Industrial vs. Sustainable

It has become obvious to many people that there is something fundamentally wrong with our food and the many aspects of our lives that are affected by food production, distribution and consumption. Yet it is not easy to frame it in a way that can easily assess what is wrong, what can be done and where to draw the line. What we strive for carries the banner of sustainability since what we have is not sustainable and the accelerating process through which food has become unsustainable can be clearly tied to industrialization of food production. There is where we draw the line – between what is industrial and what is sustainable.

We have adopted this general distinction between industrial and sustainable to describe all the changes that have happened to our food culture, to our food system and to our food since the beginning of the industrial revolution. These changes lead to the formation of a global food system and a global food culture which have gradually eliminated and replaced hundreds, if not thousands of local food cultures and food systems that worked in different cultures all around of the World. These big changes affected all parts of our lives; they have affected natural environment and global climate, they changed social relations and affected availability of food for over a billion people. Those changes may not be immediately felt by every individual but the change of food also dramatically affected the health of any person who eats industrial food. That means that it personally and deeply affected and changed all of us.

Sustainability, as applied to food, cannot mean moving back to the past as life always moves forward. But the principles on which food sustainability must be based are timeless since sustainable means living in sync with natural laws rather than trying to conquer Nature. Hence, developing ideas how we can have sustainable foods in the future means learning and understanding principles that have their roots in the pre-industrial times, going even as far back as the pre-agricultural times. On the foundation of these sustainable principles we can build a sustainable food culture and eventually a sustainable food system.