percent).9 billion people. In 2010. 12 Moreover. 2.050 1. Still.4 percent of the world’s population of about 6.2 Undernourished people on earth (millions of people) Source: FAO. 2011 (the data shown for 2009 and 2010 are estimated values).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. with a drop of 98 million (9. the total number of undernourished people on Earth was roughly 925 million (figure 2. data trends show that inadequate nutrition affects 13.000 950 900 850 800 750 1. The slight decline of those numbers during 2010 is a positive development and marks a change of direction from previous years. in developing areas.

therefore. it is estimated that the number of undernourished people dropped by 5. As the reader can see in figures 2. more than twice the number for sub-Saharan Africa (201. inadequate nutrition in Asia affected 554.54 eating planet overall number of people suffering from hunger in the developing countries. In Asia. thanks to a series of focused interventions undertaken by individual governments.2 million of people. The same thing happened in Latin America (a decline of 7.4. In 2010. In Latin America. radically different trends have been observed in different areasover the past 15 years. 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. we foresee a general worsening of the overall picture. that is.5 million people15 in the period from 2005 to 2007. Ethiopia. with a further deterioration in the wake of the economic downturn and the food crisis of 2008-2009. while in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa the number was roughly 32. Unless this situation is addressed and resolved very rapidly. China. these were initiatives and measures aimed at social and economic . where increases were recorded. 16 The trend. Indonesia. 16 percent of that population was suffering from hunger. The opposite happened. in 2007 98 percent of the world’s undernourished people lived in those countries. respectively of 36. it could well lead to a jump of 64 million in the total number of undernourished people.3 percent).3 million (+22 percent) and 12. in sub-Saharan Africa and in the regions of North Africa and the Middle East. concentration in asia.13 Over the mid. A closer look at developing countries shows that Asia is the region with the highest number of undernourished people. moreover.3 million) in the period from 2005 to long term. More than 40 percent of those people live in China and India.7 percent (approximately 33 million people) in the period from 1990 to 2007. It is also worth noting that two-thirds of the world’s undernourished people are concentrated in seven countries: Bangladesh. the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The greatest number of undernourished people lives in the developing nations.14 there were 835 million people living in conditions of inadequate nutrition in the developing countries. more than one out of every six people.3 and 2. India. the figures were 47 million. According to data for 2005-2007. in contrast.4 million.2 million people). showed improvement for the years from 1990 to 2007. inadequate nutrition affected a limited number of people (12.8 million (+65. and Pakistan. equal to −13. In developed countries. For the most part. on the other hand.3 percent) in the total number of undernourished people. In fact. in contrast. the trend is toward a slight decline: in fact.

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.

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

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

5 Governance of the supply chain Source: BCFN. the scope. Indeed. The following steps are essential: • return food to a central and primary role on the international political and economic agenda. • the direction of “food style. reinforce worldwide governance mechanisms. considering the assumptions. which requires quick and precise action at various levels. but also in cultural terms. and nutritional quality. Food cannot be treated simplistically as a commodity. This means that the entire food chain must be structured and governed more openly with goals of accessibility. it seems fundamental to ensure the quantity and quality of produced and distributed food.” through a communications strategy aimed at increasing general awareness not only from a nutritional point of view. 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. . 2011. and the complexity of the subject? For the five areas indicated. sustainability. What are the solutions to these problems. It also means coordinating global policies and reducing unilateral protectionist policies over time. we suggest the following.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. There is an obvious lack of governance in the overall food system.

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

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

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

in the developing countries). produc- . which in turn create pressure on natural resources and environmental sustainability. June 2010 through May 2011. In the last five years. In fact. and tumor-related diseases caused by harmful eating habits.4 the bcfn evaluation model Faced with this situation. Above all it highlights the factors that can be traced to the demand side (inventory levels of product. 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. The BCFN evaluation model attempts to display the many elements that combine to define trends in food commodity prices. market prices for agricultural raw materials began increasing very rapidly in the second half of 2010. which face a health crisis from the spread of metabolic. this will become crucial also in the developing countries. economic growth of emerging countries. with sharp. cardiovascular. a measurement of volatility. increase in the prices of food commodities. This is taking firm shape in the developed countries. In just 12 months. demographic factors. This causes uncertainty and instability on the markets. the FAO Food Price Index increased 38 percent. and sometimes extraordinary. food choices) and to the supply side (agricultural production. the standard deviation. Over time. Moreover.5). and clarifying the causes of the high. the price of cereals alone increased 71 percent. rapid oscillations taking place even within the same trading day. mainly because of the impact it will have on global production equilibrium in agriculture. the BCFN carried out research aimed at identifying. Choosing sustainable food consumption models for the future will allow us to reduce the emphasis placed on productivity gains. as mentioned) and on the economic and political stability of countries (particularly those in development).a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 67 nomic politics. scarcity of natural resources. surpassing the previous peak during the food crisis of 2008. 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. 2.19 has more than doubled compared to the prior 15 years (29. in order to assess their effects on the food security of families (mainly low-income families. Between July 2010 and February 2011.3 compared to 13. Combined with the difficult world economic crisis. studying. but not only. we see a worrisome increase in the volatility of prices.

In reality.6. this is ground on which international finance gladly treads. If the policy responses are protectionist. and their points of interaction. This distinction is crucial. the increase in price volatility can be short-term or long-term. exogenous factors that affect price levels directly or indirectly can be added to these. the global result will be a sudden increase in prices and greater uncertainty. however. For example. we must analyze the different variables at work. These are called endogenous factors. The imbalance between supply and demand is at the origin of the changes in price levels. The evaluation model takes into account financial and exchange markets. 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. More or less. and significant investments in the production of biofuels. heated economic development in emerging countries. all in a context of low product inventories. this is what has happened in this recent turbulent phase. in the rise in temperatures caused by climate change. By way of example: consider a situation containing factors such as present and forecast global demographic growth. Some indirect. The need to prepare an easily understood graphic representation required placing different factors on the demand side. shown by the dotted lines in the figure 2.68 eating planet tion of biofuels. the demographic and economic growth of emerging countries is creating a significant increase in the demand for food.5 variables of the model To understand in depth the reasons for price increases and their extreme volatility. and geopolitical dynamics. or flood in key world agriculture areas). or among the indirect factors. Add a major weather disaster (drought. conflagration. 2. likewise. international trade policies. prices do not have a tendency to increase and volatility peaks are less likely. . many of these factors interact in a complex way in the demand-supply relationship. on the supply side. 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. and in the progressive worsening of the scarcity of natural resources. their movement. impact of climate change). because the consequences and impacts of the two phenomena (absolute price level and volatility) are very different. In a context of extremely difficult capital markets. In equilibrium. there are many interconnections among the factors themselves. The outcome can only be a powerful shaking up of the markets. the price of oil and energy. That is. absolute price levels can increase over the middle to long term. Moreover. in urbanization.

insufficient supply globally and high levels of waste and losses. This is due mainly to urbanization. degradation of the land. the consumption of agricultural goods is constantly growing (figure 2. These include. which seriously threatens the growth of agricultural productivity.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. demographic and economic growth.62 percent less than that from 1961 to 1990 (figure 2. structural factors. scientists are studying alternative ways to favor the consumption of vegetables with high protein content and to stimulate replacements for the consumption of meat. The annual rate of growth in productivity from 1991 to 2010 was 0. 2011.8). 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 risk of insufficient global supply arises from the increasing scarcity of natural resources.7).6 Interpretative model of food price volatility Source: BCFN. To try to limit this phenomenon. and on the other hand. As a result of the increase in population and per capita income in the developing countries. and changes in the intended use of crops (particularly for the production of biofuels). which directly affects the consumption of agricultural products and has a heavy impact on the consumption of resources to support animal husbandry. on one hand. Water is also becoming an everscarcer resource as per capita consumption increases worldwide. Water tables .

9). During the crisis in 2008.054 1974‑1976 2.980 2.70 eating planet 3. causing colder winters in the Northern Hemisphere. short-term factors that could either exacerbate or mitigate the effects of the structural factors by acting on the volatility and instability of prices.7 Daily per capita consumption of calories (1964—estimates to 2030) Source: BCFN on FAO data. and increased rains in Indonesia.681 2. These include climate change-related phenomena. Malaysia.450 1997‑1999 2.065 3. short-term factors. which have had a role in driving up the price of food over the middle to long term (figure 2.440 1964‑1966 2. drought in the southern United States. Climate change is implicated in the rising incidence of adverse weather events.500 . which 2. and meager harvests caused by such events.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.947 2030 3. at least 30 countries implemented restrictive export policies in an effort to safeguard internal food security. There are additional.850 2015 Industrialized nations figure 2.206 3. One of the most critical problems involves the level of waste and losses along the chain (upstream losses in developing countries. It takes eight to ten times as much water to produce meat as to grow grains. trade policies. such as La Niña. 2010. are threatened by growing urbanization and intensive use for livestock. financial speculation. Decisions about international economic policy (trade policy) by individual States have always played a fundamental role in determining price levels on a global scale. downstream in developed countries). oil prices.152 1984‑1986 Developing nations 2. raged in early 2011. Recurring phenomena. and inventories. and Australia. macroeconomic factors.380 3. (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.

2011 figure 2.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 71 3. 2010 Dec.400 CAGR 1991‑2010: + 1.84% 2. in India cold damages the cereal grain crops Heavy rains and flooding destroys the corn crop in the American corn belt 100 Jun. 2010 Nov.400 CAGR 1961‑1990: + 1. Source: BCFN on World Bank data. . 2011 Feb. 2010 Oct.22% 1.900 kilograms per hectare 2. 2011 Mar. 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. July 2011. 100 = oct. 2010 Aug. Compound Annual Growth Rate.900 1. suffers from light rainfall Poor harvests in the Chinese farming regions.S. 2011 Apr.9 Trend of cereal prices and principal climatic events (June 2010—April 2011) Source: BCFN on USDA and FAO data. 2010 Jan. 250 fao cereals price index. 2011 May 2011 Jun.8 The global yield of cereals 21 (1961‑2010) Note: CAGR. 2011. 2010 Jul.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. 2010 Sep.

in general the effects are not positive. animal husbandry). and in the final phases of the value-added chain (processing the harvest. These restrictions prevent achieving equilibrium between demand and supply and send uncertainty signals to the markets. freezing. or taxes on exports may provide short-term stability for internal prices. red on imports). 2011. There is a very tight connection between the energy sector and the food sector. Indeed. Moreover.11). and storage). distorted the international market.10 International trade policies and grain prices (January 2010—August 2011) Source: BCFN on CBT data and wire services 2010. production activities (irrigation. which reduces the food supply. High prices for oil will help raise the price of food by increasing production costs and the demand for biofuels (figure 2. The two-way bond between food and energy makes the price of oil a determining factor in food production and distribution.10 shows major international trade policy actions (blue for impacts on exports. tariffs. which can lead to aggressive buying policies intended to protect against trends and future availability. the consumption of fuel for transportation. Although duties. Russia announces a prohibition on exports Ukraine eliminates export price supports Jordan. On a global level. either internally or externally. 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 2.72 eating planet The government of Ukraine revokes the tariff on exports 400 350 300 250 200 150 Because of drought. 8/2011 4/2011 2/2011 3/2011 5/2011 7/2011 1/2011 . harvesting. Figure 2. and Morocco increase imports to replenish their reserves − Iraq and Tunisia acquire 350KT and 100KT of wheat. in the production of inorganic fertilizers. Libya. export restrictions can aggravate instability and cause prices to increase. the latter accounts for 10-15 percent of the energy in the industrialized countries. overall. crops are increasingly going for the production of biofuels.

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

What of financial speculation as a short-term factor? Today. and interest rates are also very important in determining agricultural policy. the Euro/ dollar exchange rate. Looking at the crisis of 2008. exchange rates. This translates into a significant increase in demand for imports. the financial derivatives markets for agricultural products offer various instruments to limit risk. According to many observers. the flow of significant amounts of foreign money for real economic purposes . such as futures. These assets allow cash to flow in the markets and send powerful signals about prices. options.12 shows the relationship between the cereals price index. upsetting the balance between supply and demand internationally.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. and how they could influence the volatility of prices and threaten access to food. and swaps. 2011.11 Correlation between oil prices and food prices (January 2004—April 2011) Source: BCFN on FAO and IMF data. to which supply reacts in the medium term. Figure 2. Because the United States is the principal exporter of agricultural commodities in the world and many prices are denominated in dollars. Macroeconomic factors such as the inflation rate. and major events in American trade policy. a depreciation of the American currency causes an increase in the buying power of importing countries. one wonders about the role of derivatives on the agricultural markets. The increase in food prices caused by the depreciation of the dollar is a unanimously recognized phenomenon.

grain. 2011. American exports rose by 56% 0. and FAO data.5 figure 2. Finally.12 Exchange rate $/€ and the Cereals/Food Price Index (March 2006—June 2011) Source: BCFN on USDA. 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.8 0. How can we act on such a complex system. American grain exports dropped by 29% As a result of the recent depreciation of the dollar. as they are recorded as annual aggregates on individual markets and therefore can only be guessed. 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 . a reduction of less than 2 percent in the output of grain caused the price to double. World inventory levels are difficult to estimate.6 strategies for controlling volatility The picture that emerges from this analysis is extremely complex. However.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 75 250 200 150 100 50 0 Between March 2006 and November 2007.75 0. (hedging operational risk) on the agricultural markets helped to aggravate the overall instability. For example.13 shows that inventory levels of rice.85 0. partly because of an imbalance between production and consumption.6 0. OECD. It must be interpreted systematically. between 1972 and 1973. the response to a supply shock is a direct increase in price levels. and corn decreased worldwide between 2000 and 2011. figure 2. when international inventories were low. taking into consideration the many elements contributing to the current unbalanced situation. American grain exports rose by 46% Between July 2008 and July 2009. when inventory levels are low in the absence of a “cushioning” mechanism.7 0.65 0. 2.55 0.

Source: BCFN on Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) data. Scientific and technical research on these subjects. The challenge will be to promote innovation. grain. guiding the sector to update production models and agricultural patterns for greater productivity.13 Rate of average annual variation of production.93% Rice 0. and corn (World.” as well as—for a more general treatment— to the chapter Food for Sustainable Growth. where there is a detailed analysis of the requirements for sustainability of the agro-industrial system. 2011. and less environmental impact. In our opinion. It is essential to consider the timeline for taking this action. we refer the reader both to the section “Facilitate economic development and increase agricultural productivity. 2000‑2011) Note: CAGR.03% Wheat − 0.75% 0. there are seven principal areas for action: agricultural production.76 eating planet 2. Stimulate the overall growth of agriculture.4% − 3. 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. higher quality. and stock levels of rice.44% 0. consumption. it will be fundamental to sort the factors examined according to the concrete possibility of being able to affect them. will be decisive. In terms of possible leverage. .5% CAGR production CAGR consumption CAGR Stock figure 2. by defin‑ ing optimal production models and agricultural patterns for various geographic con‑ texts.7% Corn − 3. supported by significant amounts of public investment.95% 1. Compound Annual Growth Rate.36% 2. 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.

Water usage in agriculture accounts for 70 percent of worldwide water use. and various forms of trade restriction. mainly because of the increase in temperature and greater difficulty gaining access to water resources. Act to reduce. trade policies. some important agricultural exporting countries introduced export taxes to increase domestic supply and limit the internal effect . including managing cropland and pasture better. and improving energy efficiency. especially water and arable land. We also need to adopt advanced techniques for collecting rainwater to be used for irrigation. etc. It is also necessary to support actions to adapt to climate change in order to sustain agriculture production. increasing carbon reserves in the soil. in response to predictions of reduced harvests and higher international prices. improving production techniques for growing rice and raising livestock. restoring cultivated peat soils and degraded land. and there is considerable room for improvement. delay. climate change. the Mediterranean. floods. Moreover. improving techniques for applying nitrogen-based fertilizers to reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). and mitigate the effects of climate change. Australia. Concerning production processes. heavy downpours). Between 2008 and 2010. Come to grips with the scarcity of natural resources for agricultural production. managing fertilizer use to reduce methane (CH4) emissions. but often simply means spreading awareness and know-how. both by reducing waste and by using technologies that make water usage more productive (“more crop per drop”). heat waves. subsidies to exports. action is needed to reduce the use of water in cultivation. which can cause significant crop losses. including the diversification of crops. incentives are needed to promote investment in available technology that can save water used in production processes.a new emergency: dramatic instability in food prices | food for all 77 natural resource scarcity. The limits of available natural resources. In response. with the most severe impacts possibly occuring in equatorial areas. Trade barriers and subsidies distort the dynamics between demand and supply on the international food commodities market. Reduce barriers to imports. According to the most reputable studies. An additional threat is that climate change intensifies adverse weather (drought. 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. Disseminating technology and tools for managing agricultural irrigation for maximum efficiency does not always translate into costly investments in technology. climate change could disproportionately affect particular geographic areas and their ability to ensure adequate production levels. represent a very important barrier to the growth of global agricultural production capacity.

