The fight against climate change can start on our plate. Depending on our choices, we can reduce the environmental impact of mass agriculture, industrial fisheries and cattle breeding, known to be some of the most polluting industries and leading to a very serious problem: food waste. Just focusing on industrial fisheries, as an example, millions of people in food-deficit countries could have avoided malnutrition if fisheries were not overexploited and local resources unfairly allocated. We are currently wasting protein that would be enough for an additional 72 million people a year, because fisheries are not being managed for the long term.
The European Commission shares the same concerns that drive this consortium, and it aims to cut food waste by half by proposing legally binding targets across the EU by 2023. Within the scope of food sustainability, FAO has presented five main axes to develop the theme
1. Improve resource use efficiency
2. Take direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources
3. Protect rural livelihoods and improve equity and social well-being
4. improve the resilience of people, communities and ecosystems, especially to climate change and market volatility
5. promote good governance for improved sustainability of natural and human systems
The environment is not the only beneficiary in need of a more sustainable diet. Humans are on the same end:
in 2017, one out of five deaths in the EU were attributable to unhealthy diets. A healthy, plant-based diet reduces the risk of life-threatening diseases and the environmental impact of our food system. A growing no. of people have noticed this and have embarked on a journey towards a healthier, environmental-friendly lifestyle – this translates to a demand for organic produce, less animal protein, zero-waste cooking and greener restaurants. The VET-ECOoking project parts from these needs and is committed to improving the environment through sustainable cooking. It will bridge a gap existent in the VET courses in the Cooking field, by developing a training module about sustainable cooking directed at VET trainees. This project will, then, address four main needs: the environmental need to reduce food waste; the human need to have a healthier diet; the labour-market need for qualified professionals in the area of sustainable cooking; and the VET need to innovate and update its Cooking curricula to fit the most recent standards.