Food security and hunger is the “dumbest problem” in the world, according to Komal Ahmad, founder of Copia PBC which has recovered over $4.6 million worth of food. Hunger is also a problem that sustainability practitioners can help solve. Whether land management, agriculture, food production, water protection, or distribution, crossing disciplines and industries requires systems thinking – integral to the training received by certified sustainability practitioners.
Toronto is meeting this challenge head on with Food Projects, the Toronto Food Strategy Team and the Toronto Food Policy Council. Solutions range from sustainable agriculture/aquaculture to public/private partnerships.
Healthy food should not be a perk of the rich or those conveniently living in Vancouver or Toronto. As a top food exporter, Canada should be able to feed its own population. The country can tackle Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG3) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11) within its own borders. There is wide disparity between northern Canada food costs and the rest of Canada.
In some regions, “ethical” food – those that are affordable or ecologically sustainable – are often out of reach for lower income individuals. PepsiCo (which has relied on the Sustainability Academy) is trying to change the perception of ethical food as only available from small farmers with its mission to “Leave No Trace” throughout its entire business and supply chain.
A systems approach requires input from many stakeholders. Canada is finding the same food security issues faced worldwide: foreign influence on farming, urban food deserts, injustice to temporary farm workers, climate change, environment protection and diet-related diseases, to name a few.
Toronto’s chefs are taking on the challenge. Canoe Restaurant, Drake One Fifty, Ruby Watchco, and AGO Bistro are acclaimed sustainability leaders. There is a website specific to finding Sustainable Food jobs (FoodWork.ca), and Canada ranks #3 globally for Food Sustainability.
Sustainability practitioners constantly question who are the key stakeholders? What are the Materiality considerations? No industry is left out. Even mining, affecting water resources, influences food security. Are you ready to address these concerns?
CSE’s Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program (New Advanced Edition 2019) offers training on these key topics and many others. The first 2019 program in Toronto runs April 11-12.