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

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

Regulate financial speculation in food commodities. 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. so that biofuels can be produced where conditions are economically advantageous. At the same time. and hedge funds. that financial speculation in the agricultural commodities markets could have aggravated short-term volatility. On one hand. order. 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. Without demonizing the work of the financial intermediaries or interfering with their legitimate activity. The increase in the share of contracts held by non-commercial investors may have brought about speculation of the sort typical of stock markets. the recent global financial crisis has led “non-commercial” investors (index funds. vegetable oil. we can suggest some actions that could be taken to facilitate greater transparency. etc. second-generation biofuels should be supported. financial markets. These products use food crops as raw materials and thus compete directly with food products and livestock for these raw materials. In addition to limiting subsidies. 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. which operate aggressively over the short term) to increase their investments in agricultural commodity derivatives in order to diversify their portfolios. If the incentives are not removed.80 eating planet relates strongly to the price of oil. however.). changes in the price of oil and biofuel subsidy policies cause strong volatility and price increases on food markets. this creates competition between the energy sector and the food sector for the use of agricultural raw materials. How significant a role this speculation may be playing in the increase in the prices of agricultural assets is still widely debated. We can state with relative certainty. to enable regulators to identify possible anomalies in financial . it is also important to facilitate the opening of international markets. Increases in the price of oil make biofuels more attractive and increases the demand for them internationally. and equilibrium on the markets. 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. However. which hold long positions. beginning with crops that do not compete with food for the use of land. performing two important functions: transferring price risk and helping to determine the price itself. Thus. sugarcane.

removing the causes of the system’s current fragility. mechanisms could be introduced to distinguish between sector operators and non-commercial operators. underscored at the G-20 Summit of Agriculture Ministers in Paris in June 2011. 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. in order to progressively harmonize trades on these markets. the flow of information and the transparency of over-the-counter operations could be improved. 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. the disconnect arises because con- . it also appears desirable to introduce rules22 to define the perimeter of action for financial intermediaries on the agricultural commodities market. economic growth does not seem to be capable by itself of ensuring higher levels of overall well-being. In other words. such as industrial water pollution or mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. As the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Perhaps even more important. 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. The recent dramatic economic crisis has led many countries to focus their energies on the problem of trying to re-launch interrupted growth. or the wide range of negative effects of economic activity. In particular. it will be impossible to obtain significant results without acting on the system. leaving the real market free to operate. 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. On the other hand. 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 tools to measure and promote well-being | food for all 81 trends and to prevent possible excessive speculative behavior. so that limits could be placed on speculative operators to prevent excessive betting on the movement of prices. For the fact is that there is often a strong disconnect between growth and well-being. For example. or most. such as excessive exploitation of environmental resources. But it is becoming ever more important to define the conditions under which economic growth can be considered sustainable. We need balanced action that touches all. of the various critical points. Olivier De Schutter.

in a famous speech at the University of Kansas. It does not count the justice in our courts or the equity of our relationships [sic]. It counts [. nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. This was stated publicly as far back as 1968. 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. neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. The gross domestic product (GDP) is the principal focus of this debate.. It needs to be supplemented by other measurements of a wide range of phenomena that influence living conditions. when Robert Kennedy. the quality of their education. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution and advertising for cigarettes. the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. 2. 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. 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. except that which makes life worthwhile.] and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. in short. said: “We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress. over time the indicator has become a key index of overall social and economic development. such as social inclusion. It measures everything. and the state of the environment. or the joy of their play. neither our wisdom nor our learning. economist Simon Kuznets. in an endless amassing of worldly goods. Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children.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. and ambulances to clear our highway carnage. However. the inventor of the GDP. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average.7 gross domestic product versus indicators of well-being GDP is a quantitative measure of macroeconomic activity. It measures neither our wit nor our courage.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)..” Back in 1934. which will only grow when the slums are rebuilt over their ashes [sic]. assuming a role for which it was not designed. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages.

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

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

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

the choice of a limited number of variables pays the price of an elevated level of approximation in terms of the description of reality. 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. It is obvious that food and nutrition directly or indirectly affect well-being. there are aspects of food that closely involve the social sphere and interpersonal relationships (conviviality. in the current state of the art in the field. 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. A limited number of variables observed and estimated. 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. In the second place. in order to take into account the greatest number of factors that have an impact on well-being. Also. in fact. We have avoided definitions that emphasized one element or one particular aspect at the expense of others. because they are responsible for consuming and degrading natural resources (from greenhouse gas emissions to soil depletion and water pollution). socializing.). We should take into account. when we discuss the various options. the impact that food and nutrition have on the environment around us is also significant. 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.86 eating planet place. these are based on a trade off. However. to measure the present well-being of individuals (what people feel and live today. the techniques of statistical measurement—however broad the array of indicators utilized may be—are linked. 2. both negatively (direct causes or risk factors for serious disease). an “inventory of well-being”). etc. Consider first the effect that food choices have on the health of children and adults. meals. time spent preparing food. every decision brings with it an elevated and necessary level of approximation. the two indices. from a methodological point of view. On the other hand. to broad simplifications and a necessary set of conventions. and the BCFN . and positively (protection against certain diseases).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. 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.

000 initiative. The program feeds people with food that would have otherwise been waste More than 30 percent of all food is wasted before it ever reaches peoples’ stomachs. In Great Britain. where 6. . But initiatives to educate the public are growing.7 metric tons of food are discarded every year. London has led the way with the Feeding the 5.

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

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. and environmental sub-index. 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% ( 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. Of the 10 countries compared with the BCFN Index of Current Well-being on seven dimensions of well-being. followed . 2. and institutions) “social” well-being 10% “political” well-being (democracy and individual freedom) 10% figure 2. 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. family. and the social and interpersonal sub-index—are compiled from 27 performance indicators that measure the seven identified dimensions of well-being. shown in figure 2.5 points. Denmark led with 7. society.15. that is. the Index represents a snapshot of the well-being of a population at a specific instant.14 The BCFN Index of actual well‑being and its components Source: BCFN. 2011. investments.

consisting of 25 performance indicators to measure the seven dimensions of well-being in three sub-indices: the lifestyle sub-index. 2011.7 5.16. By this index.9 greece spain italy usa germany france japan great britain sweden denmark figure 2.9) were in sixth and seventh place.7 points). and Germany (5. grouped into the dimensions to which they belong.5) and Greece (3. although the difference between third and fourth place was only one point. Spain (4.30 The BCFN Index of Well-being Sustainability represents a multi-dimensional measurement of the future sustainability of the well-being of individuals.5 4. Japan (5. Last was Greece with 3. The United Kingdom came in third with 6. France (5. Then came France and Germany with similar scores a little over 6. Table 2.1 shows the detailed list of the 27 performance indicators used. shown in figure 2.5 3.7 7. the wealth and environmental sub-index.7 points).0 points. Italy (5. It is also an aggregate index.0) and the United States (4. namely (in order).09 points. Using a simple weighted average to aggregate the scores of the 10 countries into the three sub-indices.0 5.57 points.3 points.5 5.15 Ranking of the BCFN Index of actual well‑being Source: BCFN.66 points.8 4.90 eating planet point scale from 1 to 10 6.3 5. The next three countries received similar scores. . closely by Sweden with 7.29 points. Italy was in next-to-last place with 5.0 7. followed closely by Denmark with 7. significantly behind the others. from a dynamic point of view.10 points. respectively. Sweden led with 7. and the social and interpersonal sub-index.5 points). we obtain the BCFN Index of Well-being Sustainability.8) brought up the rear.

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.


eating planet

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

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

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

almost anywhere in the world. Today. nutrition. and water issues in both the West and developing world. undocumented. and wheat dumped as food aid. and whole grains that we should be eating. Over-pro- . you can get western foods. environmental health (especially water and soil) and the economy. Cheap food has driven farmers from land and become an aggravator of our immigration and unemployment issues. vegetables. environmental health. like soft drinks.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. But. it is much harder. 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. even in the wealthy west. The implications to the world’s consumers of a food system that is not rooted in health and nutrition are obvious. and fried fast foods almost anywhere (even in the poorest communities) due to an unbelievable logistics network. and fuel). to find the fruits. lunch and dinner. drinks. health. as farm and food factory jobs are done by migrant. what choices of agricultural policy do you think western countries should make. soy. 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. price fluctuations in commodity markets hurting urban consumers and small farmers. 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. but we should also be considering the implications of our current food systemon economic development. Specifically. and mostly underpaid workers. and agricultural development focused on market commodities in lieu of nutrition). In the US. We have to take very seriously the effects of agriculture’s negative externalities on human health. 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. 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. packaged sugary carbohydrates. and economic development. 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.

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

Entrepreneurs are cropping up to fulfill the demands of healthier.S. . better-raised foods.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. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Poll). so established food businesses should work to improve their practices and meet consumer demands or be eaten.

Global policies must be coordinated and unilateral protectionist policies must be reduced over time. Agriculture is the sector that makes the greatest contribution to income growth among the weakest populations in developing countries. This requires at least four actions: • building a transparent. 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. and environmental factors that influence people’s lives. and other trade restrictions. Policy . In general. To alleviate poverty. 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. while prices tend to decline with increases in the stock-to-use ratio. There is a strong connection between changes in inventories and the price trends for food commodities. social. political. Despite the ongoing debate about the role speculation may play in the increase in agricultural prices. “responsible” trading system based on multilateral rules that can assure greater access to food worldwide. over a sufficiently long time span. 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.102 eating planet action plan facilitate the economic development of the poorest countries Hunger is a direct consequence of poverty. • avoiding competition between biofuels and food in growing crops. we can state with relative certainty that such speculation could have amplified short-term volatility. • creating a multilateral system for food reserves and improving the transparency of flows and inventories. In particular. a reduction in the stock-to-use ratio of cereals tends to correspond to an increase in prices. export subsidies. • regulating financial speculation on food commodities. 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. one would hope for a reduction in the use of import barriers.

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

10 3.table of contents introduction Paying What’s Fair by Carlo Petrini facts & figures the double pyramid: healthy food for people. and sustainable food for the environment 3.3 3.6 3.11 3.9 3.1 3. Herren Virtual Water Between Underconsumption and Poor Management by Tony Allan action plan .4 3.2 3.12 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.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 3.5 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.

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

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

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

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

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

But to do so. Among them is the decision of what to eat each day.110 eating planet we run out of it—which has been our reason for failing to act in a sustainable manner. And so even the selfish considerations that have always characterized us as a species demand that we change so many of our choices. to harm our Earth and act so as to keep it from “lasting. . 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.

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

compared to 7 billion today + bILLIOn THIRSTY PEOPLE ON EARTH In 2025. the population of Earth will be 9 billion.  food for sustainable growth 9 bILLIOn + 2012 In 2050. 3 billion people will lack adequate drinking water 3 30% 2050 IMPACT OF AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITY 33% OF 80% PRODUCTION WATER CONSUMPTION .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.45% OF GREEn “LUnGS” Roughly 43% of all tropical and subtropical forests and 45% of all temperate forests have been converted into farmland . .112 eating planet 3.

impoverished. while a diet composed of cereals. fruit. between 2.400 LITERS 2.600 liters -THE EMISSIONS 30% OF 1% 2012 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.5% and 3.600 LITERS 1.500 LITERS RESOURCES In DAnGER OF EXHAUSTIOn 32% of the fishing areas have been over fished.8% of all farmland will be used for biofuels . and fish uses somewhere between 1. while a third of all farmland is cultivated for the production of animal feed.500 and 2. By 2030. vegetables. or exhausted entirely 32% FISHInG COnSUMPTIOn OF VIRTUAL WATER The consumption of virtual water with a diet rich in meat is close to 5.400 liters.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. 5.

Further. the Double Pyramid was updated and redesigned in the version shown in Figure 3. a communications tool for linking the nutritional aspects and the environmental impacts of food. not only do you respect your own health.1. the sustainability of the agro-alimentary chain of production depends not only on the commitment of the farmers. 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. who have such a powerful effect on the entire market with the daily choices and decisions they make. But there is a key difference between the food sector and other sectors. but also—and perhaps even more so—on the behaviors of individuals and families. which is the traditional approach to food adopted in such Mediterranean basin countries as Italy. In other words. asking people to be more responsible in no way diminishes their well-being. In 2010 the BCFN created and published the Double Food and Environmental Pyramid. 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. and the distributors. for instance. While it is crucial to ensure the greatest possible variety in one’s diet.114 eating planet the double pyramid: healthy food for people. In 2011. and the foods at the base of the pyramid should be part of every meal. the foods closest to the top of the pyramid should be eaten least frequently. your having a car interferes a little bit with my enjoyment of my own car. The food/nutritional section of the Double Pyramid was built with an eye to the model of the Mediterranean diet. 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. it actually benefits one’s own health as well. on the basis of further analysis. the level of each food category suggests the proper frequency of consumption. In fact. Quite the opposite. In the food pyramid on the left. the collective advantage is frequently at odds with individual advantages. and millions of other cars—and the traffic jams and congestion they create—can make owning a car almost pointless. But in the food sector. but also the health of the planet we inhabit. 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). 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. the producers. . In transportation.

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

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

B2. like milk. B12. low protein content. but practically no carbohydrates at all. while they are rich in starch and carbohydrates. Last of all. Fish fats contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. phosphorus. fish. and cookies. which is made up of galactose and glucose). Then come fish and eggs. we find a vast assortment of diverse products. white meats. legumes are the highest-protein plant-based foods known (proteins of excellent quality) and also contain lots of fiber. It may be more easily digested than milk by people who suffer from lactose intolerance. there is a significant content of simple sugars. which is composed of triglycerides (rich in monounsaturated fatty acids). has high starch content. In general terms.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 117 is rich in starch. which belong to the category of essential fatty acids. and phytosterols. fish contain proteins with an elevated metabolic value and variable quantities of fats up to 10 percent of the weight of the food. They are also a very significant source of potassium. like all cereal grains. Cookies are composed of a wide variety of ingredients with different nutrient and energy content. Cheeses also contain significant amounts of calcium in a form that is well absorbed into the bloodstream. because it contains the necessary level of carbohydrates to provide the human body with the ideal fuel. Yogurt. the family of the omega-3 fatty acids. 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. the second part of the pyramid. and calcium. . is a food with high nutritional value. Legume proteins are rich in essential amino acids and are easily digested. such as cheeses. essential fatty acids. The vitamins found in the largest quantities in milk are A. eggs. and B12) and such minerals as iron and zinc. Milk is also the chief source of calcium in the human diet. Cheeses contain proteins and fats. with a substantial protein content and a negligible lipid ratio. and even lower fat content. is considered to be beneficial in the prevention of cardio-circulatory diseases. Rice. in particular. Legumes are also an excellent source of B vitamins (especially B1. Potatoes have very low fat and protein content. polyphenols. 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. B vitamins are present in small quantities and there is a good quantity of vitamin A. and pantothenic acid. Rice also contains small quantities of minerals and B vitamins. with trace contents of high-quality proteins. Milk is almost 90 percent water. They are a good alternative to meat. B1. Just beyond that we come to milk and yogurt. One level farther up we find extra-virgin olive oil. Bread is a staple. on average between 9 percent and 25 percent. niacin. vitamin E. At the next higher level. while the fat content is quite 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. We also find B vitamins (in particular. From Keys’s study to the present day. The study demonstrated associations between types of diet and the risk of developing chronic diseases. white meat. but also Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases—is the adoption of a way of eating based on the Mediterranean nutritional model. with a small proportion of polyunsaturated fats. The nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet was scientifically proven by the well-known “Seven Countries Study” conducted by Ancel Keys. we can see that one protective factor against many of the most common chronic diseases—especially cardiovascular diseases and tumors. and diabetes). which are crucial to children’s growth and to the formation of muscles. extensive research has analyzed the links between ways of eating and the rise of chronic diseases. Beginning in the mid1990s. especially lean meat. 3.118 eating planet The consumption of meat.2 some studies of the mediterranean diet From an analysis of the many reference studies. and cereal grains (which in the past were largely unrefined). and animal fats. 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. along with sweets (which are rich in fats and simple sugars) and should be consumed in moderation. is important because it helps to provide high quality proteins. About half of the proteins in meat consist of amino acids that are essential to the human organism. White meats are therefore recommended and the consumption of red meat should be reduced. cardiovascular diseases. which is the same model employed by the BCFN for the construction of the food pyramid. depending on the kind of meat. That diet is characterized by high consumption of vegetables. fresh and dried fruit. B12). The fats are mainly saturated and monounsaturated. Fat content is variable. the diets adopted by various populations were compared to determine their benefits and critical points. In that study. copper. 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. and limited consumption of red meat. and zinc. a series of studies has also shown a strong correlation between diet . cancer. moderate consumption of fish and dairy products (especially cheese and yogurt) and wine. legumes. selenium. olive oil. It can range from virtually zero to almost 30 percent.

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

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

LCA begins with the initial cultivation or extraction of raw materials. it is clear that a large share of the most respected scientific research on the relationship between diet and chronic diseases shows.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. fabrication. 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. and tumors.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 121 Department of Agriculture is doing in America with the USDA food plate. But what about its impacts on the health of the environment? The BCFN Environmental Pyramid is an effort to illustrate those impacts. 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. reuse. transport.3 Scheme of medical guidelines Source: BCFN. . The LCA approach offers the most objective and complete evaluation possible of the system (figure 3. Figure 3. use. a different visual translation of the contents of the Food Pyramid (figure 3. and follows them through processing. diabetes. 2009. beyond any reasonable doubt.3 shows the guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. However a healthy diet is depicted.2). recycling. It was constructed from research tracing the environmental effects of various food types using the life-cycle assessment (LCA) method.3 the environmental pyramid The food pyramid based on the Mediterranean diet is clearly among the healthiest dietary approaches available. distribution. 3. and final disposal. assembly.

600 1. .000 figure 3.100 900 670 665 600 0 2.4 The LCA method of analysis is regulated by the international standards ISO 14040 and 14044 Source: BCFN.000 4.000 4.200 2. Transportation figure 3.000 Beef Cheese Butter Eggs Pork Fish Rice Poultry Oil Dried Fruit Pasta Breakfast Cereal Sweets Cookies Legumes Margarine Milk Yogurt 1.000 6.600 8. Cooking 3.900 3.000 2.000 1. Cultivation 2. 2011.000 / 45. 20.640 4.000 2.000 Bread Fruit Vegetables Potatoes 3.300 2.300 1. 2011.122 eating planet 1.000 3.000 8. Packing 4.000 4.200 legend average value + cooking cooking max min 8.400 1.250 3. Transformation 5.900 1.500 26.000 / 25.5 Carbon footprint of foods (gCO2 eq per kg or liter of food) Source: BCFN.850 3.600 9.

