What role can food play in sustainable development – in India and in Sweden? – Welcome to a talk at the Stockholm Culture Festival with Anumita Roy Chowdhury & Paul Svensson, 18 August 2017
This event will be livestreamed here!
Notification: Previous speaker Sunita Narain has been replaced by Anumita Roy Chowdhury
Can local foods be a part of sustainable development in India, with a current population of 1,200 million people and some 1,500 million in a generation?
The link between food and sustainable development is evident in a new cookbook “First Food – Culture of Taste”, published by the Indian NGO Center for Science and Development. It contains 50 recipes that can help promote biodiversity. If biodiversity disappears, the healthy food is lost on our plates. Hence, it is vital to think about the entire food value chain; what, how and by whom food is produced, local recipes and the importance of eating nutritious and healthy food, according to Sunita.
In poor countries many health problems can be explained by food insecurity. When countries and their people become wealthier, they tend to eat more unhealthy foods and health problems grow as a result. India is no exception in this regard. It’s only when a society becomes even richer, that a shift to healthy diets occurs. First food seeks to take India from being a country where close to 200 million people still suffer from lack of access to food, directly to a country where people are aware of the healthy, nutritious and sustainable production and healthy eating habits based on local foods, i.e. jump the unhealthy transition state.
In Sweden, an increased interest from consumers in alternative foods that are ethically and sustainability produced has been noted. The emergence of organic food on the shelves and a larger selection of local foods have begun to play an important role as alternatives to conventional foods. We like to think that this is setting the agenda for sustainable food production and healthy dietary habits. Swedish consumers have increased their purchases of organic foods in the last decades. Locally produced foods are by many consumers seen to reduce environmental impacts, including water pressure and strengthen local economies, while they are of higher quality and more tasty as compared to imported, according to a study by the Swedish Board of Agriculture published in 2014. Despite this, organic and locally produced foods still remain a niche market in today’s supermarkets.
This seminar aims to discuss how a shift to healthier, sustainable diets can be realized. Can eating locally produced foods be a part of the solution?
The conversation is in English
30 min discussion + 15 min for questions from the audience. The conversation will focus on below mentioned questions:
- Which environmental challenges are threatening food security (water, biodiversity, pollution)?
- How can cookbooks help promote more sustainable diets?
- To what extent is research/knowledge on food, sustainability and health communicated to consumers?
- What should we eat to preserve biodiversity and stay healthy?
- Is food a class issue? Or can everyone afford to buy and prepare healthy foods?
- What role can celebrities/star chefs play in promoting sustainable, healthy diets?
- In what way does Swedish consumers impact the situation in India?
- How can consumers make choices that reduce the water crisis and protect the environment, while promoting sustainable livelihoods and income for farmers?
- Is indigenously produced food always best (for the environment, for the farmer, for the consumer)?
- What role does reduction in food waste play in promoting sustainable food production and food preferences?
- Does the time required to prepare the traditional recipes, presume that women are spending a substantial time on cooking? Will this impact on women’s opportunity to engage in other activities and seek employment?
- What can Sweden learn from India and vice versa?
About the speakers:
Anumita Roychowdhury is the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India. CSE was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in 2005 for acknowledging the growing crisis of water management in many regions of the South and the need for new approaches that provide local food and water security to communities.
Paul Svensson is a Swedish TV chef, restauranteur and cookbook writer. Paul, also known as the “Green Food Philosopher”, has in recent years become a well-known name in environmental circles through his commitment to various issues related to sustainable food. He runs the restaurant at Fotografiska which gives vegetables the center stage. His latest cookbooks aim to encourage less food waste and increased awareness on sustainable foods.