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Mission

Hello and welcome! My name is Emily Binning, and I founded The Sustainable Food Society because I want to help fix our broken food systems by supporting people to make more sustainable food choices.

What are sustainable food choices?

Making sustainable food choices means choosing food which allows our environment, our society and our health to thrive, both today and in the future. It means meeting our own needs, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. 

Our environment means things like our climate, the variety of plants, animals and fungi, the fertility of our soils, and the cleanliness of our water.

Our society means our culture and heritage, skills like farming and cooking, fair wages and working conditions, and food security and accessibility.  

 

Our health means our intake of nutrients, our wellbeing, and our ability to fight disease. 

Much of our food system is unsustainable, actively making our environment, societies, and us sick.

Our food systems threaten all aspects of our environment. Just a few examples include:

  • 80% of deforestation is driven by agriculture (Greenpeace).

  • Various estimates put agriculture responsible for between 26-37% of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • 90% of larger fish have gone from the oceans (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation).

  • 78% of the pollution of our waterways with nitrogen and phosphorus is caused by agriculture, leading to harmful algae blooms and dead zones (Our World in Data). 

  • 85% of the species threatened with extinction cite agriculture and aquaculture as a threat (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

The global food system entrenches inequality in our society; from modern day slavery on fishing vessels and in cocoa and coffee production, to inequitable farming. The United Nations Environment Programme reports that 1% of the world’s farms occupy 65% of agricultural land, giving the huge corporations that own or buy from them disproportionate control over supply, wages, and technological innovation. 

These same corporations, motivated by profit, are also severely damaging our health. The “ultra-processed foods” they produce make up over half the calories eaten in the UK. Whilst affordable to those on low incomes, these foods are usually nutrient poor, leading to obesity often combined with malnutrition which may impair cognitive development and lower resistance to disease. According to data from the Lancet and United Nations, in 2017, around 20% of all worldwide deaths were caused by dietary risk factors.

Our food systems, and the corporations that control them, are causing untold harm. But this also means that our food choices, therefore, lie at the heart of tackling climate change, reducing pollution and water stress, restoring our land, protecting wildlife, ensuring fairer wages and working conditions, and promoting better health. 

People want change. 

People want to stop the terrible destruction, but many feel overwhelmed or confused into inaction. In 2021: 

  • 75% of people in the UK were “worried about climate change”, and 43% reported “feeling anxious about the future of the environment recently” (Office for National Statistics).

  • 78% of people “wanted companies to be doing more to clearly explain the environmental impacts of their products” (Kearney, a survey of 1000 people). 

Despite public outcry and scientific ultimatums, governments are not publishing meaningful policies or guidance to fix this and put sustainability into action.

That’s why I created The Sustainable Food Society. 

In the absence of meaningful government guidance on how individuals can make sustainable food choices, I created The Sustainable Food Society to empower you with information and support to make the changes needed to reverse the devastation being caused. The Sustainable Food Society focuses at the individual level to provide advice which takes into account your personal motivations across the spectrum of environmental, societal and health concerns, so you can support the areas you most care about. 

The good news is that food choices which benefit our environment also benefit our health, and also benefit our societies. For example, choosing eggs from a local organic farm ensures you are supporting an whole-ecosystem approach to farming, supporting local business, and eating an egg shown to have lower cholesterol and higher vitamin content.   

Every food decision is a vote, a signal and a £ into the pocket of someone in the food system. I can help you make the changes needed to begin changing the dynamics of the system from the ground up, so we can live in harmony with our environment, ourselves, and our neighbours. 

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