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.000 8. BCFN used the carbon footprint.the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 123 environmental indicators.140 1.400 3.” 10.000 4. 2011. the most significant impacts.000 930 920 900 240 0 2.360 5.800 3. . 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). measured in equivalent CO2 mass (figure 3.7).000 min max 1. Finally.000 Beef Dried Fruit Oil Cheese 15.560 5. BCFN chose to construc the environmental pyramid using only the ecological footprint.000 5.000 6. A food’s water footprint (or virtual water content) accounts for the consumption and means of use of water resources.6 Water footprint of foods (liters of water per liter or kg of food) Source: BCFN.000 Butter Pork Poultry Rice Eggs Legumes Sweets Pasta Cookies Bread Milk Yogurt Fruit Potatoes Vegetables 2. It is measured in global square meters or hectares (figure 3.300 1. the utilization of water resources. It is measured in volume (liters) of water (figure 3.000 4. It important to note that the impacts considered in the BCFN environmental pyramid are not the only ones generated by the food production sector.6).000 Breakfast Cereal figure 3.000 1.160 3.300 3.000 / 15. They are.555 5.500 8. In the interests of brevity and clarity. however.900 3. and the capacity to regenerate the territorial resources that are utilized in producing food.000 4.775 1.5).000 legend average value 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. To measure greenhouse gases.

3. 7 4 12 4 min. . 3 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 / 160 0 10 figure 3. as recommended by nutritionists. Figure 3.7 The ecological footprint of foods (global square meter per kg or liter of food) Source: BCFN. the proteins are from plants (“vegetarian menu”). fats. it is possible to “save” as much as a total of 20 square meters a day. both for caloric content and nutrients (proteins.8 gives an idea of the degree to which individual food choices can affect the ecological footprint by comparing two different daily menus. If we limit the consumption of animal proteins to just twice a week. however. so we also explored the concept of the Double Pyramid for growing children and adolescents. and imagine three different dietary regimens. The meat menu has a three‑fold greater environmental impact than the vegetarian menu. 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. and carbohydrates). the influence of food choices. Both menus are balanced in nutritional terms.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. In the first menu.4 the double pyramid for growing children The generic Double Pyramid is aimed primarily at adults. while in the second menu the proteins are for the most part of animal origin (“meat menu”). 2011. with varying frequencies of a vegetarian menu as opposed to a meat menu.

the double pyramid | food for sustainable growth 125 2.030 2. . mixed green salad 1. 2011.455 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.140 6.720 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 4.095 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 2.210 g CO2 eq 140 g CO2 eq figure 3.8 How the ecological footprint varies as a function of food choices Source: BCFN.

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

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

and rice). ham. etc. The same studies also show that the daily caloric intake observed for most school-aged children is not only greater than their needs. Only 1 percent of all children consume portions and varieties of food that are nutritionally optimal.). 2011. A proper diet will contain a lot of day-to-day variety: a mixture of foods that includes plant-based foodstuffs (fruit. etc. dairy products.10 The optimal weekly breakdown of food intake for children and adolescents Source: BCFN.) and animal-based foods (meat. seeds. but is also prin- . pasta. 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. Despite these recommendations. legumes. cereal grains. vegetables. 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.128 eating planet Consumption of cereal grains (bread. cheese.

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

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). That development runs counter to a well-established trend of growing life expectancies. 2011. Pasta. That makes it indispensable to create a collective sense of responsibility. beginning with children. increasingly widespread ways of eating are leading to a gradual decline in the health of younger people (in particular. 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. 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 . via the spread of overweight and obesity) and a corresponding reduction of their life expectancy. 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. applying the Double Pyramid to future generations. On the other hand. Such a campaign should focus on parents and the educational system. Bread. On the one hand. In this context. Rice high low food pyramid figure 3. and secondarily on the children themselves.11 The double pyramid for growing children and adolescents Source: BCFN. the excessive use of certain foods (generally speaking. parents and school systems must commit to collaborating more intensely to the nutritional education of future generations. leads to certain implications that ought to be further explored and popularized among families and educators.

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

and the adoption of agrochemistry (the massive use of pesticides. corn. and growing concern about the potential scarcity of key resources. 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. and rice. phosphorus. and synthetic fertilizers developed through the use of nitrogen. especially of wheat. 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.132 eating planet for two reasons: the spreading awareness of the damage conventional agriculture inflicts on the environment. beginning in the 1960s and 1970s. herbicides.12 The model developed by the IAASTD for representing the complex system of agriculture Source: IAASTD. . In certain areas. the spread of mechanized farming. the practice of monoculture. especially petroleum. fungicides. 2011. four new innovations appeared: high-yield plant varieties (HYVs).

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

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

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

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

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

Our methodology focused on four regions: the Lombard and Venetian plains.15).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. not only do all the parameters of its sustainability alter substantially. in this case.7 the sustainability of the systems used to grow durum wheat: the barilla case In keeping with the ideas discussed here. Still. but so do the final quality and quantity of the material produced. When that setting varies. . Italian farmers can reduce the emission of CO2 (by as much as 40 to 50 percent. durum wheat. This section summarizes the most significant results of this work. LEI. central Italy (Tuscany. Marches. and Umbria).. C) shows a number of findings of the study concerning the carbon footprint. 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. the Emilia-Romagna region. standard rotation practices were identified that were representative of the rotations of durum wheat in Italy (figure 3.138 eating planet Clearly. The ultimate objective was to identify sustainable agricultural systems that could subsequently be tested in the various national territories of production.6 The study made it clear that. Basilicata. Barilla therefore underwrote a study to analyze and compare different agricultural models for the cultivation of durum wheat.8 and the efficiency in terms of the utilization of nitrogen. i. The study also made clear that the characteristics of a plant species. it is more sustainable in both environmental and economic terms. 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. 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.16 (A. this is an extremely simplified depiction of reality. and southern Italy (Puglia. Figure 3. B. in many cases. and thus both increase the quality and the quantity of cereal grain produced. are intimately tied to the agricultural setting where it is cultivated.e. while improving both quality and profitability. 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.7 the gross revenue generated. Barilla decided to carry out a number of experiments to test the possibilities for improving its own agricultural supply chain. 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. and Sicily).

2011. .15 Crop rotations studied in the four macro‑areas of Italy Source: “Sostenibilità dei sistemi colturali con frumento duro.” Filiera Grano Duro News.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.

3 0.31 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 0.1 0.” Filiera Grano Duro News. 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 3.8 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. on gross revenue b .16 Effect of farming sistems on carbon footprint a .140 eating planet carbon footprint (t co2 /t kernel) { Δ cereal crop /rotations * = −0. on efficiency of nitrogen use c Source: “Sostenibilità dei sistemi colturali con frumento duro. .6 0.7 0.4 0.5 0. 2011. ** Standard crop rotations normally adopted in each area.2 0.

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

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

It represents a third of world production and two-thirds of total exported volumes.17 and 3. As noted in the previous point. According to the approach that we are suggesting. and oilseeds. But what is even more important is the capacity to adapt.S. 6. which exists in truly unsettling proportions and represents one of the chief challenges for future agricultural sustainability (figures 3. From 2008 to 2010. The belief is that these can only be increased by improving individual strains and varieties.12 The extensive use of corn for the production of ethanol in the United States has had significant worldwide repercussions. for instance). a scientific approach to fertilization. the use of advanced irrigation systems. The most important issue of this kind is food waste. bioethanol was produced mainly from raw cereal grains (55 percent) and cane sugar (35 percent). enhances the capability to respond to adverse events and to attain specific system objectives. used . technology too takes on a different connotation from the one that these days seems to be all too prevalent. sugar. invest in technology to make agriculture more adaptable to change. address the exogenous factors of sustainability in agriculture: food waste and biofuels. when alternatives (maximum quality vs. The production of biofuels especially raises the demand for wheat. high volume. Nowadays. while biodiesel production relied mainly (90 percent) on vegetable oils. corn.18). when people talk about technology in agriculture. another issue is central to decisions about the allocation of financial and physical resources in the agricultural sector: the production of biofuels. they are frequently talking only about productivity and yield. In 2010 the U. all equally optimized for sustainability. in fact.toward sustainable agriculture | food for sustainable growth 143 4. 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. 5. which competes directly with the use of raw materials in the food and feed sectors. biodiversity can and should be used as a tool for effective risk management. Sound management of biodiversity and the use of different models. 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. 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. In addition to food waste and loss. etc.

4 percent of its total corn production to make ethanol. a total of 8.2 percent). roughly 3 percent of world production. “Global food losses and food waste. while the share of the total corn crop used in the production of ethanol increased by 36 percent. The industrial use of vegetable oils grew by 15 percent annually from 2004 to 2008. an estimated 38. was used in the production of biodiesel fuel. volumes of corn used in food and food products increased at an annual rate of 1. The same dynamic seems to be at play in the production of biodiesel: in Europe. . Between 2004 and 2007. a much greater rate than the growth rate for production of vegetable oils as foodstuffs (4.5 percent.144 eating planet 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 5 Europe North America & Oceania Industrialized Asia Sub‑Saharan Africa North Africa. West & Central Asia South & Southeast Asia Latin America Consumer Production to retailing figure 3.17 The per capita quantity of food lost or wasted in different regions of the planet (kg/year) Source: FAO.6 million metric tons of vegetable oils.” 2011.

While growing shares of several agricultural crops are being sucked into the biofuels sector.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. in different regions of the planet (% of initial production) Source: FAO. With waste and biofuels alike. “Global food losses and food waste.” 2011. the problem of alternative energy production cannot merely be limited to the quantity of a crop that is used in the production of fuel. 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.18 Share of cereal production lost or wasted along the production‑consumption supply chain. West & Central Asia South & Southeast Asia Latin America Consumption Distribution Processing Postharvest Agriculture figure 3. .

expressed in terms of the agricultural models adopted. we want to stress a key point. simulating agricultural models and their effects on food production. 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..e. In an effort to assess the performance of current agricultural models and to come up with alternatives for the future. while taking into account a diverse array of scenarios of the development of the shock. and economic nature. nitrogenbased fertilization. Germany. agricultural. Considering a time span of 80 years (1970-2050) and evaluating the impact on the per-capita quantity of food calories (calories) produced annually.146 eating planet In order to consolidate these results. Greece. 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- . Turkey. it becomes possible to form hypotheses about what the appropriate choices of production policy should be. the quantity of food produced every year is enough to feed the world’s population. which assumes higher consumption of energy and use of inorganic fertilizers. 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. i. combining various indicators of an environmental. can impact the world agricultural system. sowing. 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. Sweden and Canada). 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. and the protection of plants. According to the simulations we conducted. 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. summarized here by a very significant increase in the price of oil.14 These two models differ primarily in terms of their varying characteristics of sustainability over time. Before going any farther. And it will continue to be sufficient. The findings of this model underlie many of the observations described above. the way the land is tilled. We ran simulations involving two principal models: an LEI (low external input) model characterized by low energy use and high labor input.13 and an HEI (high external input) model.

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

the results of a strong HEI growth energy shock and a BAU energy shock should be less negative. the results are sharply influenced by the share of cereal grains destined for animal feed and biofuels.250 2. In case of an energy crisis. the world agricultural system is clearly fragile. 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. the results will be strongly dependent on how long agricultural systems will take to shift from an HEI approach to an LEI one. a modification of these hypotheses would not change the outcome in qualitative terms.000 2000 2005 2030 2040 2020 2050 1990 1980 1995 1970 2010 2015 2035 2045 1975 1985 2025 min. We 3. a drop in productivity over the short term with a return to higher yield levels over the mid to long term.148 eating planet required to acquire the necessary know-how for the transition.250 3. If there is no reduction in the quantity of energy available. The results of the simulation show that.. in the case of reductions of available energy from 2025 on. Figure 3.19 shows the estimated effects of an energy shock in the year 2050 on global output.500 kcal/person/day 3. If that period proves to be short. As these results suggest. i. an approach with low external inputs would lead to a Worse-Before-Better (WBB) result.e.19 Agricultural production for human nutrition (daily cal per capita) and the simulation of energy shocks Source:BCFN su data FAO. .500 2. leaving unchanged the rankings of the scenarios in terms of yields and calories produced.000 2. In any case. 2011.

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

The result presented here. Conflicts over water might well be far more serious. And we are constantly using increasing quantities of it. but matters might quickly change because “quality water”—fresh. That water is precious is something we realize only when it begins to run short. We know full well the nature of the interests and the dire litigious tensions that revolve around the control of petroleum deposits. one of the best ways to reduce one’s virtual water footprint is to change to a diet rich in fruit. reality is far more complex than the intentionally simplistic representation of our simulation model. What is therefore necessary is a concerted effort to adopt a more rational use of water. Until now. while limiting the quantity of animal proteins. 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. must be managed in order satisfy the growing needs of man without creating social inequalities and unsustainable environmental impacts. In fact. 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. which are limited by nature. and for cleaning house). is by no means insignificant. availability of water. After all. and cereal grains. vegetables.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. for cooking. 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. There are a great number of factors at play aside from energy inputs: soil quality. the water economy and the emergency it confronts The water economy is the science that studies the way in which water resources. Of course. especially in agriculture (which represents the most “water-thirsty” sector . in the end one can survive without oil. by calculating the quantities used for personal care. unpolluted water—constitutes only a minimal percentage of our water reserves. 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. water scarcity might have appeared to be restricted to less fortunate countries. That consumption should be considered not only in real terms (that is. however. it illustrates one of the most important topics of future development. etc. adaptation to atmospheric phenomena. As we noted earlier.

A growing number of countries. with water-saving diets).000 to 14. 3. industry.000 cubic kilometers of water (approximately 0.000 cubic meters. how we use water: farming.001 percent of the total) is actually available for use by human beings. taking into account the global factors that will affect water consumption (demographic increase. because it is of adequate quality and is accessible at an acceptable cost.003 percent of the total) are theoretically usable and only 9.water economy | food for sustainable growth 151 par excellence) and on a personal level (for instance. while 22 percent goes to industry and the remaining 8 percent to domestic uses. with annual per capita availability of less than 1.20). on the other hand. That means. our planet possesses some 1. in turn. and in our homes. Demand for water is already quite high and. urbanization and expansion of economic activities. It is estimated. however. industry. 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. that less than 45. find themselves gravely short of water. rising prosperity of the population with a resulting modification of lifestyles and eating habits. absent serious action. it must be closely controlled to avoid unfair price increases and limited accessibility for the more vulnerable members of the population at large. While privatization may entail certain advantages in terms of greater efficiency in the management of water sources. now and in the future. We also need to formulate a new set of regulations that really will ensure the right to water while defining the boundaries of privatization. The agriculture sector accounts for 70 percent of global freshwater consumption.8 the availability of water: from abundance to scarcity To understand the current scenario in terms of water resources. and families. how much water do we have? Overall. present and future. Where the domestic use of water is concerned. Freshwater resources are also distributed very unequally among the regions of the globe: 64. while in developed countries the share given to industry is by far predominant (59 percent). The share allocated to agriculture is even greater in countries with a low to medium incomes (in some developing countries it reaches 95 percent). and the production of biofuels) and the reduction of the available water reserves (climate change and pollution in particular) (figure 3. in agriculture. will only grow in the future and .000 cubic kilometers of water (0.4 percent of all world water resources are found in just 13 countries. the scarsity of water. we must consider the availability of water and its various uses.4 billion cubic kilometers of water.

expanding to the entire territory of the United States. Among the factors that will influence the growth of world demand for water. and worsening significantly in terms of percentage values in ample areas of Africa and the Indian peninsula. and for domestic use. especially in certain areas of the planet. an especially significant role will be played by population dynamics and the growing rate of urbanization. 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. Areas using a large share of available resources (greater than 20 percent) will increase substantially.20 The current and future scenario of water resources Source: BCFN. . The scenario foreseen for 2025 in terms of the scarcity of water appears starkly worse than the current scenario. why demand for water is increasing. in industry. 2011. 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.152 eating planet lead to a progressive scarcity. continental Europe. In such cases the exploitation is coming close to (or may have even exceeded) the limit of sustainability. and southern Asia. From an environmental point of view.

The current population already uses 54 percent of freshwater resources in rivers. . 1995 2025 above 40 percent from 40 percent to 20 percent from 20 percent to 10 percent below 10 percent figure 3.water economy | food for sustainable growth 153 in 2030 and reach 9 billion in 2050. Business in the World of Water. and accessible water tables. With the growth of population. lakes. 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. WBCSD Water Scenarios 2025. 2006. Two scenarios compared: 1995 and 2025 Source: WBCSD.21).21 Amount of water used compared with available resources.

Another major factor that will affect the future availability of water resources is climate change.154 eating planet Meanwhile. milk. In 2007. In particular. as are those for the corresponding treatment and purification of waste water from domestic and industrial use. and vegetable oils typically requires the use of a greater quantity of water than does the production of cereal grains. with clear and direct consequences in terms of infrastructure for access to water. In particular. The investments needed to ensure distribution of water to the growing number of city dwellers are rising. which threatens water quality. Economic development is also a key driver of the future rise in demand for water. 70 percent of industrial waste is dumped into rivers and streams without any purifying treatment whatever. principally because of the volatility of oil prices and the support of national and international environmental policies. Among the chief causes of reduced water availability is pollution. especially in terms of waste management. as well as the general expansion of economic activities (ranging from industrial production to the service industry and tourism). the world’s urban population outstripped its rural population. has more than doubled. 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. for example. 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. 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. and other crops. The food sector accounts for 40 percent of organic pollutants in water supplies in developed countries and 54 percent in developing countries. In the past 20 years meat consumption in China. for the first time in history. exert growing pressures on available water resources and on natural ecosystems. In developing countries. Above all. the process of urbanization is accelerating sharply. Improvements in economic and living conditions in developing countries. by 2030 it will double again. This leads to a rise in water resources utilized because the production of meat. economic development and access to market economies by large numbers of people who had long been excluded from mass consumption are generating serious problems. why water availability is declining. sugar cane. 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 . 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. the production of biofuels has increased exponentially in recent years (ethanol production has tripled between 2000 and the present day). sugar.

and capable of altering current trends. reducing to 672 million the number of people who still do not have running water where they live.” Yet in 2008. by 2015. a gradual shift toward the poles of non-tropical storms (with resulting significant effects on winds. 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). as well as the training and creation of an adequate professional staff. 2. education. it is estimated that in 2015 some 2. precipitation. 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. If we extrapolate from current trends. In fact. without discrimination. the distribution of information about how to collect and store water resources . Moreover. as well as a significant increase in the frequency of “extreme” weather phenomena. in 2015 the percentage of the population with access to water in their own homes will surpass the stated goal of 90 percent. The future that looms before us therefore appears especially challenging. to enjoy physical and economic access to an adequate and secure supply of water.7 billion people will not have access to basic sanitation facilities. 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. But it will not be possible to attain the goal of halving the number of people without access to basic sanitation. 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. because the result is projected to be 13 percentage points below the stated goal.6 billion lacked access to adequate basic sanitation. 3. and governance. and temperatures).9 the right of access to water: reality and prospects The “right to water”—recognized for the first time in history. and only recently. They must be framed within the context of an overall cross-sector development strategy that takes into account infrastructure. such as intense precipitation or strong heat waves. which aimed to “halve. to attain effective and sustainable operation of structures over time demands periodic maintenance activities. 84 percent of them in rural areas. roughly 884 million people lacked access to sufficient water resources of adequate quality. In that same year. In fact. It demands immediate choices that must be both wise and courageous.water economy | food for sustainable growth 155 surface and oceans that is covered with ice. the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. 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.

