It is often forgotten that having adequate food is the first link to everything else: you can live a long time if you are healthy, but not long without eating. For this reason, the great effort made during the crisis by the entire business, institutional and personal network should not be forgotten to ensure that we do not spend a day without food.
It begins with the efforts of farmers and fishermen, but it is a long way from them to our table. The initial raw material must be conditioned and transformed so that it is stable. Technologies that have been developed in recent years such as sterilizing, freezing and refrigerating have joined the age old ones such as salting, smoking, dehydration and fermentation, giving products that maintain the nutritional value of food, while facilitating preparation and ensuring supply, all of which are essential in this pandemic.
For all this, we must recognize the strategic value of the processing companyies which, with their technical and productive staff, mak
e a solid contribution to prevent the pandemic from evolving into a famine. However it is a joint effort, we must include the entire auxiliary business sector (packaging, labelling, industrial equipment) and the structure of transport and distribution.
The above approach is a partial aspect of the complex food system, which goes beyond the FAO document primarily intended to assess the situation of availability and accessibility for a nutritionally correct diet. Food problems, famines and nutritional disorders were already present before the Covid-19 crisis. It is a theme that has affected on society, with more or less intensity, since the Neolithic era. Our current maturity and our means force us to raise the issue globally to the highest authority in the world today, the United Nations.
The proper functioning of the food system requires coordination between all the factors, not with an individual objective but an optimal one for the system. This requires strong action in a specific area, scientific formation combine with humanism. The United Nations has an agency for this, UNESCO. UNESCO has very recently published some global reflections on how to approach the future millennium: “Humanistic futures of learning” and as regard food challenges it presents the approach”Education to create a sustainable global food system”. This is the first basic axis, knowledge (awareness, behaviour and culture). However, without scientific and humanistic training, it is difficult to move the other vectors in the proper balance of the system. The other basic axes that make up the Food System, Availability,
Economy and Policies, have wide paths for their optimal sustainable development, but how are they prioritized?. Society and its representatives must relay on knowledge and seek balance in the global food system and this requires training and cultural development.
The millennium looks complex, threatening and hopeful at the same time. We talk about sustainable energy for our activities, but we must not forget energy for life, food. Without harmony in the functioning of a sustainable and balanced food system on a global level, the ethical hopes for the 21st century will not be possible. Therefore, UNITED NATIONS as the highest institution on our planet, and coordinator of all its related agencies, must stablish the strategies and responsibilities necessary to achieve the ethical and sustainable balance for the fulfillment of its millennium objectives, since man’s relationship with his diet is more than “lack of hunger”, the second of the Sustainable Development Goals.
© Triptolemos Foundation 2020