Gastronomy is a word frequently used in the culinary arts, defining everything from fine wining and dining to pulling off grill covers and throwing hamburgers or hotdogs on the grill just in time for Summer. Popular use puts the word in the hands of chefs; however, gastronomy goes beyond the confines of the professional kitchen to define the food world as a whole. Sustainable Gastronomy Day emphasizes and affirms that all cultures and civilizations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable agricultural development, food security, nutrition, sustainable food production, and conservation of biodiversity. While these principles might seem larger than something the average household can accomplish, contributing to sustainable gastronomy is a whole lot easier than you think.
Sustainable Agricultural Development
Sustainable agriculture is first and foremost a process of negotiation. Pushing and pulling between the competitive interests of individual farmers and community members as they work to solve problems that arise during the production of agricultural resources. Sustainable agriculture seeks to establish three main objectives: healthy environmental conditions, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. Every person involved in the food system – food producers, processors, distributors, retailers, consumers, and waste managers – play a role in ensuring sustainable agricultural systems.
- Growers promote healthy soil, minimize water use, and lower pollution levels on farms.
- Distributors and retailers ensure that the food is distributed equally throughout the local community
- Consumers can seek out “values-based” foods that are grown with methods that promote farmworker wellbeing, are environmentally friendly, and even strengthen local economies.
Food security provides physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet the dietary needs and food preferences that are beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. Food security combines the availability of safe and nutritious foods with the ability to get foods through socially acceptable means.
- Food stability relates to the ability to obtain food over time.
- Food access refers to the affordability of food and allocation of resources to obtain foods.
- Food availability refers to the supply of food through production, distribution, and exchange.
Donations to local food banks and charitable organizations helps contribute to resolving the complications that arise from a lack of food security.
Nutrition focuses on the relationship between diet, health, disease, and how people can use dietary choices to better improve their quality of life. Nutrients are the essential nourishment the body needs. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water are the six basic nutrients and are the fundamental building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. Providing and maintaining essential nutrients, however, starts with a plan.
- Pull off the table covers and chair covers, because you’re going to want to gather your whole household for a family meeting. Start by writing out a dietary plan that heavily incorporates locally sourced vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products into your diet.
- Include a measurable, portion controlled amount of lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added or artificially modified sugars.
Sustainable Food Production
Sustainable food production utilizes systems and processes that don’t pollute, that conserve non-renewable energy, are economically efficient, and don’t risk the safety or health of workers, communities and consumers – all without compromising the needs of future generations. As with most man-made enterprises, non-sustainable food production contributes to the destruction of delicate biodiversity. Lowering the environmental impact of food production by limiting waste throughout the food supply chain aims to reduce resource inputs. In doing this, we create the possibility of a more sustainable future.
Conservation of Biodiversity
Agricultural biodiversity is the answer to satisfying the basic human need for food and the security of livelihood. Biodiversity, food and nutrition go hand in hand, contributing directly and indirectly to healthy farming, food security, and the well-being of all living beings. Biodiversity is the basis of agricultural development, enabling farming systems to evolve from the origins of farming to the modern garden innovations of today. In order to preserve biodiversity, we must make a myriad of concessions for the greater good.
- Limit the number of invasive species by not introducing new species of animals or plants into an area without consulting ecologists knowledgeable on the region.
- Bring back plants and animals that are naturally found in areas impacted by man made blight.
- Live sustainably by pursuing small lifestyle changes. Whether it be taking shorter showers, riding a bike to work, or buying eco friendly products, we are the only ones capable of making the changes necessary to preserving natural biodiversity.