500 to 2. . the water footprint of a commodity. depending on their environmental impact in terms of the water footprint. milk.23 shows the food pyramid adjoining the environmental pyramid of water. and derivatives) present a greater water footprint than cultivated products.22 shows the quantities of virtual water linked to certain kinds of easily identified mass market products and finished industrial products. the foods with the greatest environmental impact are at the top and the foods with the lowest impact are at the bottom. both on a local scale and internationally. because livestock consumes a significant quantity of cultivated products as food. the yield of crops. a good.000 to 5. Figure 3. As we described in section 3. The water footprint of some of them may appear surprising. 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. in some cases for many years before being transformed into food products. have a powerful effect on our consumption of water resources. the agricultural techniques employed. eggs. whether they are public agencies or private organizations. To achieve the goals set by the United Nations will demand the coordinated involvement of all actors. depending on such factors as climate.10 choices and behaviors for sustainable water consumption As we discussed earlier. The term “virtual” refers to the fact that most of this water is not contained physically in the product. 3. livestock and dairy products (meat. Figure 3. Our consumption habits and our behavior. but has to do with the direct and indirect consumption necessary for its production. Moreover.400 liters in the case of meat-rich diet. etc. both when you compare different products with one another. In particular. 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. 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. 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 a single product can vary considerably from one place to another. and when you take into consideration the place of production.600 liters (in the case of vegetarian diet) to about 4.1. especially our food-related behavior. in which the different food categories are arranged in hierarchical order.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. In the environmental pyramid on the right.

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

.400 8.000 A hamburger (150 g) A pair of leather shoes 2.158 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. 2011.22 Average global water footprint of certain commonly used product typologies Source: BCFN.000 figure 3.

500 Meat 9. White meat 15. and then we have calculated their impacts in terms of water consumption (figure 3.300 Eggs 3. high meat-consumption .500 Sugar legend 1.795 Sunflower seed oil 5. Eating habits. it is possible to build another pyramid.000 Milk 1. it is clear that including dairy and livestock products such as milk and meat.water economy | food for sustainable growth 159 low Sweets Red meat 10 k 5k 4k 2k 1. however minimal. The first daily menu calls for a diet that is rich in plant-based proteins and with few animal fats.645 Cereals 1.25). It is clear that individual eating habits. both balanced in nutritional terms.5 k 1k 0. therefore. A menu heavy on animal-based food products is decidedly less sustainable as a result. Yogurt dc on su p Cheese. If everyone on the planet were to adopt the average.400 Rice 3. results in approximately three times the consumption of water resources. Pasta Rice. There can be no doubt that most of the foods recommended for relatively higher consumption are also those that present a smaller water footprint. 2011.800 Cookies 1.693 Pasta 1. entail substantial environmental fallout as well as nutritional effects. If we compare the water footprints of the two menus.5 k 0 Olive oil Bread.24).800 Pork 4. especially multiplied across whole societies.900 Olive oil 4. Potatoes.055 Legumes 3. Eggs ti o Cookies. can have a very substantial impact on the availability of water resources. And vice versa: most of the foods recommended for low consumption are those that also impose a larger water footprint.000 Cheese 4.065 Walnuts and hazelnuts 6. which shows the water consumption required in order to produce each of those beverages (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. the second is based on the consumption (actually rather limited consumption).300 Bread 1. Fish.900 Poultry 3. By analyzing the water footprint of the most widespread and commonly consumed beverages. Legumes Fruits Vegetables high re c om me n de Milk.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. of red meat.23 Water footprint of the food pyramid (liters of water per kg or liter of food) Source: BCFN.140 Sweets 1. To illustrate the differences we have drawn up two daily menus.

the amount of water used in food production would soar by an estimated 75 percent. a family. 125 ml. or cup . . The global water footprint. In terms of per capita consumption.232). 2011. . however. the inhabitants of a city.7 (bottle) Water 0. the citizens of the United States top the list with an average water footprint of 2. public organizations. 30 ml. In absolute terms. and the Thais (2. Given the strain water supplies are already under.483 cubic meters per person per year. an entire nation) or producers (private companies.3/0. amounts to 7. the country that consumes the largest volume of water is India (987 billion cubic meters per year). for instance. They can also be calculated for each well-defined group of consumers (an individual.223) (figure 3. economic sectors). followed by the Italians (2.3 (tap) American‑style coffee 100 50 Carbonate beverage 25 legend average value min max 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 140 figure 3. or 1.452 trillion cubic meters of fresh water a year. 3. of beverage) dietary regimen of the Western nations. followed by China (883) and the United States (696).24 Water footprint of beverages (liters of water per glass Source: BCFN. this would clearly be unsustainable.26).160 eating planet 150 140 125 Milk 120 Wine 106 Orange juice 43 38 Beer 34 Espresso 15 Tea 0.243 cubic meters per person per year—twice the annual outflow of the Mississippi River.11 national water footprints and the trade in virtual water We’ve seen how water footprints can be calculated for each product or activity.

030 1.25 Virtual water consumption and eating habits: two menus compared Source: BCFN.325 LITERS 125 LITERS figure 3. 2011.140 4.300 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 2.530 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. .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.water economy | food for sustainable growth 161 2.

as noted above.500 Industrial products 2.162 eating planet The differences between countries depend on several factors. three are blessed with an overabundance of United States Italy Thailand Nigeria Russia Mexico Brazil Indonesia Pakistan Japan India China 0 500 1. 2011. Today agricultural products are traded all over the world. three are seriously short of water. and the quantity of water necessary for farming).000 1. Of the top 10 wheat exporters. while of the top 10 wheat importers.500 3. the model of consumption (especially where eating habits are concerned. plant transpiration.26 Contribution of the leading consumers to the global water footprint (m3 per capita/year) Source: BCFN.000 Average world water footprint Home consumption of water Agricultural products figure 3.000 2. and the agricultural practices adopted (especially how efficiently water is used). including volume of consumption (generally correlated to the wealth of the country). . the climate (which especially affects the level of precipitation. as well as the utilization of industrial goods). That trade pays no attention whatsoever to the water component included in the exchange. 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. for example.

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. and in the possibility of “water colonialism. 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. lie in the possibility of excessive dependence on other nations’ water. to suffer the problems of overconsumption. net importers are shaded in red and next exporters in green. Figure 3. Water Neutral: Reducing and Offsetting the Impacts of Water Footprints. however.27 Virtual water flows between countries linked to trade in agricultural products (net virtual water importers—Gm3 /year) Source: Hoekstra and Chapagain.27 gives some sense of the patterns and volumes of the global trade in virtual water embodied in agricultural products.” In this process. importing nations benefit from the products made using lots of water while leaving the exporting nations. Moreover. Water colonialism can be seen as a form of domination of poor countries by rich ones— even if no physical occupation takes place. because of the option of trade. . it. The level of interdependence among countries in the virtual exchange of water resources is. The globalization of the use of water seems to entail both opportunities and risks. on the other hand. critical and is also destined to grow in the future. One of the chief opportunities lies in the fact that virtual water can be considered as an alternative water source. to a country with low water productivity. allowing local water resources to be preserved when high water footprint products are imported instead of directly produced. given the ongoing deregulation of international trade. which made the products using their own water resources. The greatest risks.

where water is firmly in the hands of the collective. 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. privatized and regulated. allowing the free purchase and sale of water. Entrusting these contracts to private operations also makes it possible to share the costs of infrastructure maintenance in exchange for profits. The user. therefore. and the failure of private operators to meet their obligations to contribute to the development of the water system. The second context is the involvement of the private sector in the management of water services. but rather acquires the right to use it. with the acquisition from the market of the resources necessary in order to provide the service. Given these risks. which is what happens in France. as applied in the United Kingdom. Any of three different business models may apply: • lifelong territorial monopoly. Among the chief potential benefits is the presumed greater efficiency of the private sector in optimizing the management of water distribution. whether public or privatized. which can be substantial at times. or else by the use of a body of water that extends over borders. 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. 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.164 eating planet Water as a strategic objective is increasingly at the root of conflicts within and between countries. . The third context is the involvement of the private sector in financing infrastructure and services. especially where poorer neighborhoods are concerned. or agricultural) within a single country. does not buy the water. • public ownership and operation. • public ownership with temporary awarding to private operators through bid competitions. The first is the context of the rights of private property for water resources. as in Italy and Germany.12 water privatization and its implications The expression “water privatization” can refer to three different contexts. this model in effect transfers ownership of the entire infrastructure and control of the water to the private operators. when the traditional means of public finance are no longer sufficient to do so in a timely and satisfactory manner. The privatization of water brings with it risks and benefits. triggered by competition among the various uses of water (domestic. 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. controlling costs. Among the risks are price hikes. industrial. and reducing user costs and pricing. 3.

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

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

feed and fiber at affordable prices while being remunerative for the producers and compatible with sustainable agricultural practices. These go by different names. more work is needed to meet social. and since May 2005 he has been the president of the Millennium Institute. Science. producing sufficient. In principle. The transition from these unsatisfactory systems requires a new approach to Hans R. with different levels of compliance to the sustainability and multifunctional goals. as requested in the IAASTD report Agriculture at a Crossroads. the increasing competition from the bio fuel sector. agroecological. Today he is a board member of many organizations. 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.interviews | food for sustainable growth 167 interview the challenging transition toward sustainable agriculture Hans R. as well as one of the directors of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Benin. environmental and economic sustainability. and Technology for Development (IAASTD). He has won many prizes for his research. 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. often non renewable inputs. He was the director general of the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi (ICIPE). . Herren is a worldrenowned scientist. although even in these cases. bio dynamic. The closest models to the set goals are agroecology. given that the present system still uses too much water and external. ranging from organic. the increase of fossil energy prices and in the medium and long term also its scarcity. president of Biovision. he was codirector of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge. there is a need to develop and build into these and new systems more resilience and regenerative potential. and organic /bio dynamic agriculture. diverse and quality food. 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. low or zero tillage to conservation agriculture.

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

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

400 litres and that favourite pair of jeans a whopping 11. It is already a reality for many. 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. packaging and shipping the beans you use to make your morning coffee. In fact. our over-consumption and mismanagement of water has had a very serious impact on our water environments and the essential services they provide. 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. For his revolutionary virtual water concept. Our ignorance is immense. 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.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. A lunchtime hamburger take 2. At the start of the twentieth century. 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. and we don’t know it. he was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in 2008.000 litres. This is especially true on the farms of the world. Already. That’s the true amount of water used in growing. The ratio of water to people was so massive that it was as if our water supply was infinite. To make a cup of coffee. We humans beings don’t understand the true value of water. 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. . water scarcity is not just a possibility. And now. this ignorance simply did not matter. with a global population pushing seven billion. it takes 140 litres. But it is not. producing. We are addicted to over-consuming water. with a global population of one billion. 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. Unfortunately society has evolved not to value water. Most of us don’t have the slightest idea about the sheer volumes of water involved in our daily lives.

Although probably not as cheap as in the past when wheat . the increase in the demand for water and the reduction in water supplies will make water more valuable and. Just as with the “right to food”. it is possible to reflect the costs and impacts in the use of water for domestic. 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.16 seven have seen significant improvements in their returns to water in farming. In the near future. But these uses only account for 10% of the water needed by society. KPMG and Deloitte and countless other accountants and lawyers in the transnational agribusinesses and traders and other private sector firms.interviews | food for sustainable growth 171 aged: farmers are the “de facto” water managers of the world. Developing economies. water and capital see little or no improvement in their water productivity. Of course. As well as the big four global auditors—PwC. That is. the big volumes of water integral to food production. 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. Sadly. the invisible 80-90 per cent of all water used in the global economy. consequently. 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. The big volumes of water are in our food. 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. employed for the production of food. the converse is also true. E&Y. They manage the 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. municipal and industrial uses. Food prices have been falling for 200 years and prices will be low again once the current price spikes are over. increase eco‑ nomic interests in it. They trade food. Of the eight nations states I examined in my latest book. and these increases are delivered by farmers using big water. 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. We have indeed uncovered a golden rule: the development and diversification of economies is always associated with massive increases in the productivity of water.

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.

. In that context. In this context. water. the only possible solution is that of a differentiated approach. 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.). etc.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. in part due to the current and future effects of climate change. The model of the “double pyramid” (food and environment) in fact shows that with sustainable diets the two objectives can be easily attained. etc. We should consider that healthier foods also imply lesser environmental impacts in terms of the consumption of natural resources (soil. 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. it is necessary to encourage investments that make it possible to remove technical and political obstacles. ensure water access. one that takes into account the actual availability of resources and different socioeconomic and geographic settings. in part with a view to the reduction of waste. we should also take into account other significant variables such as the local availability of energy and human expertise. With particular reference to future generations. In the awareness that there cannot be a single model of production that is capable of ensuring sustainability in different agricultural context. 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.) and reduced emissions. water availability. while it should not exclude the children themselves. adaptation to atmospheric phenomena. it therefore becomes necessary to undertake a process of collective awareness of responsibility which. More in general. ought to focus on parents and the school system in order to encourage more responsible approaches to consumption. aside from the classic factors at play (soil quality. 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). encourage sustainable agriculture that takes into account local needs and considerations The global agricultural system reveals a number of aspects of fragility.

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 4.7 4.10 4.12 Demographics.11 4. Longevity.table of contents introduction Agriculture. Nutrition and Health by Ricardo Uauy facts & figures 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 4.9 4. Food. 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 .5 4.2 4.6 4.3 4.1 4.

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

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

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

This increases palatability but also leads us into obesity and related chronic diseases. it should also be adequate in micronutrient content and in the quality of the macronutrients supplied (fats.178 eating planet and micronutrients to form a progressively larger brain and a more complex nervous system. high-carbohydrate. More than hunter-gatherers. we evolved as scavengers. Now. 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. . energy-dense diets with a substantial fat and sugar content. and good nutrition depends on healthy foods and sustainable agricultural practices. carbohydrates and proteins).

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

equivalent to approximately 246 million people.9 mILLION 9 mILLION 11. there were 7.9 million deaths worldwide that can be attributed to cancers.6 million are due to heart disease and 5.4 million in 2030. 2015 + mILLION 7 YEAR DIABETICS/PER Every year there are more than 7 million new cases of diabetes worldwide: one every 5 seconds. with roughly a 27% increase over 2003 (194 million diabetics) 194 mILLION + INCREASE estimate 2003 27% 246 mILLION estimate 2007 . Of these deaths.  food for health RISE IN DEATHS CAUSED BY CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE 17.4 mILLION In 2007.5 mILLION 2007 2005 2015 Equivalent to 30% of all deaths worldwide.180 eating planet 4. 7. According to future estimates. In 2007. 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. the worldwide rate of diabetes was roughly 6% among people aged 20 to 79.

12. Despite this.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. life expectancy at birth in western nations has almost doubled. rising from 45 years at the end of the nineteenth century to roughly 80 years in 2010.5 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. they account for 25% of the entire world population of undernourished people . in developing nations. and by a defective nutritional model and lifestyle. metabolic. The molecular. and they live. 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. play a central role in the aging process In the United States. and hormonal alterations caused by an excessive and chronic caloric intake. the percentage of people over 65 suffering from two or more chronic diseases is very high.

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

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

All the data are revealing a rapid decline in average health conditions. and immediately. encouraged. This phase of life is absolutely crucial to all subsequent development. including government. the observations. and private companies and corporations. represent the chief risk factor for human health. doctors. even in areas (such as Italy) normally considered the homelands of sound diets and healthy lifestyles. 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. Unless we begin. Unless the dietary and lifestyle trends that have emerged with such striking speed over the last few decades on a worldwide level are reversed. to modify the lifestyles and dietary habits of the current generations. 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. 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. This collaboration is not just important. in mounting a successful prevention effort. individuals cannot by themselves change trends that have been influenced. However. and tumors). starting with young people. but fundamental. the discussions with the leading international experts on the issues of diet and health—that there is no more time to waste. the rapidity and depth of the trends make time a crucial element in all and every corrective intervention. both current and predicted. the mass media.and medium-income nations. 4.1 a few key figures: global trends in chronic diseases and their social and economic impacts Today the principal chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases. or not adequately disincentivized by many other forces shaping public health. future generations will be inexorably condemned to live less well than the generations that preceded them. any effort to improve the current scenario must fully and synergistically engage all the key actors in the agroalimentary world. And we must act quickly. These diseases cause some 35 million deaths every year—60 percent of all worldwide deaths and 80 percent of deaths in low. 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 .184 eating planet habits and ways of life among children. To succeed. through the analysis. as well as an enormous socioeconomic burden on society as a whole. from pre-school age all the way up to adolescence. In fact. diabetes.

