A recent purchasing report from a major food purchasing group said: “A devastating global food crisis unlike anything we have seen in decades is coming. The truth is that we are not just facing rumors of a global food crisis [it] is actually starting to unfold right in front of our eyes… 2013 is currently expected to mark only the second time in 38 years where annual beef, pork, and chicken output all decline. Meat will therefore be increasingly viewed as an indulgence around a year from now.”
We need a resilient food system that can cope with a changing climate and unpredictable conditions such as this drought. How are we going to get there? Assuming we aren’t holding our breath for federal agricultural policy that will motivate change, then companies of all shapes and sizes need to get creative about what kind of a food system they are supporting.
And that starts with the people who make up those companies, buy food from those companies, or support those companies in any way, shape or form. When it comes to food, everyone plays a role.
In practice, it’s already proven to be quite difficult and complicated, but Bon Appétit is leading the way.
We’ve tried to create resilience in obvious ways, by supporting small, local farms directly (creating a diverse and therefore more secure food supply) since 1999 with our Farm to Fork program. But we do it in many other ways.
Through our Low Carbon Diet program, by reducing the amount of beef and cheese that we buy altogether, and making sure what we do buy is humanely raised, ideally locally on pasture, and also through our animal welfare purchasing policies, which affect not only the quality of life for animals but have ramifications for nearby soil quality, waterways, and air.
Now is the time to strengthen those systems, create local and regional food sheds, better understand what farmers are dealing with, and support them: especially those that are good stewards of their land … and all our shared resources.