Celebrating “Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet”

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By Seyyada A Burney

Today, the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) and the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet were proud to host “How do we feed (and also Nourish) a planet of 7 billion?” The event featured notable speakers such as food waste activist and author of American Wasteland, Jonathan Bloom; founder of The 30 Project and new member of the BCFN Advisory Board, Ellen Gustafson; publisher of “Edible Manhattan” and author of Eat Here, Brian Halweil; Stephanie Hanson, Director of Policy and Outreach for the One Acre Fund; Kelly Hauser, Agriculture Policy Director for the One Campaign; and founder and director of Citizen Effect, Dan Morrison, among others, and marked the official launch of Eating Planet–Nutrition Today: A Challenge for Mankind and for the Planet.

The panel at the launch of "Eating Planet" in New York City. (Photo credit: Leeann Lavin)

During the event, Samuel Fromartz, editor-in-chief of the Food & Environment Reporting Network, moderated a discussion where speakers debated some of the issues the addressed in the book: the paradoxes of the global food system, the cultural value of food, production and consumption trends, and the effects of individual eating habits on health and on the environment. “More than one-third of the food produced today does not even reach people plates—about 1.3 billion tons per year—placing unnecessary pressure on land, water, and soil resources,” said Bloom. “All of us; producers, consumers, policy makers, and those in the food industry need to make an effort to reduce the amount of food that is wasted and its environmental impact.”

Although agriculture is more productive and efficient than ever before, more than 1 billion people worldwide remain chronically hungry, and another 1 billion people are overweight or obese. “The fundamental problem continuing to cause both hunger and obesity is that it is difficult, almost everywhere in the world to access nutritious foods,” said Gustafson. “In the developed world, food is abundant, but the most abundant is usually the least nutritious and most calorie dense. In the developing world, you can often still access soft drinks or packaged processed foods, but not the diversity of healthy foods that are needed for good nutrition.”

“Unfortunately, what we all need is more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins for good nutrition,” added Nourishing the Planet project director and Eating Planet contributing author, Danielle Nierenberg, who convened the panel. “Until those foods are the focus of agricultural systems all around the world, both sides of the malnutrition coin—hunger and obesity—are likely to persist.” Nourishing the Planet and BCFN hope for Eating Planet to contribute to sustainable food and agriculture development in many ways. “The study’s conclusions represent a major step toward ensuring that agriculture contributes to health, environmental sustainability, income generation, and food security,” said Paolo Barilla, Vice President of the Barilla Group. “The ingredients will vary by country and region, but there are some key components that will lead to healthier food systems everywhere.”

Video of the launch: http://youtu.be/IhE37dhV4Tg

Did you attend the book launch, or watch the livestream? Tell us about your experience below!

Seyyada Burney is a Research Intern with Nourishing the Planet. 

Click here to purchase a copy of Eating Planet.

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