” Currently.000 in the member nations of the European Union). on the other hand.6 million were due to heart disease and 5. that is. The gravity of overweight and obesity among young people is documented. their impact on global health could increase by 17 percent in the next 10 years. This value includes both direct health costs (hospital treatment and care. The most recent estimates of the total cost of cardiovascular diseases in the United States indicate an impact of US$473. the impact of cardiovascular for a healthy life | food for health 185 the consumption of tobacco. without adequate prevention. physical inactivity. more than 65 percent of all Americans are obese or overweight. unhealthy diets. Throughout Europe. Over the last decade. The World Health Organization has noted that in 2005 there were roughly 17.3 Coronary diseases are responsible for the greatest number of fatalities (1. and we are seeing this phenomenon spread to the younger sectors of the population. some US$70 billion. This makes cardiovascular disease the number one killer on Earth. Aside from their importance to health. 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. cardiovascular diseases are responsible for 4. If we assign a cash value to these data. Similarly. According to a recent study by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. by 2015. the increase in cardiovascular diseases is strongly linked to poor diet. In the United States. and more than 860. for example. equal to 30 percent of all deaths. 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 world.3 billion in 2009. to cite once again a shocking American statistic. pharmaceuti- . in nearly all the countries on earth. some truly astonishing numbers emerge. 7. there has been an exponential increase in obesity. the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases worldwide will grow to 20 million every year. nearly a third of all American children and adolescents have been found to be either overweight or obese.7 million were caused by strokes. Of those deaths. In the United States it is estimated that 80 million people are affected by one or more cardiovascular disease in any given year.3 million deaths every year (2 million within the European Union).000 die of those diseases.1 Overweight and obesity are now fully recognized as diseases. It’s been estimated that. On the other hand.5 million deaths due to cardiovascular diseases worldwide.9 million deaths in all Europe and over 741. by the tripling of cases of overweight young people from 1970 to the present day. they also have significant economic effects. and the excessive consumption of alcohol.

Every year.2 percent of the population) is expected to rise to 69. an increase of 54.8 million (7. the total costs of cardiovascular diseases have been estimated at roughly €21.186 eating planet cals. 4 Of these costs. and diabetes in China will be equivalent to US$558 billion. which include the costs of hospital treatment and care and the cost of pharmaceuticals. among people aged 20 to 79 the worldwide incidence of the disease was around 6. Estimates for 2025 indicate a substantial increase in the rate. 63 percent (€13. The prevalence of diabetes will grow both in industrialized countries and in developing countries. In China. According to recent WHO estimates. in 2025 this number is expected to to rise to a little under 60 million (5. for example. The spread of cardiovascular diseases entails serious economic and social repercussions.5 percent over 2007.8 million people with diabetes in 2007. not only in the developed countries. That’s an increase of roughly 27 percent over 2003 (when it was estimated that 194 million people suffered from this disease).1 percent of world population (380 million people).6 percent of the population) by 2025. the total economic impact of cardiovascular diseases for 2006 was estimated at roughly €192 billion. it is estimated that there were approximately 39. In Europe. the impact of diabetes. with a projected rise to US$300 billion in 2025. equal to 4. a 50-percent increase. the costs incurred in the treatment and care of diabetes are very high. An even more worrisome growth trend is expected in India.8 billion) have to do with the direct costs charged to the health system.6 the cumulative cost over 10 years of cardiac diseases. 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.0 percent in 2007. which corresponds to a total average per capita cost of €391. With reference to diabetes (another disease strongly influenced by diet).8 million (6. As in the case of cardiovascular diseases. home assistance.8 billion per year. where the current number of cases of 40. but also in developing nations such as China. worldwide. In Italy. those costs reached a global level in 2007 of about US$232 billion. strokes. According to the estimates of the International Diabetes Federation. or about 246 million people.3 percent of the population. 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. A study by the American Diabetes Association7 estimated the cost of diabetes .).6 percent of the population). which will rise to 7. etc.

Most of those costs (55 percent) was due to hospitalization for acute and chronic complications. an annual average cost of €2.9 million deaths worldwide that could be blamed on tumors.650 is attributable directly to diabetes.400 annually. to a level of 9 million in 2015 and 11.834 per patient was incurred. of which US$6. As for Europe (EU25). the economic impact of cancers rose to more than US$228 billionin 2008. including both health costs and productivity losses.”9 while a healthy lifestyle is “a way of life directed toward the reduction of the risk of diseases and premature death. in 2007 there were 7. pharmaceuticals. of them.).2 guidelines for a healthy way of eating and lifestyle The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical.S. and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In the United States. 4. roughly 16.4 million in 2030. Cancers are also tied to poor diet and nutrition. for a healthy life | food for health 187 in the United States in 2007 to be US$174 billion. by the European Society for Medical Oncology. Another study done of European diabetics8 estimates that. just for the direct health costs of the disease (hospitalization. is a fundamental component in creating a healthy lifestyle. The scope of the socioeconomic impact that can be traced to cardiovascular diseases. National Institutes of Health. diabetes.” 10 Not all diseases can be prevented (for instance. clinical treatment. mental. about 75 percent occurred in low. in 2002 cancer caused a loss of human life equivalent to nearly 10 million years. 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. Estimates point to a worldwide rise in deaths caused by tumors. at €56. 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. According to WHO data. but in many cases conscientious prevention can put off or reduce the risk of onset. etc. A clear majority of these deaths will occur place in low. Diet. direct medical costs alone for cancer in Europe have been medium-income countries.6 billion. But what kind of diet and lifestyle? Analyzing the guidelines for preventing chronic diseases from the World Health Organization and the world’s most .to medium-income countries. In a similar context. therefore. according to the estimates of the U.7 percent of the total years of health lost by all European citizens to disease. American diabetic patients on average bear costs of over US$11. heart attacks and cancer).

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

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. children are making pizza at a food education workshop at a school in Madrid. In this photo. .

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. 2009.1 The methodology followed for the convergence of guidelines for healthy diet and lifestyle Source: BCFN. .

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

garlic. capable of adhering—in different measures and ways—to the principles sanctioned by medical science.000 Americans.600 grams as against the roughly 2. basically. diet and chronic diseases. and Campania had very low blood cholesterol levels and a minimal percentage of coronary diseases. This seems to be the result of an excessive consumption of food (about 2. This diet includes an abundance of mineral salts. diets close to the Mediterranean diet help protect against the most widespread chronic diseases. That diet has triggered concern over the exponential increase in obesity and metabolic diseases in the United States. in particular. Montegiorgio (Marche). The populations of Nicotera. 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). These characteristics ensure that the North American diet falls notably far from recommended guidelines and should be to some extent revised and supplemented. The Japanese dietary model 13 —taken as an example of the dietary style prevalent in eastern Asia—favors the consumption of cereal grains. Their diet was based on olive oil.192 eating planet the center of attention of the scientific world. bread and pasta. largely derived from fish. . which are not adequately counterbalanced by a high level of fruit and vegetables. The nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet. much higher than the 45 grams of the Mediterranean diet and the 18 grams of the North American diet. but is protective against all causes of mortality. and very little meat.1 percent of total daily consumption. All of this shows that very different dietary models can coexist side-by-side. and polyunsaturated fats. who followed a Mediterranean dietary style. especially from deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases and tumors.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. aromatic herbs. was scientifically demonstrated by the well-known “Seven Countries Study” 14 directed by Ancil Keys. omega-3 fatty acids. A number of studies15 have shown that sticking to the Mediterranean diet produces significant reductions in overall mortality. The indicated that the best dietary regime was that of the inhabitants of Nicotera. In general.12 This diet. Fish consumption averages 107 grams daily. That study compared the diets of the populations of seven different countries to test those diets’ benefits. vegetables. in Calabria. is largely rich in proteins and sugars. phosphorus. equal to no less than 24 percent of the total daily intake. including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. red onions.16 Similar results are also found in recent studies17 conducted for 10 years on a sample of more than 380. The Mediterranean diet appears capable of reducing the risk of heart attack by 72 percent. respectively 11.7 percent and 7. and fish.

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

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

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. Particularly interesting are the findings of one recent research project22 conducted on young Americans between the ages of 6 and 19. Four mothers of overweight children out of ten do not believe that their children are overweight for their and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 195 numbers of adolescents and children who are overweight or obese. Overall. Finally. children are obese or overweight because of dietary habits that both fail to support healthy growth and predispose those children to weight gain. have television sets in their bedrooms. Half the children.6 percent) and more than 12 are obese (12. • 28 percent eat an inadequate breakfast. and • 23 percent of parents state that their children do not consume fruit or vegetables on a daily basis. out of every 100 children in third grade. almost 24 are overweight (23. the perception of the problem by the parents. . In particular. it is estimated that more than 1. seems to be inversely proportional to the statistical frequency of the excess weight. In Italy. the impact of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence is extremely significant. and US$12 more for emergency services. 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. it appears that: • 11 percent of children don’t eat breakfast.2 million children between the ages of 6 and 11 have problems of obesity or overweight: more than a third of all children. moreover. US$114 more for drug prescriptions. both for government health-care budgets and in terms of effects on the physical and cognitive development of children and adolescents. As the reader can easily imagine. 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. • 82 percent eat too abundant a mid-morning snack.3 percent). If we extrapolate these data to the entire nation.” While the health consequences of childhood obesity and overweight appear to be well documented in the literature. obesity and overweight bad eating habits in children Often. as of this writing the economic impacts on social and health systems have only been quantified by a small number of studies.

adolescence. and weaning (first teeth). The earliest phase. carbohydrates. and youth. the nutritional and lifestyle indications are roughly the same as for adults. and includes the period between the ages of 11 and 18 in the male. suckling. Energy is necessary for maintaining respiration. energy is consumed in digestion. A measure of how important the ingestion of energy is in the early years is the fact that.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. Beyond that. The macronutrients contained in the foods that are capable of providing that energy are fats. can itself be subdivided into early childhood. ranges from age 18 to 25 for males and from age 16 to 20 for females. Specific dietary needs are associated with each phase. The second phase is adolescence (or puberty). metabolism. second childhood or the age of play: this includes the period running from the third to the fifth year of age. the quantity of proteins ingested by a young child is almost the same as an adult. In the first year of life. and proteins. 4.1 billion dollars a year just for those three categories. for every gram of macronutrients ingested and per unit of body weight. which runs from birth to the first two years and includes the so-called periods of newborn (the first month of life). childhood. and between 11 and 16 in the female. finally. circulation. and in physical activity. 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.” which includes the period from 6 to 11 years of age. the demand for energy for growth is considerable compared to the total but it rapidly decreases. Youth. childhood. In this latter phase. and third childhood. but the carbohydrates ingested are almost twice as much and the quantity of fats is almost four times greater. 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. 50-60 percent of the energy spent daily by the child is due to basal metabo- . Body growth is accompanied by neurological and psychological development. from 35 percent in the first month to 5 percent at the end of the first year.196 eating planet among young people appear to cause incremental costs to the American health system of US$14. and renal and cerebral function in conditions of rest (basal metabolism). and warehousing nutrients (thermogenesis). also called “school age. during the deposit of new tissues (growth). After the first year and until the ages of 9 or 10. as are the intakes of nutrients and lifestyles to be recommended for healthy development.

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

the principal macronutrients. Their bodies are undergoing a phase of growth that demands the presence of the amino acids necessary for the generation of tissues. especially for school-age and pre-schoolage children. Prolonged periods of inadequate energy intake can lead to full-blown malnutrition and/or a state of reduced protein reserves. and only 2 percent to growth. fats.916 usa 806‑1. In contrast. As noted earlier.1.453‑1.417‑1. Therefore.094 1.694‑1. 5-8 percent to thermogenesis.667 1. especially pre-school-age children. some of them quite serious.1). 30-40 percent to physical activity. in view of the rise of obesity among children and adolescents.088 1. and carbohydrates. the body makeup.377 1. and the average level of physical activity of the individual boy or girl.792‑2.198 eating planet lism.500‑1. excessive inputs of energy encourage the deposit of excess fat. . 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. 2006. When the intake of energy is to be lower than the required minimum.204‑1.957 Source: Società italiana di nutrizione umana. FAO. And so there is an overall range of values that can be considered reliable.613 1. the principal macronutrients necessary for the proper ingestion of energy for pre-school-age and school-age children are proteins. 1996.398 1. problems may arise. especially table 4. 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. The chart shows average values. the WHO recommends limiting the excessive ingestion of fats and sugars from the earliest ages. Proteins constitute an essential component of all human cells and for that reason an adequate protein intake has proven to be fundamental. 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 768‑1.034 countries / organizations who 906‑1. in the child’s growth and ability to perform normal physical activities. which can also vary considerably in terms of weight characteristics. in which tissue-deposited proteins are used for the generation of energy.

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

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

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

411 Source: Developed by BCFN on data from the Società italiana di nutrizione umana.048 1.864‑2.29 especially of muscles. The most common nutrient deficiencies at this age are iron and calcium deficiencies. . In contrast.338 1.993‑2. The appetite encourages the ingestion of food that satisfies the need for both energy and various nutrients. During pre-adolescence.2 shows the intervals of energy requirements in adolescents. which may result in shortages of given elements. The increase in lean body mass.202 eating planet cents.942‑2.515‑3. 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. in most cases.297 1. is efficiently satisfied through the finely calibrated and automatic regulation of the appetite by the hypothalamus. but when adolescence begins males accumulate more lean body mass for every additional kilogram of body weight acquired during growth. Peak growth generally occurs between the ages of 11 and 15 for girls and 13 and 16 for boys.739‑2. 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. The system generally works well to ensure the ingestion of sufficient quantities of energy to satisfy metabolic needs. Requirements of energy and nutrients are variable from day to day. even for the same individual. lean body mass is roughly equivalent in the two sexes.898‑2. Associazione italiana di dietetica e nutrizione clinica. The nutritional requirements of adolescents are influenced first of all by physical growth. and level of physical activity. The ranges are sharply influenced by such factors as weight.343 2.794 2. is more significant in male adolescents than their female counterparts.2. 2011.215 females 1. body makeup. in particular in the muscular and erythrocytic mass. 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 energy requirement. Anemia due to a lack of iron is one of the most widespread and common diseases associated with inadequate diet.28 Adolescents can come down with anemia as a result of the sharp increase in the tissue demand for iron.277‑2.393‑2. table 4.976 2. which means that they have a final value of lean body mass almost twice that of females. Table 4. the regulation of the ingestion of nutrients may prove to be less than optimal.

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. This means a daily requirement of about 18 milligrams as against the 12 milligrams daily requirement for boys.” that is.” between the ages of 10 and 14 in girls and 12 and 15 in boys. such as citrus fruits. Although the maximum quantity of calcium that can be deposited in the bones is determined genetically. This makes it clear just how important intake of calcium-rich foods is for boys and especially for girls. Once menstruation begins. The ingestion of foods that are rich in vitamin C. dark green vegetables. The iron contained in foods of animal origin. In fact. On the other hand. 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. also known as “iron eme. it is very common for adolescents to have diets that are lacking in a number of nutrients. peak bone mass can never be attained if the individual fails to ingest an adequate quantity of calcium. approximately 45 percent of the skeletal mass of an adult is formed during adolescence. Blood (and thus iron) loss due to menstruation requires supplementation of this fundamental trace element. The greatest need for calcium comes in what is called the “first adolescence. girls need to ingest a good 50 percent more iron than boys do. Because only about 30 percent of calcium ingested is actually absorbed.” is absorbed more easily than iron from non-animal sources (also known as noneme iron). In this period the average daily retention of calcium is approximately 200 milligrams in females and 300 milligrams in 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. 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. adolescents who eat a vegetarian diet are more at risk of iron shortages. who will be more exposed to the risk of osteoporosis with the onset of menopause later on. Iron supplements must therefore be taken on those specific days. and a calcium shortage during this period can damage an individual’s proper growth. encourages the absorption of iron from plant sources. 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. the greatest possible level of calcification. they should increase their consumption of iron-rich foods30 such as lean meats and fish. legumes. Because of this higher need for iron in adolescents. because of fads or because they want to lose . Calcium also performs an essential function in adolescents experiencing rapid growth. and cereal grains enriched with iron. Therefore.

yogurt. dance. hypertension. Addressing this problem requires not only a sound diet but also a focus on physical movement. mozzarella. calisthenics. etc. and coordination. from three to five times a week. Studies undertaken in Europe and in the U. can help to increase bone mass and density.” For adolescents of both genders the daily consumption of 1.32 adolescents should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. constipation and intestinal diverticulosis. Aside from engaging in adequate physical activity. Adequate physical condition also correlates positively with the improvement of the body’s elasticity. gymnastics. and certain forms of cancer. but also of the later development of such chronic diseases as heart disease. and weightlifting with an instructor’s supervision. which includes both athletic physical activity and play. Regular motor activity encourages the maintenance of adequate body weight and an optimal body makeup. Conversely. Sports and motor activities such as swimming. and persistence of a number of diseases such as obesity. Consuming various portions of such dairy products as milk. and the reinforcement of the bones. and cheese makes it easy to reach the recommended level of calcium. Regular physical activity and sports bring notable benefits to the cardiovascular and skeletal systems as well as to the metabolism. or else just bicycling. skating. Physical inactivity is not merely one of the leading causes of overweight and obesity in adolescents. progression. obesity in adolescence is associated with metabolic diseases in adulthood and to higher mortality rates. it also makes adolescents stronger and accustoms them to adopting a lifestyle that will sustain healthier lives in the years to come.204 eating planet weight quickly and to an excessive degree. To be specific. On the basis of current recommendations. equilibrium. osteoporosis. release tension and stress. 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. in other words.. agility. have shown that most adolescents are physically inactive or else adopt a lifestyle that does not call for adequate physical activity. eating properly means considering the quantity and quality of food ingested and the distribution of food con- . they are. the lack of physical activity among adolescents plays an important role in the development. Overweight and obesity in adolescents constitute a serious nutritional problem that is very likely to persist in adulthood. The principal dietary source of calcium is dairy and cheese products. for about 60 minutes a day.S. ball sports. Motor activity helps to burn calories. and improve moods and psychological welfare.200 milligrams of calcium per day is recommended. adolescents must eat properly for health and growth. sedentary. who often therefore fail to reach “peak bone mass. Aged cheeses contain greater concentrations of calcium because they have been subjected to a process that leads to water loss. diabetes.

