Creating a Sustainable Food Future

SBN is working with Wellington City Council on a series of food forums to increase food sustainability and resilience in the region.

Food is at the heart of our culture, our communities and our economy. However, the way we grow, process, distribute and consume food is currently inefficient. It’s having negative impacts on people and the environment.

A recent report by the World Economic Forum stated that our global food system is responsible for 20-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of biodiversity loss. The way we produce food is degrading our environment. The way we distribute and consume food is also incredibly wasteful. The report states that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost through our supply chains or wasted by consumers or retailers.

At the same time nearly 800 million people are chronically undernourished and lack access to healthy food. In New Zealand the story is not so dissimilar – with high obesity rates, hungry families and significant degradation of our water, soil and natural systems.

The world needs to find ways to feed the population of the future, an estimated 9 billion people by 2050. We need to do so in a way that is environmentally sound, restorative, inclusive and fair. We need to begin to make the necessary changes at a local level now.

The Wellington City Council (WCC) has launched a Sustainable Food Initiative. It’s all about strengthening council and community efforts to increase food sustainability and resilience in Wellington.

WCC is partnering with the Sustainable Business Network to run a number of sustainable food forums over the next year. This will support the delivery of the Sustainable Food Initiative.

Mayor of Wellington Justin Lester said: “We are very pleased to be able to partner with the SBN to deliver four action-packed sustainable food forums for the Wellington region over the next year. The forums provide a space for education, inspiration and conversation about how we might work together, across business, community and government to create a resilient, restorative and sustainable food system for the Wellington region.”

The aim of the sustainable food forums is to bring the Wellington community together. This includes businesses, community groups, government agencies and the public. We will launch conversations around some of the key issues with our food system. We will discuss the opportunities for Wellington to lead the development of more resilient and sustainable food system.

The Sustainable Food Forums will look at four diverse and thought provoking foodie topics:

  • The Future of Food. How innovation in technology and the rise of alternative proteins might enable us to feed the future in a more sustainable way.
  • Make Food, Not Waste. An event to help Wellingtonians minimise food waste and see this as a renewable resource. This is a key part of maintaining rich, healthy soils for growing food to feed our city.
  • Growing food in the city. Showcasing current practice in regenerative urban agriculture.
  • Kai and culture. Food reflects people, place, Ideas and culture. This forum will be about celebrating Wellington’s unique food identity and the important part culture plays in building resilient, proud, local food systems.

Each forum will have a seasonal flavour. The first forum, focused on the Future of Food, this looked at food innovations like hemp cheese and cricket flour. We also discussed how ‘fourth industrial revolution technologies’ like blockchain and the internet of things can be applied to food system challenges.

The next forum will be held in November and will focus on how we can minimise food waste and understand how food should be viewed as a resource where nothing is be wasted. A practical composting exercise will be integrated into the event.

To register your interest in the event, and for tickets if they come up – please email holly@sustainable.org.nz.