Building a healthy and resilient food system – ellenmacarthurfoundation.org

Posted: June 16, 2020 at 7:52 am


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"A longer-term proposition emerges: a circular economy for food that offers greater resilience for society and the economy in the face of future shocks, including health and climate risks."

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected our food system unevenly, laying bare its structural weaknesses, rigidity, and potential for disruption. A new Foundation article, Building a healthy and resilient food system calls for long-term strategies.

While industries such as construction, automotive, and travel have faced levels of financial losses never experienced before, the article points out that comparatively, the agriculture and grocery retail sectors have weathered the crisis better as people have prioritised spending on food. However, it also reveals that food supply chains have been hugely impacted by the slump in dining out caused by the government-imposed lockdowns. Just two examples include growers, notably in the US, who have had to destroy their crops at a time when increasingly longer queues were forming outside food banks. And while countries like Kazakhstan have banned wheat and flour exports to protect domestic supplies, others France, Germany, the UK have urged their citizens to help farmers harvest their crops to replace the foreign workers who have been unable to travel due to border controls.

Illustrating these vulnerabilities, Building a healthy and resilient food system also details some of the more positive trends that have the potential for a transition, including consumers paying more attention to where their food is sourced and how it is produced, with retailers across the globe experiencing increases in organic food sales. Local and small-scale production systems are gaining a lot of traction from governments and international agencies, and the article highlights ambitious measures such as the Farm to Fork strategy, launched by the EU on the 22nd of May, with the vision to reconcile climate and biodiversity targets with goals on nutrition.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of food and food security to our lives and livelihoods, evinced the close links between human and natural systems, and prompted numerous calls to rethink our food system. This article fully explores how circular economy strategies would help build resilience at all levels, and why the transition to a circular economy for food would provide positive outcomes for the environment, human health, and biodiversity, as well as contributing significantly to the fight against climate change.

Read the full article on our Circulate News page and learn more about food and cities in the Food initiative section on our website.

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Building a healthy and resilient food system - ellenmacarthurfoundation.org

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June 16th, 2020 at 7:52 am

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