What is Sustainable Food?

Sustainweb, a British site with the subheader: the alliance for better food and farming, provides these (slightly edited) guidelines for people who want to eat sustainable food:

  1. Buy local, seasonally available ingredients as standard, to minimize energy used in food production, transport and storage.
  2. Buy food from farming systems that minimize harm to the environment, such as certified organic produce.
  3. Reduce the amount of foods of animal origin (meat, dairy products and eggs) eaten, as livestock farming is one of the most significant contributors to climate change, and eat meals rich in fruit, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and nuts. Ensure that meat, dairy products and eggs are produced to high environmental and animal welfare standards.
  4. Stop buying fish species identified as most ‘at risk’ by the Marine Conservation Society, and buy fish only from sustainable sources.
  5. Choose Fairtrade-certified products for foods and drinks imported from poorer countries, to ensure a fair deal for disadvantaged producers.
  6. Avoid bottled water and instead drink plain or filtered tap water, to minimize transport and packaging waste.
  7. Protect your and your family’s health and well-being by making sure your meals are made up of generous portions of vegetables, fruit and starchy staples like whole grains, cutting down on salt, fats and oils, and cutting out artificial additives.

sustainweb I'm going to go ahead and guess that the good folks at Sustainweb are more cause driven than I am, but even still, it's a great list. Don't buy at risk fish. Seems reasonable - extinct fish are certainly not sustainable. Eat animals that are treated well. Agreed, these will taste better and have less chance of disease. Eat more vegetables. I'm trying, I'm trying. To paraphrase Michael Pollan in In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, thinking about what we eat and using common sense can be pretty good guides, at least to get started.