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Opinion: 4 steps we must take to fix the world's broken food system

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Food systems are essential to economic activity because they provide the energy that we need to live and work. However, macroeconomists have long ignored them in the belief that the global agri-food industry, now highly mechanized, subsidized and concentrated, offers all we could wish for when it comes to food.

The rebuilding of economies after the Covid-19 crisis offers a unique opportunity to transform the global food system and make it resilient to future shocks, ensuring environmentally sustainable and healthy nutrition for all.

To make this happen, United Nations agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Environment Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program, collectively, suggest four broad shifts in the food system:

Curbing the overconsumption of animal and highly-processed food in wealthier countries and improving access to good nutrition in poorer ones can improve well-being and land use efficiency, make healthy food more affordable globally, and slash carbon emissions.

Retargeting agricultural subsidies toward healthy foods, taxing unhealthy foods and aligning procurement practices, education programs and health care systems toward better diets can go a long way in achieving this.

A shift toward sustainable and regenerative land and ocean farming connected to strong local and regional food systems can heal our soils, air and water, boosting economic resilience and local jobs.

Food systems are at the crossroads of human, animal, economic and environmental health.

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