During an event organized by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) and Food Tank, chefs, farmers, academics, and food system advocates discuss the importance of diets that support the health of humans and the planet. Each conversation focuses on the Double Pyramid, a model illustrating that a balanced diet can promote wellbeing while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Guido Barilla, Chairperson of BCFN, started off the conversation with a keynote. “Each of us has the power to shape the future by adopting a sustainable diet,” Barilla says. He also underscores the need for these diets to be accessible and affordable for all.
Million Belay, General Coordinator for the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and Barbara Buchner, Global Managing Director for the Climate Policy Initiative then build on the ideas introduced by Barilla. They note that it will be necessary to invest in these sustainable diets while ensuring that these actions celebrate local traditions and do not infringe on human rights. “Food is a health issue, a social issue, and a nutrition issue,” Belay says.
Brent Loken, the Global Food Lead Scientist at World Wildlife Fund, speaks about what it will take for communities to adopt healthier diets. He argues that communication and marketing will be essential to combat the junk food advertisements that target consumers, especially children. “We have to do the same thing with healthy and sustainable foods.”
Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit, Sustainable Agri-Food systems and Fisheries for the European Commission; Elise Golan, Director for Sustainable Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); Gabriele Riccardi, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases at the University of Naples “Federico II;” and Sophie Hieke, Head of Consumer Science for the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) talk about the need for better food and agriculture policies.
The panelists discuss call for intersectoral conversations that support progressive food policies. Golan reminds the audience that the sustainability of a food is not an inherent quality. “The sustainability of the food depends on the sustainability of the system in which it was produced,” she says. Panelists also say that consumers will need to shift their perceptions about diet and health to support sustainable practices.
A final discussion highlights voices of those who are prioritizing sustainability as they produce and cook local foods. Panelists include Chef Chiara Pavan of Venissa, Don Bustos, Owner of Santa Cruz Farm, and Riccardo Valentini, Professor at Tuscia DIBAF. “It’s important to understand how your diet is adaptable to your bioregion,” Bustos says, instead of altering the environment.
The event concludes with Paola Leoncini Bartoli, Director, Cultural Policies and Development for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Bartoli discusses the inseparable link between food, culture, and environment. She reminds that the audience that this concept is the foundation of the Double Pyramid, which “shows that health and culture go hand in hand.”