Vatican conference gives food for thought

A UN representative said 16 per cent of supermarket food, mainly fruit and vegetables, is thrown away or wasted because it is “ugly” (Bigstock)

The food people pick at the supermarket and cook in their kitchens can make a huge difference in helping address the global problems of hunger, obesity and climate change, a Vatican conference on sustainable development has heard. Source: Crux.

But helping the planet and human health will need more than a change in behaviour, said Vandana Shiva, a quantum physicist and Hindu activist.

“It is about a consciousness shift: How do we live in this world? What is the food we eat? Is my eating helping the bees, butterfly and the farmer? Or is my eating part of the extinction of the bees and the extinction of the farmers?” she said.

The trend in modern industrial agriculture is to get to a point where farming can be done without local, independent farmers, she said.

“If you do farming without farmers, you will have food production without care, it will be toxic food and, even if it is plant-based, toxic food will still make you very ill,” she said.

Dr Shiva, who advocates biodiversity and cultural diversity as part of fighting poverty, hunger and climate change, was one of dozens of speakers invited to the Vatican for a three-day international conference on how religions can contribute to the world reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The conference, held on March 7-9, was jointly organised by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. It brought together a large number of religious leaders from all major faith backgrounds as well as advocates and experts in the fields of development, the environment and health care.

Rene Castro Salazar, assistant director general at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, said 16 per cent of all food grown for consumption was left behind in fields and wasted. Another 16 per cent of the food that makes it to supermarkets or sellers is thrown away or wasted because the products, mostly fruit and vegetables, “are ugly”.

Being able to recover and use perfectly edible food from these two areas in the food production and distribution chain “would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world,” he said.


World health depends on changing way food is made, eaten, say speakers (Crux

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