🍏 Food systems - Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation
🍏 Food systems

The food system nourishes populations and employs 50% of the global workforce, but:

  • it currently drives a quarter of the overshoot on the climate change planetary boundary due to its greenhouse gas (GHG) production,
  • animal farming alone uses over one-quarter of all land, equivalent to the size of the Americas,
  • nearly a quarter of freshwater resources are lost due to rampant food waste, and
  • it is the single largest driver of biodiversity loss.

A circular food system must address the whole value chain, from production to consumption to waste management. The four key solutions for the food system are:

  • Put healthier, satiating foods first: Prioritise satiating and healthy foods with a lower environmental impact—ideally shifting calories from meat, fish, and dairy towards cereals, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
  • Go local, seasonal, and organic: Prioritise the production and consumption of local, seasonal, and organic produce (sometimes in combination with GMO to reduce pests and disease loss on crops), which can lead to a significantly reduced need for chemical inputs, fuels, and processing services that contribute to environmental impacts.
  • Mainstream regenerative agriculture: Scale up agricultural practices that regenerate ecosystems, recirculate nutrients and sequester carbon by design.
  • End avoidable food waste: Minimise food loss and valorise waste following the food waste hierarchy along the supply chain and at the consumer level through better management of transport and storage, more refrigeration and smart planning, and technology at the consumer and food service levels.
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