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.

etc. sumed over the course of the day. dairy products. It also can help reduce risks linked to common chronic diseases in later ages. seeds. 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. . prosciutto.) and foods produced by and from animals (meat. Variety is also a good idea. governments and international organizations that are involved in health issues have formulated guidelines to establish a balanced diet in the various stages of life. up to and including adulthood. etc. cereal grains. 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.34 In general.). As we have noted. especially for the prevention of the chief chronic diseases. it means a mixed diet that includes plant-based foods (fruit. Caloric intake should be broken down as shown in figure 4.206 eating planet Breakfast 20% Dinner 30% Mid‑morning snack 5% Afternoon snack 10% Lunch 35% figure 4. legumes. cheese.33 4.2. 2011. as well as alternating foods over the course of the week. vegetables.7 guidelines for healthy diets and sound lifestyles in children and adolescents Given the importance of diet during adolescence. nutritional science indicates that children should eat five times a day. good nutrition is not enough.2 Breakdown of caloric intake during the day Source: BCFN on Società italiana di nutrizione umana data. with a specific focus on adolescence.

a sound diet might mean eating various foods at these intervals: • cereal grains (bread and pasta): every day.) who provide care to children at different times of the day.8 recommendations Two key findings emerge from these observations and analyses. 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. pediatricians. and children: educate today for a better life tomorrow | food for health 207 4. Prevention is also emerging as one of main lines of future action to ensure the financial sustainability of healthcare systems. the result of the coordination of a variety of actors (school. doctors. • eggs: once or twice a week. • milk and dairy products: every day. . It is in the family that a child learns to eat and internalizes dietary behaviors. etc. • fruits and vegetables: every day. • meat: two or three times a week. Above all else. 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. 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. On the other hand. Nevertheless. the school—by virtue of its growing importance in shaping diets and the potential the weekly menu for children During a given week. • fish: at least three times a week. the findings undeniably reveal the extreme importance of a sound approach to diet from the youngest age. problems of methodology. family. most of the studies done to date have focused on adults. • cheese: twice a week. First. economics. and although the general picture we present here is based to some degree on fragmentary evidence. and organization have made it difficult to study children and adolescents in sufficient detail. ensuring that children and adolescents eat properly seems to require a concerted effort. • legumes: at least twice a week. Second.

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

the world will have more than 8 billion inhabitants. . in the various phases of their lives from children through old ages. Finally. 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 4.3 The various actors in food education Source: BCFN. 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. 2010. In the last hundred years. 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. physicians are also key actors in establishing dietary and lifestyle virtuous cycles. according to United Nations estimates. In particular. principally as a result of the general increase in average life expectancy.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.

that is. arterial hypertension. 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. Overweight and obesity (in particular abdominal obesity) are associated with an increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and tumoral conditions. the fact that those lives are growing longer might no longer imply that they are also improving in quality. and chronic pulmonary diseases). We might find ourselves facing an old age characterized by a sharply reduced quality of life for a significantly longer time. ideally for their entire lives. 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.210 eating planet doubled. We must confront squarely the problem of aging and the diseases associated with aging by implementing a preventive and integrated approach. 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. happy. The same trend can be seen all over the world. In the period from 1950 to 2010.9 billion people. strong. . Those diseases are responsible for about 70 percent of all deaths in many industrialized and developing countries. cigarette smoking). for example rising in Italy from 4 percent in 1900 to 20. the world’s elderly population grew at an average annual rate of 13 percent. In light of these demographic changes. active. stretching out from 45 years at the end of the nineteenth century to approximately 80 years in 2010.35 Those numbers are destined to rise because of the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that is currently under way. hypercaloric diets. independent. even among the younger members of the population. a trend that shows no sign of slowing: it is estimated that in 2050 the over-65 population will amount to 1.6 percent in 2010. In 2050. people over 65 are expected represent 34 percent of the population: one out of every three people will be elderly. a reduction of the gap between the duration of one’s life (lifespan) and the duration of one’s health (healthspan). It is more necessary than ever before to identify and adopt lifestyles that promote healthy and successful aging. the epidemic of obesity. and that ensure that individuals can remain physically and mentally healthy. tumors. Unless corrective interventions are carried out in the lives of millions. and socially useful for the longest possible time. and the deterioration of lifestyles (sedentary lifestyle. diabetes mellitus. These demographic changes are very worrisome and could cause a general crisis in the healthcare systems of many countries. both industrialized and developing. in Italy.

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

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

This means an increase in economic inactivity and dependency on the younger members of the population. Life expectancies are rising even in countries that still lag in terms of economic and social development.4 percent in 2050. Europe has the highest rate of dependency on Earth. Oklahoma. In the United States. for example. Estimates tell us that that rate will rise until it reaches 48 percent in 2050. and Louisiana. but it is expected that between 2005 and 2015 deaths from such diseases will grow by 17 percent. even though Bangladesh is a country with only partial suffrage. men’s life expectancy in 2020 will rise to 71 years. numbers that are much lower than in the countries shown above. In Bangladesh.4). Tennessee.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 213 4.4 percent of GDP (approximately US$2. and major challenges in terms of obtaining basic pharmaceuticals. alone among all developed countries.9 demographics. especially among women. life expectancies are progressively falling. Chronic diseases are already the leading cause of death in the world. Alabama. too. inadequate healthcare structures. 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. longevity. A recent study38 has shown that in states such as Mississippi. Worldwide.5 trillion) was invested in healthcare in 2009 compared with 5 percent in 1960. who are showing the highest rates of obesity and smoking. In Italy. the state with the highest rate of obesity. and the economic and social impacts of the principal diseases As a result of global economic growth.6 shows the effects on healthcare costs of living longer lives but not in good health. Figure 4. the UN predicts that the rate of elderly dependency will grow from the current 11. In Mississippi in particular. The chart shows the increase in the share of GDP spent on healthcare on average in the OECD nations and certain representative countries. and scientific progress. As was mentioned earlier in this chapter. 17. albeit more modestly.9 billion in 2050. in 2010 it was 70. Arkansas.71 years for men (figure 4. The United States. is beginning to witness a decline in life expectancy at birth in some states. with a shift from approximately 6 percent of GDP per year in the 1960s to the current level of . a general improvement in living conditions. there has been growth in healthcare spending. Figure 4. the global elderly population (over 65) is growing continuously and will reach an estimated 1. life expectancy is just 67 years for men and 74 years for women. average worldwide life expectancy37 has increased steadily since the turn of the century.5 percent to 25.14 years for women and 65.5 shows the 10 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with the highest life expectancies. Kentucky. which is only three years less than men’s life expectancy in Europe.

4 World life expectancies.08 64. In China and India.70 59.47 68.35 57.17 70.05 60.214 eating planet 10 percent (approximately €180 billion). major increases in healthcare spending are also predicted. diseases that result from.09 68. unhealthy diets and lifestyles. comparison between the male and the female Source: BCFN on UN (World Population Prospect) data.48 62. goes for the treatment and care of those suffering from the chronic diseases we have discussed in this book.76 66.01 48.63 67. of course.21 63.20 69.33 65. or are worsened by. 2010.85 64.79 74.67 51.27 65.65 70.66 46.71 67.64 58.75 73. In general.79 80 61.09 50 60 70 figure 4. 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 48.59 72.83 55. perhaps 80 percent of all cases of chronic disease could be prevented.42 56.59 62.52 53.10 49. A great deal of this spending.14 71. population (1950‑2030) .

physical inactivity. 2010. (Recent statistics have shown a rising incidence of dementia in individuals over 65.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 215 ing such risk factors as smoking tobacco. Certain risk factors predispose people to both dementia and cardiovascular diseases. The estimated worldwide cost of dementia in 2010 was US$604 billion. 84 Finland 78 While only 38 percent of the people who 84 suffer from dementia live in high-income Austria 77 nations. finally rising to a rate of about 30 percent at the age of 80.35 percent in 79 low. and cancer.50 per85 France 78 cent in medium. 83 and 1.24 percent 85 Switzerland in low-income nations. . dementia results in people living 11. Life expectancy in 10 OECD countries.39 85 Japan 80 These costs represent approximately 1 85 percent of world GDP and significant Spain 80 shares of GDP in all nations: medium-income nations. Dementia affects between 1 and 5 percent of the population over 65. high levels of cholesterol.) 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. 0. and the excessive consumption of alcohol. According to the Global Burden of Diseases Study. and smoking) are often predisposed to contract neurodegenerative diseases as well (figure 4. unhealthy dietary models and customs (diets).24 percent in high-income nations. 70 per86 Italy cent of those costs are incurred in West80 ern Europe and in North America. comparison between the male Currently in Italy it is estimated that 2 population (2010) and the female million people suffer from dementia. cardiac diseases. 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. 0.5 because of an absence of structured and accessible healthcare services. diabetes. Korea 80 In England the social cost of dementia 84 Australia (₤17 billion) is greater than the cost of 78 strokes.1 percent of their total years of life.7). Patients with high levels of cardiovascular risk (hypertension. Older people are also more likely to be stricken by neurodegenerative conditions (dementia) and osteoporosis as they age.9 percent of their years on Earth in a condition of chronic disability and to lose 1. tobetween 2 percent and 10 high-income nations. 72 percent of the costs are 84 Canada incurred in those very same countries. with the prevalence doubling every four years. of Source: BCFN on OECD data.

The costs are high. . 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 4.6 Share of GDP spent on total health care costs (1960‑2009) Source: BCFN on OECD data.216 eating planet whom roughly 63 percent are older than 80. 2009. both for the healthcare and social welfare systems and for the patients and their families.

afflicting 7 percent. 40 Osteoporosis affects an estimated 150 million people around the world. and the United States. 2011.1 minutes in 2001 to one every 3. putting it third after hypertension (16 percent) and arthrosis and arthritis (17.3 percent).7 minutes in 2021. . femur. 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. In the United States perhaps 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis. or vertebral fractures—very close to the likelihood of suffering coronary problems. Japan. 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. Osteoporosis is increasing worldwide and the World Health Organization has identified it as a health priority. and an additional 34 million have such low bone mass that they are at risk of developing osteoporosis. osteoporosis is one of the most common chronic diseases associated with aging. Osteoporosis is a pathology characterized by the decline in bone mass and the deterioration of the microarchitecture of the bones. too. In Italy.7 Prevalence of Alzheimer’s by age group (2009) Source: BCFN on EURODEM study. The incidence of osteoporotic fractures is expected to increase from one every 8. Most of them have a 15 percent probability of suffering wrist.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). 75 million of them in Europe.

may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 60 percent.41 Among women. 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. including diabetes. A 5-7 percent reduction of body weight.7 billion in 2050. In particular. neurodegenerative diseases. Below is a summary of what’s currently known about the relationship between longevity and certain diseases (diabetes. and osteoporosis) and the role played by diet and lifestyle. Tumors and tumoral diseases are caused by many factors but harmful lifestyles and diets certainly increase their likelihood. One of the most important non-dietary factors is smoking tobacco. 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. however: in Italy the disease afflicts 3. diet is important in preventing the accumulation of excess abdominal fat. . disability and suboptimal health. it is likely that humankind will soon experience. 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.000 men.9 million women and 840. for the first time in modern history. which is linked to Type 2 diabetes. cancers. 15 percent between 50 and 59 are affected. 42 Numerous studies have shown that abdominal fat is perhaps even more strongly correlated with Type 2 diabetes than a high body mass index. a prolonged old age marked by the risk of fragility. heart attacks. The economic burden of osteoporosis is comparable to that of the leading chronic diseases. and breast cancer.7 billion in 2000 to approximately €76. tumors. The nutritional approach is univerally recognized as a fundamental tool in preventing and treating Type 2 diabetes and its complications. Because overweight and obesity are both linked to the development of insulin resistance and the onset of diabetes. 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. since it is also strongly correlated to insulin resistance. 4. The number of osteoporotic fractures is expected to rise with the aging of the European population.218 eating planet by gender. obesity.10 diet and lifestyle and their effects on longevity and diseases of aging As we have said. compared with more than 30 percent in the 60-69 age range and 45 percent of the 70-79 age range. diabetes. with costs rising from €31. a practice that increases roughly thirty-fold an individual’s risk of contracting pulmonary tumors. a central feature of diabetes.

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

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

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

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

This too can translate into a shortening of life expectancy.longevity and welfare: the fundamental role of nutrition | food for health 223 age. and has been known for many years. increasing attention to telomeres on the part of the mass reader- . When the cell runs out of telomere sequences. it loses a sequence of telomeres. 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. it seems to emerge from some studies that cellular inflammation (even “silent” inflammation. depending on a number of factors. While it is known. the process takes place in the following manner: every time that a cell is duplicated. reducing longevity and quality of life. Those studies make clear that the dietary model adopted can either benefit or impair the body’s inflammatory responses. produce an inflammatory state in the blood and tissues that can intensify the repair processes and lead to their early exhaustion. therefore. such as diabetes and obesity. 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. Other diseases and health conditions. In this context. 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. that is to say. Moreover. the telomeres (the terminal region of the chromosomes). 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. non-painful “silent” inflammation generated by the adoption of unhealthy dietary models. Longterm silent inflammation accelerates consumption of the body’s repair capacity and thus the onset of chronic diseases. and they therefore age and die. The cumulative effect of this damage is a decline of many physiological functions and the vital structures of the organism itself. These cells can exhaust their capacity to replicate—and therefore their reparative potential—earlier or later in the course of life. 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. in a more direct link. that injuries or microbial attacks were the cause of inflammatory responses on the part of the organism. 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. In other words. In summary. inflammation caused by diet) is one of the interpretative bases for the origin of a diverse array of chronic diseases. are no longer able to reproduce correctly. it dies. Cells.

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

In general terms. The first piece of important information to emerge from the project is the fact that aging processes affect each of us. anemia. such as osteoporosis. reduction of body temperature and sensitivity to cold. longer. research on the inflammation. during caloric reduction the organism slows the aging processes and focuses on the systems assigned to repair damage.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. . 4. These particular chimpanzees were also completely protected against obesity and diabetes. inflammation. 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. sarcopenia. it is necessary to emphasize that excessive caloric restriction could also involve risks of serious health damage. Inside our bodies. There are important differences between studies done on cells and on animals. the processes of cell regeneration are constantly active. and certain hormones and growth factors. The objective is not just to live linkage and on caloric restriction is not conclusive. (However. infertility. once we emerge from the age of growth.) For the time being. 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. paradoxically from the day of our birth. libido reduction. 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. remains at the current threshold of scientific medicine. It is not yet known whether such a diet can slow aging in humans as well. and amenorrhoea. and studies done on human beings. in a sense. This research. 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. chimpanzees. but rather to live better. carotid artery intima and media thickness. for now. immune deficiency. And the researchers saw a significant slowing in the atrophy of certain areas of the study chimpanzees’ brains. and it is premature to extend the results of the former to the latter. places itself on a “stand-by” and “protection” footing if it perceives the absence of nutrition. glycemia. Does it work in humans? A recent study of our genetic near-relatives. high arterial blood pressure.

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

The message has to be “eat less” or “eat this instead of that. offices. These aim to prevent illness or harm in one of two ways: changing the environment or changing personal behavior. and airplanes have made it so expensive or inconvenient to smoke that many people have stopped. It did not depend on personal behavior. and don’t seem to be able to reach us in our daily life. prototypical public health measure—turning off the Broad Street pump to prevent the spread of cholera—was an environmental change. .” And nobody wants to put the food industry out of business. That brings us to food and obesity. Water chlorination. make healthier products. and forbid smoking in schools. This is a new area of regulation and in the United States Marion Nestle is one of the most respected nutritionists in the world. and Public Health (the department she chaired from 1988-2003) and Professor of Sociology at New York University. and stop marketing junk food as healthy or targeting children. But I’m guessing that you are more interested in policies that change personal behavior. She is the author of Food Politics (2002). Despite this. some more effective than others. She is a writer and a university professor. it took aggressive action on the part of government to implement such policies. And the ultimate goal of anti-smoking advocates is to put cigarette companies out of business. and What to Eat (2003). She is also a visiting professor at the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. But in all of these cases. Foods are not cigarettes. And many countries have food safety laws. regulating the food environment or personal choice presents different kinds of challenges. Laws that require automobile drivers and riders to wear seat belts and cyclists to wear helmets are obvious examples. The classic. put warning labels on cigarette packages. The message is simple: stop. Food Studies. and policies to change the food environment or personal eating behavior are necessarily more complicated. But people have to eat. she specializes in the issues of food policy and dietary choices. buses. topics linked to prevention tend to remain on the theoretical plane more than on the practical one. Safe Food (2003). We just want companies to behave better. She is the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition. The big one is how to influence what people eat and how much they eat. To these must be added anti-smoking policies that raise taxes. and fluoridation to prevent tooth decay are other such measures. Therefore. Food Politics received many awards. With cigarette smoking. 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. it’s just one product.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.

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

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

. They should establish agricultural policies that encourage production and consumption of vegetables and other plant foods and variety in food intake.230 eating planet in school. but discourage consumption of highly processed food products. 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.

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

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

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. Policies around limits for screen time and for physical activity for the very young would also be welcome. Unfortunately. 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. there are economic disincentives to many of the best ideas. especially restriction of sugar-sweetened beverages. the soft drink industry might reduce the amount of sweetener in all sugar-sweetened beverages. more nutrient-dense and of more appropriate portion size. . In terms of food processing. For example. in your opinion. The marketing of low nutrient dense foods to children is an industry practice that runs counter to health and should be restricted. The consumer would quickly adjust to less sweetness. Foods could be reformulated to be less energy dense. just as they adjusted to greater sweetness. would represent a beneficial first step. In the US.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. 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. the Dietary Guidelines are developed for individuals over the age of 2— guidelines for children younger than two. 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. What actions can be iden‑ tified and coordinated.

