The TRIPTOLEMOS Foundation is a private, independent, non-profit organization created in 2002, which contributes with its actions to the optimization and articulation of the Sustainable Food System. The Triptolemos Foundation defines the Food System in 4 interrelated axes: economy, policies and legislation, availability and accessibility, and knowledge, behaviour and culture. All this, from the conviction that the proper functioning of the Food System (Colomer, Clotet, González Vaqué et al. 2016) is an indispensable condition for the balanced development of both the individual and society, since the initial energy necessary for live comes exclusively from photosynthesis (European Green Deal).
The Food System model defined by the Triptolemos Foundation and published by UNESCO (Martin, RM et al. 2020), emphasizes the necessary coordination of the first four Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), (1-No poverty / 2-Zero hunger / 3-Good Health / 4-Quality education), in an environment of sustainability and interrelation that allows the fulfilment of all 17 SDGs, especially 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong institutions).
The solutions proposed by the Green Deal must be based on science and innovation, harmonious, and seek the optimal balance between all the values that make up the variables of the food system. Trying to prioritize only some of them, instead of optimizing the whole, will inevitably leads to the destruction of the system as a whole in equilibrium (Capra, F. 1996). Today this is the cause of the inefficient functioning of the global food system.
Currently, 17% of the European population is in a situation of extreme poverty (estimated data prior to the Covid-19 pandemic). In these circumstances, a situation of imbalance can be reached which leads the population to a double diet system, with citizens who can afford the consumption of certain types of more expensive food, for example organic, and those who cannot afford this type of consumption.
The Foundation’s concern and efforts to help raise and resolve these social distortions already have the work of Professor Abel Mariné (Mariné. A., 2016) as a reference. The text expresses the negative effect that differences in purchasing power can have on habits of health and consumption. The lack of economic resources determines the choice of food and the cheapest is not always the healthiest. Some regulations can favour this situation, laying the foundations for a double diet in the European population, directed only by the purchasing power of the citizen, which implies the existence of two different food models based on the purchasing power of the European consumer. The development of the “Farm to the fork” strategy is an opportunity to eliminate or minimize the double diet system and its effects.
The strategy cities: “The Commission will step up its coordination of a common European response to crises affecting food systems in order to ensure food security and safety”, “The approach will help to reach the objective of at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030”, “A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system”, a challenge that involves an effort to optimize and balance all the parameters that make up the food system. With the current legislation that defines it, today’s organic production is insufficient to cover the needs of food and energy per inhabitant. We believe a Sustainable Food System, giving equal opportunities to all citizens, should be supported by all available technologies including the New Plant Breeding Techniques (Beltrán, JP et al. 2020).
The price of organic products is higher, so there will be at least two types of products differentiated by price (organic and non-organic).There is no objection, if the population is assured and informed that the commitment and reality about food safety (innocuousness) is the same for all types of product on the market. This is the great work of EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) and a great effort in training and communication. Organic production is important for its contribution to sustainability, but at the nutritional level no differences have been detected (The Lancet, 2017).
Verified science and technology (without reservations) should be the motor to face future challenges in terms of competitivity and sustainability proposed by the Green Deal of the “farm to fork”. With this approach and from the perspective of the EU’s agricultural potential, the farmer should be able to have access to a wide range of innovative tools and solutions to face the many challenges he finds, and be able to choose the best practices, tailored to his specific needs and agricultural environment within the framework of a sustainable global food system.
Once food safety is guaranteed in the EU for all types of products, the influence of food on health must be based on training and information on diet, using all types of products guaranteed by the European authorities. Without this effort, a culture of two food systems based on purchasing power will develop in Europe, with the personal and social tensions that this will entail.
The Triptolemos Foundation offers its collaboration to achieve a single Sustainable, fair, healthy, and affordable Food System for all European citizens which will serve as an example for other environments.
16th november 2020