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Support a Healthy Body and Planet with your Food

By Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN

Our food has the power to connect us in so many ways.

It can help us nourish our bodies, bring communities together across cultures and generations, spark memories of special moments, and provide us with an incredibly powerful solution for supporting the health and well-being of our planet.

Our food and the global system it is a part of has the potential to not only support the health of every person on this planet, but also reduce and reverse many of the climate related issues we experience today. For these reasons our food is one of our most valuable tools for influencing both personal and planetary health, but it is up to us to ensure that it reaches its full potential.

Our Current Food System
Unfortunately, our current global food system today has prioritized convenience and profit over the health of our food and environment. Today if you walk into any grocery store you will most likely be able to find almost any item of produce or packaged food that your heart desires. It doesn’t matter what season you are in, strawberries and avocados are available all year round, but the question is at what cost?

While there are many benefits to living in a world where almost anything we could want or need is at our disposal and where the access we have to foreign foods allows for us to experience different cuisines that we may not have been able to otherwise, the larger impact on our planet is taking its toll.

Today most of the food grown around the world is done so using mono-culture and conventional farming practices that go against the very principles of farming that protect and value land health and biodiversity. We are seeing the consequences of these practices in the increased need for pesticides and fertilizers, the decline in our pollinator populations, deforestation for even more land cultivation, and the quickly eroding topsoil that in many areas has been so overfarmed it no longer is usable. In fact, it is estimated that if our farming practices globally continued at the rate they currently are, we could be looking at a complete lack of farmable topsoil in as little as 50 years.

But rather than feel overwhelmed by the state of our current food system lets take a look at what it could look like, and the incredibly positive impacts that a sustainable food system could have on our health and the health of our planet.

What A Sustainable Food System Looks Like
People have been farming for thousands of years, and it is only in the last 50 years or so that our farming practices moved so rapidly away from the traditional farming practices that generations of farmers grew up on. Before the mono-culture crop and factory farm model was a system of farming that worked in unison with nature. This system was a truly sustainable and regenerative system that viewed the farmer and the farm as a part of a larger ecosystem, one that could work to support the health of the soil, the biodiversity of the landscape, and the conservation of water.

While globally we may have moved away from this system, there are many farmers and advocates that are standing up for a truly regenerative way of farming, who are returning their farms back to ones that support soil health and biodiversity, and who are our best chance for protecting our own food security in the future and reversing the impacts of climate change today.

Learn more about 5 Ways to Support A Healthy Body & Planet With Your Food.

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