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

Similar results might extend human life span to 150 years or more. it seems that American are not only living shorter lifes but also worse lifes. Equivalent figures in the 1970s . 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. In addition. Diseases associated with obesity—such as diabetes. Control of four modifiable risk factors for non-communicable disease would lead to a huge decrease in their morbidity and mortality: sedentary life-styles. Jamaica. osteomuscular problems. shows that virtually half of the adult population is now overweight. tobacco smoking. However. unhealthy diets and excessive consumption of alcohol. 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. Mexico. Gradual cell inflammation seems to be at the core of the pathogenic mechanism.interviews | food for health 235 While living longer does not necessarily mean living better. some 15% of them obese. The problem is how to implement sustainable policies. Take for instance what is already happenning in developing countries as varied as Brazil. Numerous studies currently underway demonstrate that an approach which reduces caloric intake constitutes a powerful weapon in reducing inflammation. 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. cardiovascular disorders and some forms of cancer—not only lead to premature death but also to many years of suffering through morbidity and disability. Over the last few decades study after study confirm the importance of our behaviour in relation to ageassociated diseases. 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. Although studies using animal models suggest substantial life extension through reduction in the amount of calories ingested. taking away billions of dollars from the public sector which could be otherwise used in interventions and policies (such as education. Obesity is both taking years from their lives but also negatively impacting their quality of life. Most recently available data for Brazil for example. in the absence of major intervention to invert recent trends. 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. environmental. India and the Phillippines. they are still to be confirmed in humans. recreational) that would be translated into better quality of life for the population as a whole. they substantially add to health care costs.

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.236 eating planet and 1980s were at a fraction of these. From the nutritional point of view—and coherent with the active ageing approach—healthy diets should be encouraged as early as possible. Today. high in fat (fried food). For instance. Health is the central pillar (to which “lifelong learning should be added) through which to guarantee participation. moderate intake . Finally. high calory/low nutrient food as well as overly-aggressive marketing strategies conspire to cause children to acquire unhealthy diets early in life. prohibiting trans-saturated fats or the provision of sugary drinks at school meals). for instance. refined sugar. in some cultures cooking styles are not healthy to begin with—for instance. salt and. In addition. for healthy aging? The World Health Organization defines “Active Ageing” as the process of optimizing the opportunities for health. showing how fast negative trends are achieved. What are your suggestions. moderate to high intake of fish. participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as individuals age. This is easier said than done. from a nutritional point of view. 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. the second of the pillars of the Active Ageing concept. unrefined cereals. fruits and vegetables. Compare that with the Mediterranean diet (high intakes of olive oil. alcohol. often. moderate intake of dairy products. low consuption of meat and. 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. 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). the higher the health capital for life. 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. the easy availability of cheap. a “white diet” based on refined carbohydrates. and made sustainable throughout the life course. Changes in life-style that are more acceptable to the population at large should be pursued with more vigour. This implies a life course approach: the earlier one starts to invest on one’s own health. the emergence of fast and sugary food.

small to moderate consumption of fish. In this respect. low fat.interviews | food for health 237 of wine) or the Okinawan diet (low calories and fat. have shown that the importance of “health eating for healthy brains”—not only through high intakes of fruits and vegetables. Inevitably. high consumption of soya beans and other legumes. 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. some cultures predispose one to good dietary decisions while others induce one to a bad start. tumeric and cumin) possess strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflamatory properties) . from Singapore. 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”. little meat. high consumption of green and yellow vegetables. virtually no eggs or diary products). studies recently conduct by Professor Ng Tze Pin. fibers.

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

This may mean studying fields that are particularly innovative. it is probable that humanity will soon experience. . such as the link between states of inflammation and the onset of chronic diseases.action plan | food for health 239 from at least one chronic disease and about 50 percent suffer from two or more chronic diseases. a widespread old age characterized by a sub-optimal average quality of life. longer. as well as the benefits that can be obtained through regimes of caloric restriction with optimal nutrition. Therefore. 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. for a significantly longer period of time. In the face of a steady increase of life expectancy and the dramatic rise in the spread of the leading chronic diseases.

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 5.1 5.13 5.8 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 5.15 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 .5 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.10 5.3 5.4 5. Gender.9 5.6 5.2 5.14 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Moreover. laughing—and eventually talking. not only because of the fear of fire.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. 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. probably discovered by accident. there is a clear recipe for conflict and violence. 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. 5.” So the ability to communicate must have played a considerable role. The use of cooking utensils. As the human brain grew. and showing teeth are typically hostile gestures. In a larger territory the discovery of a food source had to be communicated in greater detail. Language probably also evolved in part due to the need to alleviate tensions bound up with the division of foods. 5. 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. in order to explain exactly where it was located and how many members of the group it could feed. and water (plus a receptacle) in the other case. with different parents and children. but also because in the animal kingdom direct eye contact. These practices are not found among other species. This was undoubtedly one of the ways in which language developed.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. So even the simple act of cooking. and been in turn rewarded.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. opening the mouth. is certainly evidence of cultural evolution. “if we add to this the idea of placing food in the middle of a group of individuals. The extent of the territory occupied by the group also expanded. 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. succumbs to the human drive for cultural elaboration. so did social groups begin to expand. 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. as noted by Lévi-Strauss. . smiling. necessary for boiling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asian cuisine. there are three great culinary traditions that we will attempt to describe in very abbreviated form in the following pages: Mediterranean cuisine.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.the great culinary traditions | food for culture 255 the higher castes. symbols. What we have chosen to discuss in this brief introduction to the topic is the close. intimate nature of the link between food and culture. is a cultural thing. 5. to the extent that it entails rationality. or Mediterranean Sea. The very act of feeding oneself. many books have been). in some cases. the Mare Nostrum. tradition. memory. was the destination of countless migrations. in an act of symbolic demarcation. food must be cooked by the family or by someone else who belongs to the same level of caste.8 the great culinary traditions mediterranean cuisine. Beginning in the Neolithic Age. The new arrivals settled in existing communities in search of better living conditions: . 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. This is evident when this relationship is balanced. It becomes even more so when it loses all semblance of equilibrium. we will focus on trying to chart their trajectories. with repercussions in social and individual terms of extreme significance. to unique and specific dietary approaches and gastronomical traditions. Rather than working back to the origins or exploring the history of these three different approaches to nutrition. 5. and values. in view of current opportunities and challenges. 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. It is so innate to human beings to establish a relationship with foods that it is the point of departure for remarkable developments. 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.

Among the products introduced into Mediterranean cuisine that originally came from the Islamic world. herding. along the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. 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 . 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. identified bread. we should mention sugar cane. through hunting. lemon water. While the central role of vegetables is one of the most distinctive characteristics of the Mediterranean tradition. the use of rose water. Another chapter of great historic impact was the discovery and the conquest of America by the Europeans. It was precisely the Muslims who gave rise to a significant process of agricultural renewal in which irrigated fields played a fundamental role. At first.E. the ancient Roman tradition—which. Thereafter. rice. played a role in the change and the transformation of the cultural unity of the Mediterranean. 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. orange water. the tomato. initially treated as no more than an exotic curiosity and an ornamental fruit.256 eating planet more fertile soil for those who came from Asian or African deserts. and oil as the products symbolizing the tradition of a farming and agricultural civilization. spinach. and spices. as Rome had so forcefully constructed it. and pomegranate water was introduced as well. from which they drew most of their nutritional resources.. in particular. providing a decisive contribution to the new gastronomic model that was taking shape. Islamic culture. corn. during the high Middle Ages. its own specific nutritional culture. Those peoples lived in close symbiosis with the forest. The tomato. on the model of Greek culture. 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. the pepper. a milder climate for those coming from Scandinavia or Germany. This discovery also resulted in a “to-and-fro” of food products: the potato. and harvesting. citrus fruit. almond water. Moreover. and the chili pepper. as well as the chosen symbols of the new faith—encountered the culture of the Germanic peoples. the eggplant. wine. contacts between Muslim and Christian communities based on the Iberian peninsula grew into intense commercial exchanges. as well as a number of varieties of beans. then. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries C. which had developed. of Italian cuisine. during which a significant number of new food products were traded and introduced into the respective gastronomical cultures.

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

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

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

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

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

and spread its flavor. which has become a characteristic element of our time. there are three imperatives today: restore direct contact with the cultural dimension of food. 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. 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. 5. . 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. richer. understood as the ease of application of the desired way of eating within an increasingly frenetic society in constant movement. But the great challenge of our time is probably that of reclaiming for ourselves a deeper.10 toward a new vision of nutrition There are a number of different factors. to the notion of universal portability. The recovery of food rituals can confer a dimension of reassuring meaning that will help to render more immediate the experience of eating. To put it in a slogan. more satisfying relationship with food. in which the rapport with the food fully embraces the dimensions of aesthetics. and to make up for the loss of food culture). The aspect of speed. asking it to take on new responsibilities. an increasing demand for authenticity is arising. 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. redefine its pleasure. which is in such short supply today. This is a turning point. linked to the rediscovery of sustainability in all its embodiments (environment. taste. social relations) and which points a finger at the food industry. The domain of ritual is a powerful aspect of the relationship with food. as we have noted above. We are now seeing the possibility of rethinking our relationship with food in terms of a new overall vision. a quality that in many ways lies at the foundation of the very possibility of a gratifying experience. Likewise. health. of equal importance is the recovery of conviviality. From this point of view.262 eating planet No doubt in reaction to this trend. This introduces other significant dimensions: from the need to simplify the procedures for the preparation of food (in order to save time. 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). and pleasure.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.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. for example. already a widespread habit in many countries. around the world some 1. 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.400 species of insects are eaten by humans. .

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

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

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

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

9 in 1991. where food is commodified. not just its quotidian aspects. the index of Mediterranean adequacy has dropped to 1. but rather in those areas where food is pervasive. trivialized.the mediterranean culture | food for culture 273 origin. of which 76 percent are eaten at home and 24 percent are eaten . And vice versa: obesity. The abandonment of the Mediterranean diet appears to be unmistakable in the larger Italian cities. a gradual abandonment of the Mediterranean approach to food in favor of less-healthy ways of eating. thoughtlessly or indifferently. have changed from a number of points of view. 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. and personal choices.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. and to the sacral importance of food. at any time—in short.2 in 1960 but dropped to 2. not just their makeup. The results of the studies by Flaminio Fidanza (one of the pioneers in food and nutrition research. 5. we ought to turn to the quality and the world of “Mediterraneity” in order that it might help us to re-enchant it. we have witnessed all over the Mediterranean region. Every day in Italy about 105 million meals are consumed. Overweight and obesity in Italy and Spain seem to correlate with the abandonment of the Mediterranean diet. and deprived. and correlated pathologies are most common not in the areas where food and eating are considered important daily social occasions.44. where the index had been 5. 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. since Keys’s first study. to the total quality. stripped of all meaning.14 mediterraneity today: the decline of a model From the 1950s to the present day. not just the maintenance of the body. Italy included. In recent years European society.6 in 1965. of its sacrality.2 in 1991. as well as with a reduction in physical activity. always available for consumption. not just the nutritious value and health. as well. diabetes. cheap. In Montegiorgio. that is. so to speak. of also of poor quality. to the social occasions in which the foods are consumed. it fell to 3. responsibility. and specifically Italian society. The great German sociologist Max Weber wrote about the disenchantment (Entzauberung) of the world associated with advent of modernity: where food has become disenchanted.

16 percent with friends and colleagues. and 16 percent are eaten alone. 105 million meals daily. away from home. Sixtyseven percent of the 25.000 meals analyzed. Base: 99. 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.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. Source: BCFN on Nielsen-Barilla data.5 million meals consumed daily away from home are lunches. among the meals consumed away from home. . 2009.25 On an aggregate level lunches (53 percent) outnumber dinners (47 percent) while 71 percent of the meals are consumed with one’s family. that 11 percent are “lunch on the run” and 5 percent are the “catch-up lunch.1 Breakdown of the 105 million meals consumed daily in Italy by mode of consumption Note: Data expressed in %.1).” Lunches eaten in less than 10 minutes account for 9 percent of the total number of lunches eaten away from home. and only in 30 percent of all cases are those lunches eaten between one and two o’clock in the afternoon (figure 5.

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

2009. but not at a table. The distinctive features and traits of Mediterraneity. As for the meals eaten away from home. 14 percent of the meals eaten away from home were eaten standing up. shows a greater degree of variety. they are predominantly “primi piatti.” or pasta or soup dishes (41 percent) and main entrees (42 percent). Source: BCFN on Nielsen-Barilla data.2. as can be seen in figure 5. 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.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. 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. on the other hand. especially the tendency to assign meaning and significance to eating that rise above the merely nutritional or functional aspects. Moreover. while 15 percent of those meals were eaten sitting down. But it is .2 Distribution of preparation time for meals at home and away from home Note: Data expressed in %. with one million “primi piatti” consumed away from home every day (for the most part in bars and cafeterias). Base: 80 million meals at home daily. The composition of the meals eaten at home. represent a cultural patrimony that still endures in Italian society despite the pressure to which individual lifestyles are subject.

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. Specifically. and Poland (49 percent). 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 this is the most worrisome datum. The statistics shown have to do with Italy. Well aware of the importance of the makeup of diet. 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.3).the mediterranean culture | food for culture 277 increasingly difficult to reconcile Mediterraneity with a reality that makes its practice more and more challenging. While awareness of the importance of good nutrition to overall well-being is rising. despite the fact that most European citizens say they follow a healthy diet. the same productivist paradigm that is now sweeping other areas of Earth (this is demonstrated. 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. if we broaden our view to include sociopolitical context of the entire European Union—which. but they correspond to the figures for Europe as well. it tends to affirm itself over time. on the one hand. While. by the growing number of people afflicted with diseases directly linked to overweight and all obesity26). In fact. the number of people who have difficulty eating in a healthy manner is pretty high in countries such as Hungary (54 percent). Slovakia (52 percent). on the other hand it is clear that certain values typical of Mediterraneity have by now permeated the entire continent. among other things. The lifestyle of European citizens seems to be the chief obstacle to their eating . actually practicing those values is becoming increasingly difficult. However. the challenges of adopting a balanced diet. is the emergence of a meaningful fracture between ideal dietary choices and actual everyday practice. Italy is below the European average. On the other hand. 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. What appears most significant. 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. Sweden (77 percent). however. 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). and Malta (77 percent).

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. rice. 2006. pasta and other carbohydrates Eat less bread. full life. 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. the Eurobarometer survey seems to indicate an increasingly widespread awareness of the importance of diet and nutrition in terms of a healthy. A third significant reason expressed is the idea that healthy food isn’t particularly tasty (23 percent). in a healthy and nutritious manner. 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. rice. and the inability to supervise the foods consumed because they were purchased or prepared by someone else (27 percent). According to the survey. In conclusion.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. 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).

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

but never so seldom applied in the world as it is today. 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. We shall therefore limit ourselves to suggesting two ideas that. We are not suggesting that food become an obsession or a tedious task but. • 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. a measured use of time.) What emerges from these observations is a clear indication of the challenge facing us.15 how to recover the significance of mediterraneity Aside from the loss of nutritional value. This original theme has always constituted the heart of the Mediterranean approach to diet and nutrition. should be to make the time we spend eating less predictable and banal. 5. they are extraordinary deposits of cultural wealth. in our opinion. quite to the contrary. 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. anxiety. within the context of time devoted to caring for oneself as a person. even before it is fought in the realm of the choice of foods. what seems to be progressively vanishing in many countries is a balanced relationship with food. and more attractive— attractive because it will become the vehicle of a conviviality. distinctive qualities. It will be decided on the good practices that will make it possible to attribute a value and a meaning to food. The objective. in this connection. of an aesthetic taste that we sometimes have a hard time expressing in a daily life that is punctuated by frenetic rhythms. the Food Pyramid—universally known for the past 30 years. (Just consider. . while at the same time emphasizing the aspects that are humanly universal. then. The battle for good nutrition depends upon and can only be won on the field of behavior.280 eating planet tific nutrition about sound dietary practices into proper behavior. in this era of ours that is so impoverished in terms of relationships. a path toward the rediscovery of oneself and others. are decisive. and therefore more immediate and intense. thus reinforcing the emotional capital invested in roots. and superficiality. more beautiful. and territorial localization.

to promote the construction (and reconstruction) of a social fabric that is steadily weakening under the pressure of modernity. an alliance. aiming at the excellence of the ingredients. 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. The second significant element is bound up with the method of activating the process of change. establishing a direct and respectful link with the context in which the raw materials develop. spread the culture of taste and the enjoyment of life through authentic food. the environment. • last of all. to forge a great pact among all the actors of the world of nutrition and food. It is necessary.the mediterranean culture | food for culture 281 food materials that go into a cuisine. which while it preserves the typical character of competition in the relationships between the various players in a single sector. • return to a healthy relationship with the territory and the context of the raw . • restore the value of food as a medium for a fertile relationship between the generations. in the simplicity and clarity of its benefits. A concerted effort will be required. 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. 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. 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. An exquisitely Mediterranean nutritional paradigm. and an intact social structure. • 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.

the universities. From 1984 to 2006 he was Director of the Holy See Press Office (or Vatican Press Office). the first thing is to state the problem itself correctly. I’ve been in Africa many times and I’ve visited nearly every African country (North-Saharan and SubSaharan). in terms of responsibility as well. 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. 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.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. and global in nature. What are the priorities for undertaking a sustainable develop‑ ment that will include all countries. and not only the more advanced countries? To find the solution to a problem. the research centers? Who should be the first to move? From my point of view. Not a globalization that excludes us. the NGOs. A badly formulated problem will never find a solution. Rome. but a globalization that instead begins to include us. Since 1996 he has been a visiting professor at the school of Social Institutional Communication at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. the international institutions. Every time I go there with the mentality of sustainable development. the partial deforestation of certain zones of the Amazon. Which are the chief actors who can undertake development in this direction: the local governments. but it can be created and fostered with aid that is political. but on something called a sense of responsibility. in more general terms. The problem of sustainability is one that we created ourselves—the developed nations—not the developing nations. any decision that can affect the habits of human beings must be based not on national or supranational considerations. for example. 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. geopolitical. . Naturally. we will never solve this kind of problem. I say this because it is very easy for us in the west to criticize. a sense of responsibility is always individual. but it is wrong to think that it has to begin in those countries: it is we who need to change our habits. This strikes me as the first aspect: it is necessary to state the problem in truly global terms.

