A few months ago, I discovered TooGoodToGo.com. Too Good to Go is an international B corporation that started in Europe. Its goal is to eliminate food waste around the world. This problem is especially bad in the United States and Canada but exists across the globe.
After getting started in Europe, Too Good to Go recently expanded to North America. Its goal in the developed nations of Europe and North America is to find ways to put food that would otherwise go to waste into the hands of ordinary consumers. These efforts include small grocery stores and independent restaurants, and coffee shops.
Other charities work to connect larger stores and kitchens with food banks and soup kitchens. Both efforts are essential.
In its effort to help reduce food waste, Too Good to Go serves as the connection between these two groups. I have used it a few times to reserve food from a restaurant, generally around the end of their business day. I can purchase food from them at one-third of the regular price, but I do not get to choose what I will get. I have never felt ripped off but am still trying to grapple with the lack of choice. I know – a real first-world problem.
The Too Good to Go website details the amount of food wasted in our food distribution system. It happens at every step. On the farm. In the store or restaurant, even in our fridges at home.
Choosing to pick up random items from your local shawarma shop may not seem like a way of answering the call to eliminate global hunger, but it is a way to attack food waste.
It does more than just put you in touch with your favourite takeout joint for a late-night snack, and it identifies examples of food waste throughout the food chain. We all need food, and when we have enough food, we have food security. That is something that many of us take for granted. But it is not something all of us can count on. And that is as true in downtown Chicago or suburban Winnipeg, Frankfurt, Rio de Janeiro, or rural Vietnam.
Food Security: What Zero Hunger is aiming for
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) defines food security as a time when:
(A)ll people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
This is a noble end goal that addresses half the issue of food in our modern world. Hunger and starvation have always been issues for some – throughout history. In today’s world, it’s possible to think of a time when we can feed everyone, provide healthy food, and meet each person’s dietary needs.
As we hear again and again, this is the only planet we have. Our goal must be to figure out how to live here to serve us as individuals, as world citizens, and as protectors of planet earth. Food production is a prime example of the intersection between our needs as humans and the planet’s survival needs.
The increasingly dangerous climate fluctuations seen across North America and around the world will overwhelmingly influence our ability to produce what we need to survive. And addressing those needs by being increasingly more severe will only worsen the problem.
Social and environmental success: In tandem, not in competition
The way forward must address both problems. It lies at the base of our relationship with the world around us. In every way.
That is what the Sustainable Development Goals hope to address. Each SDG has targets that aim to fill that goal.
The fourth target (2.4) is to ensure sustainable agricultural productivity:
By 2030 ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality
Each SDG has a series of targets attached to it. SDG # 2 has eight targets. Ensuring sustainable agricultural productivity is just one of them.
I hope to continue working on the 17 UN SDGs. I also hope you will enjoy reading about them and joining in a discussion as we go along.
If you like what I have to say or have something on any of these topics along the way, please add them to the comments below.
And if you want to reach out to talk about how we can work together on any kind of writing project, especially about SDG or ESGs, reach out. I’d love to hear from you.