The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity



Shoppers and Trends

July 27, 2008

Dear Phil,
A lot of my customers are asking me about sustainable agriculture. What does it really mean and how can I best explain it to them in a smart and easy way?
It’s a very complicated issue and has dozens of definitions as both the government and industry try to figure out how to save Mother Earth from what many, including me, see as an inevitable disaster unless we do some major revisions in the way we live and work.
In order to move to a more sustainable future, we have to balance the world’s present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Which, as you can see, is tough since we can’t predict those future needs exactly. What we do know is that the top challenges for humanity between now and the next 30 to 40 years include changes in climate, disease, energy, education, environment, food, water, terrorism, war and poverty. All of these issues are interconnected, and for us to be truly sustainable, they must all be addressed – and all our efforts must be reexamined and refined.
There is no silver bullet that can make all of us and all businesses sustainable overnight. It is a process that many food companies, including Kraft and PepsiCo, have already begun by changing their manufacturing processes to have a less harmful impact (and drain) on the world’s resources. Certainly to many, sustainability means being “green,” and many companies and brands are now promoting their green efforts. But, if we are going to actually reverse the damage done to our planet, it will take a concerted effort by us all, and in all of the issues.
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