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

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

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

ten more than 90 publications or presentations.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. chase goods and services in even greater amounts and the with Professor Tim Lang). In this respect the industrial The Functional Foods Revolution: Healthy People. 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. the global food industry and food culture war framed as a conflict within the future of food policies. He has writfood consumerism itself. The Mediterranean model is competing with all these consumer and societal influences. So food processors work to sell their branded product dreams. appears to be the only option available. tures”. So an important task is for societies to reclaim their narratives relevant to their food . Minds and Markets (2004. The on-going industrial food system dynamic is driven including: Food Wars: The by consumerism—that is. This “food system” continues to shape and influence Visiting Research Fellow food consumption patterns and hence consumer food “culat the Centre for Food Policy. Increasingly all of these players attempt to convince consumers of their sustainability and environmental credentials. 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. hugely sophisHealthy Profits? (2001) ticated. City University. production model and its accompanying. are designed to and Consumption in the Age of Affluence: The push this consumption agenda forward. He specializes be situated within this broader context which sees today’s in food and health. While food consumer culture is important it is rarely mentioned in nutrition and food policy documents.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.29 But the consumer culture food war is not simply between the mainstream and alternatives. 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. Within the mainstream a struggle is also underway to shape consumer culture towards particular interests.28 The impact of the Mediterranean model has to London. consumer marketing industries. 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”. so that this model World of Food (1996). creating the desire to purGlobal Battle for Mouths. not least through creating a model for constructing Michael Heasman is a a “sustainable diet”—that is. mechanisms to activate this.

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. And the Mediterranean diet itself has not been immune from this process. Italy and Spain.interviews | food for culture 287 cultures. the Mediterranean “model” might be regarded as both under threat and. Until relatively recently olive oil markets were predominantly for local consumption. In some instances the Mediterranean diet has itself become “medicalised”— stripped of its cultural heritage. gastronomy. saw increased demand in non-traditional markets—such as northern European countries—with a more than 10 food increase. cuisines have opened up or created new consumer markets and introduced new eating possibilities for people that were unheard of for earlier generations. But in other ways the modern global consumer culture offers possibilities for the Mediterranean model. 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”. Food traditions and heritage need careful nurturing to remain authentic in the brutally competitive consumer culture war around food. 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.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. as posing a threat to the industrial food system. diet. While global olive oil production is still concentrated in the Mediterranean region just three countries are dominant: Greece. our bodies and health. In a globalizing world. 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. It is a diet. as is well known. at the same time. Consumers in European Mediterranean countries have also moved away from traditional Mediterranean diets and foodstuffs in recent decades. 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. As importantly the Mediterranean consumer culture itself has started to succumb to globalizing and industrializing dietary tendencies. For example. But promotional campaigns for the “healthy Mediterranean diet” especially from the 1980s onwards and devised and promoted by production interests.

This then raises the question of how to internationalize the Mediterranean model in a culturally appropriate way.34 Increasingly. First. As noted from the olive oil case study. but has also meant major structural changes in land use. consumption patterns. agro-chemicals and mechanization. This has enabled much higher productivity and modernization of industrial processes. mono-cultural production plantations were set up which rely upon irrigation systems. 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”. 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. . food economies. 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. Spain. for local food systems and global consumers. industrial olive groves expanded primarily into agricultural land with high quality soils.288 eating planet these production-consumption changes. 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. whereas consumer choice itself embraces a much more complex set of demands and aspirations. 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 food. in addition to public health and nutrition. is the impact on local and traditional Mediterranean olive groves. intensive.” The growth in olive oil consumption has therefore had profound ecological impacts leading to a structural transformation of Mediterranean landscapes. As Scheidel and Krausmann write: “While traditionally rain fed olive trees were grown mainly on marginal soils. Many of these were abandoned and modern. This intensification has been especially pronounced in Andalusia. and even choice is limited to macro-issues such as price and convenience. 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.

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. and the recovery of traditional flavors capable of being renewed in the context of contemporary tastes. teach a new ecology of food We must establish a grand overriding pact among all the actors of the world of food. taste. the protection of local territorial variety by preserving the wealth of identities. 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. What is needed is a concerted effort. What’s involved is the revitalization of the aspects of conviviality. . an alliance among diverse subjects. it becomes capable of implementing cooperative games aimed at the promotion of a new nutritional and dietary paradigms. The scale of the challenge is such that it demands a capacity for intervention that rises above the power of the individual operators. and an intact social structure. while still preserving the distinctive characteristic of competition in the relationship among players in a single sector. such that. such as the Mediterranean gastronomic culture. through a critical operation that allows us to preserve the best of the gastronomic tradition. 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. the environment. the transfer of knowledge and know-how tied up in the preparation of foods.action plan | food for culture 289 action plan culture.

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2009. Statistics Division. Michael M. Mark.373. for all | notes 299 “NAC Draft Food Bill: PDS Gets Legal Backing & Eminent Panel. 2010. Drewnowski. Washington DC. This agency estimated that the world population as of 22 March 2011 was 6. “Obesity. 4 5 6 7 Worthy. viewed 4 November 2011. White House. March 2011. Broken markets: How financial market regulation can help prevent another global food crisis. Eric. Standard deviation measures the dispersal of data around an expected . U. It measures the amount of variability of one group of data or one causal variable. Washington DC.907. “Climate Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980”. Raj Patel. Rose Garden. 7 June 8 World Bank. 9 Winne. Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can it Yield Sustainable and Equitable Ben‑ efits?. Closing the food gap: resetting the table in the land of plenty. update of 22 March 2011. Justin Costa-Roberts.S. and social inequalities”. based on FAO estimates using the Food Security Model of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). “The 2011 World Food Prize Laureates. at http://www. Lobell.. 13 14 15 16 17 18 12 11 10 FAO. 5 august 2009. Masters. FAO.” Indian Express. George W. please see the section entitled “A New Emergency: the Dramatic Instability in Food Prices. Science. Enfield: Publishers Group UK [distributor] 2009. 31 may 2011. 2011. Wolfram Schlenker. Food Rebellions! Crisis and the hunger for justice. Statistics Division. or average quadratic displacement is an index of dispersion in experimental measurements.C. Statistics Division. 29 april. Mass.. 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.. Press Conference by The President. Testimony of Michael W. International Data Base. A. Washington D. Nutrition reviews. “Russia Wheat Ban Worked”. 2008. 67 Suppl 1:S36-9. FAO. March “The State of Food Insecurity in the World”. Murray. For an explanation of volatility. Holt-Giménez. Boston. 2009.cfm?nodeID=33367&audienceID=1. World Bank. David B. to achieve consistency with FAO estimates for 2010 on the number of undernourished people in the world.: Beacon. Financial Times. diets.920. That datum was calculated by using the world population figure as of 31 December 2010. Masters. The World Food London: World Development Movement 2011. World Development Report 2008 “Agriculture Center Development”. October 2007. Lex. Bush. Census Oxford: Fahamu.” at http:// www.worldfoodprize.” 19 The standard deviation.: World Bank 2010. food for all 1 2 3 86 www. March 2011. The data shown in the figure above related to the last two years. or typical displacement.

corn.300 eating planet value. and the Club of Rome (www. unlike variance. American economist. When converted to a population GDP (GDP per capita). includes: wheat. with a variable periodicity of three to seven years. the Legambiente Urban Ecosystem report. Generally. and other disturbances. the scientific authority for the construction of the BCFN Index of Well-being. based on an aggregation of variables that consider the social and environmental sustainability of development. it is the first indicator used to diagnose an economic or social situation and to compare different contexts. especially those on the Pacific Rim. Nobel Prize for regions. 20 This weather phenomenon in the Central Pacific Ocean recurs between December and January. because they benefit from exceptions (or loopholes) in the MIFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) and the MAD (Market Abuse Directive). in kilograms per hectare. barley. 28 “Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. The yield of cereals. buckwheat. and it has the same unit of measurement as the observed values. It causes flooding. drought. the European Commission. Developing countries that depend heavily on agriculture and fishing. president of ISTAT. millet. the quality of life study by the magazine Italia Oggi. or other units. the OECD. which differ each time. it is the principal indicator for assessing the performance of a country or region over time. In Italy the Enrico Mattei Foundation has published its 15th edition of the FEEM index (www. 26 27 The Italian representative was Enrico Giovannini. usually one year. rye. and mixed cereals. some European operators on the physical market and some derivatives on commodities are not subject to oversight or regulation. feemsi. are the most seriously hit. the unit of measurement of which is the square of the unit of the reference values. 21 Currently. oats. . drawn up in collaboration with Ambiente Italia and Il Sole 24 Ore.” 14 September 2009. As a growth rate. the quality of life index of the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. it allows comparisons across space and time between different countries. 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. sorghum. rice. Professor Fitoussi was a member of the Advisory Board of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. 23 22 The GDP is the market value of all goods and services produced in a country over a particular period of time. every five years on 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.

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

and the Società italiana di diabetologia. World Health Organization. “European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2008”. Health Economics Research Centre. World Health Organization. 12 13 14 Agriculture Fact Book. Diabetes Care.S. Koga Y.. “Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U. World Health Organization. Djordjevic B. 6 7 8 9 10 11 We considered: for cardiovascular diseases. 317. MA and London. Van Buchem F. University of Oxford. Volume 31.. 2003... 1-381. Trichopoulos D. 15 Trichopoulou A.. 2011.. the American Heart Association. March 2008. Taylor H. Therefore. Department of Public Health. Blackburn H. 2009. Menotti A. the yield per hectare in an LEI model is lower. Department of Public Health. Health Economics Research Centre.L. Costacou T. n.S. Health Promotion Research Group. Punsar S. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. Dontas A.B. Buzina R. “Health & the EU Lisbon Agenda—High Returns on Health Investment. WHO Technical Report Series 916. University of Oxford. 26.. Fact sheet n.” 1999. Toshima H... 16 15 Tony Allan.. these are the hours of assistance received by patients suffering from coronary or cerebrovascular diseases by unpaid persons.” 1999. Tauris.. 2002. New England Journal of Medicine. February 2007... Bamia C.. and Blackburn H. 4. 2009. “European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2008”. 2001. British Heart Foundation. American Diabetes Association. “Diet. Health Promotion Research Group. 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”. Mohacek I.. for diabetes. British Heart Foundation. World Health Organization.. Profiling Food Consumption in America. 5 4 3 2 For the most part. the European Society of Cardiology. Nedeljkovic S.. and the Società italiana di cardiologia. 1995 Springer Verlag. Cambridge. Kimura N. in 2007”. the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Number 3. let us introduce the hypothesis that the density of nitrogen in the soil..: Lessons for Science from the Seven Countries Study. Department of Public Health.S. the American Diabetes Association. Department of Public Health. Karvonen M. “Cardiovascular Diseases”. Fidanza F. Puddu V. see the FAO/OECD study: “Food Availability and natural resource use in a green economy context”. and the Federation of European Cancer Societies. Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Survival in a Greek Population. Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases”. is some 30 percent lower than a high external input (HEI) regimen of agriculture. the American Cancer Association.: Seven Countries: A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease. Volume 348. July 2009.. “Healthy Living. for tumors. Aravanis C..J. National Nutrition Survey. . in a low external input (LEI) regimen of agriculture. University of Oxford. “Healthy Living. the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The Japan Dietetic Association. For more information. Keys A.” May 2006. 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..302 eating planet of this study. I. Geneva. Virtual Water. Tokyo. 2003. 1980 Harvard University Press.S. University of Oxford.P.

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

The 9th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in Philadelphia.C. National Vital Statistics Reports. Nabet-Belleville F.” Arch Neu‑ rol. 2003.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. “Will Caloric Restriction and Folate Protect against AD and PD?”.. For an in-depth study of the topic. Ott A.. we refer the reader to section 5. Volume 56 (10).P.. 2011. Cuny G. “Life-Years Gained from Population Risk Factor Changes and Modern Cardiology Treatments in Ireland. et al. 48 Kalmijn S. Breteler M. Hofman A. et al.. Archives of Neurology. 26:155-9..H.. 2000. Bates C.” For an in-depth study of the topic.304 eating planet 31 Weaver.. 1997. Li H. van der Meche F.J. “Lipid Peroxidation and Free Radical Scavengers in Alzheimer’s Disease. 37 38 39 40 41 42 The average number of years that a human being can hope to live. Zubair K. 59:303-306.2 of this document. Vanderbilt University. Food and Nutrition Board.G.” Int J Epidemiol. Breteler N. 2007. Società italiana di nutrizione umana. Rotterdam Study.. 1990. 2006.. A Simple Lifestyle Score Predicts Survival in Healthy Elderly Men.A. Launer L. Nashville. July 17-22. Spencer C.. Dietary Patterns... Neurology.” European Journal of Public Health....2 of this position paper. 2006. 1997. 54:762-765. Grobbee D.H. 32 33 Sarah E. Dietary Patterns and Their Correlates Among Middle‑Aged and Elderly Chinese men: A Report from the Shanghai Men’s Health Study.B. Bennett K. 1989. “Diet and Mortality in a Cohort of Elderly People in a North European Community..L.M. Xiang Y.E. 1997. 1997. Annuario statistico italiano 2010.B. et al..” 2002.. 45 44 De Rich M.” Medical Hypotheses.. Launer L.D. and treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: Summary Report. Dubois F. Assessment..” The Rotterdam Study. Elsevier 2005. “Expert Committee Recommendations Regarding the Prevention. “Dietary Antioxidants and Parkinson’s Disease: The Rotterdam Study. 31:211-225. Ann Neurol. “Dietary Antioxidants and Parkinson’s Disease. 35:257-282. Mishra G. “Dementias: the Role of Magnesium Deficiency and an Hypothesis Concerning the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2007... den Breeijen J. Yang G. Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis. Mattson M. Barlow...M. 2008.A. Jae Kang. consider—among others—the following studies: Osler M.C. 49 50 51 .. Cai H.O. Penin F. Jeandel C..” Pediatrics. we refer the reader to section 4. World Alzheimer Report.. Population Health Metrics. 2004. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Witteman J. 42:776-782. C. concerning the topic “Caloric Restriction and Longevity.... Xu W. 46 47 Glick J. McNaughton S. National Public Health Institute.” 43 World Health Organization. Zheng W. University College London.. For an in-depth study of the topic. M. ISTAT. 34 35 36 OMS. 2010. 2003.. “Dietary fat intake and the risk of incident dementia”. Hamer M.. and Survival Among Elderly Participants from the United Kingdom.. Schroll M.J.. “The Growing Years and Prevention of Osteoporosis in Later Life. 2010. “Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Cognitive Decline in Women. United States Department of Agriculture. Nicolas M. “North Karelia Project”.J. concerning the subject of “Caloric Restriction and Longevity”...” Gerontology.. Hofman A. Shu X. De Rijk M. World Health Organization. Assessed from a Weighed Food Record. “The North Karelia Project—Pioneering Work to Improve National Public Health.

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

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

Patterson A. 1621-1628. Eurobarometer. 12 (9A). Public Health Nutrition.. Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. Health and Food.. 34 Kneafsey M.. Public Health Nutrition. 2009. Scheidel A.. Willett W. 2008. Journal of Nutri‑ tion.M. “Mediterranean diets: historical and research overview”.. Food Wars: the Global Battles for Mouths. 2001. “The Mediterranean diet: does it have to cost more?”. in 1961-1965 and 2000-2003”. Consumption.. Eichelsdoerfer P.. nonsmoking elderly people”. pp.. 22 23 This section is based on ideas and concepts developed principally by Claude Fischler. et al.. Bordoni A. 2004.. Trichopoulou A. Lien M.. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010. Public Health Nutrition. Minds and Markets. “A prospective study of variety of healthy foods and mortality in women”.E.. 2009. Oxford: Berg. Wolk A. 1995. Pasqui F. Reconnecting producers. et al. An index equaling 2 means that for every calorie ingested from foods not belonging to the Mediterranean diet two calories are ingested from foods belonging to the Mediterranean diet.U. & Nerlich B. Land Use Policy. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fidanza F. Osler M. 28. Fidanza A.. 1313S-1320S. 2011. pp.L. 2004.. 20 21 19 Linee guida per una sana e corretta for culture | notes 307 eras C. 47-56. Position Paper Food and Health. Baldini M.. 24 25 26 27 28 29 Aldridge A. 2000.. Source: Nielsen-Barilla.).. consumers and food: exploring alternatives. through division.. “Worldwide variation of adherence to the Mediterranean diet.. The Politics of Food..B. Michels K. “Diet. 2002. Krausmann F. Mediterranean Adequacy Index of Italian Diets. pp.. London. Gerdes L. The index of Mediterranean adequacy. November 2006. 2009. Sacks F. Fernandez S. International Journal of Epidemiology. Maranesi M. trade and land use: a socio-ecological analysis of the transformation of the olive oil system”. Heasman M. thus calculated. “Mediterranean Diet Pyramid: a Cultural Model for Healthy Eating”. (eds. (2004). establishes a relationship between the calories introduced from typical foods of the Mediterranean diet and those not belonging to the Mediterranean diet. “Is the Mediterranean Lifestyle Still a Reality? Evaluation of Food Consumption and Energy Expenditure in Italian and Spanish University Students”. pp. 2009. 2009. Nestle M. 1676-1684.. 1995. INRAN. American Journal Clinical Nutrition. Public Health Nutrition. 30 31 Lang T.. “Dietary patterns and mortality in Danish men and women: a prospective observational study”. Da Silva R. 32 33 Drewnowski A. . Understanding food culture in Scotland.M.. Oxford: Berg. Jørgensen L. Earthscan. “Mediterranean diet and age with respect to overall survival in institutionalized.. 12 (9A). 2003. a French sociologist and a member of the scientific advisory board of the BCF&N. Cambridge: Polity Press. Fitzpatrick I.. Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland. Schroll M. Heitmann B.. et al... 61(Suppl).


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. the cultural value of food. Joaquín Navarro-Valls. and the effects of food production and consumption on health and the environment are some of the major themes of Eating Planet 2012. is it possible to rediscover the ingredients for healthy. production and consumption trends. Shimon Peres. Carlo Petrini. Hans Herren. Paul Roberts. Raj Patel. Analysis of these issues and discussions about potential solutions are enriched by the contributions of prestigious experts: Tony Allan. Ellen Gustafson. Mario Monti. in collaboration with the Worldwatch Institute. Michael Heasman.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. Marion Nestle. the first global report on food and nutrition by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition. Ricardo Uauy. and convivial eating? The paradoxes of the global food system. Vandana Shiva. Aviva Must. fair. Alex Kalache.

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