Protecting the diversity of our foods is vital to feeding a growing global population. Yet, we’re losing these resources every day. To drive action on biodiversity for SDG2.5 by 2020, 2020for2020 calls on chefs around the world to champion food diversity in their kitchens, restaurants and recipes for a more diverse, sustainable and delicious future.
The biggest impact on the health of our planet comes from our food system – specifically what we eat and how we produce it. The statistics are staggering: around 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions and 60% of global biodiversity loss are connected to our production and consumption practices.
While this is alarming it can also be empowering. If we are lucky, we eat three times a day. That’s three opportunities to make a food choice that is better for the planet and your health.
Including more diversity in our diets can be simple, impactful and delicious. The scientific study Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems and WWF’s Livewell report, highlighted that eating a greater variety of plant-based foods from sustainable sources could have a beneficial effect on our health and help to safeguard the planet’s rich biodiversity for generations to come. Future 50 Foods report written by Knorr and WWF highlights what some of these ingredients could be.
Of the more than 30,000 edible plant species, we only currently eat between 150 - 200 of them. By demanding lesser-known ingredients from sustainable sources we can help shift the food system by encouraging the growth and supply of a more diverse range of crops. This agricultural diversity is good for soil health, adds nutritional value to our diets, builds climate resilience and opens up new routes to market for small-holder farmers and specialist producers.
Adding a lesser-known, highly nutritious crop like moringa to the menu or swapping rice with purple yam, not only adds greater flavour and flair to the plate, it can actually help achieve the SDG2 and the Global Goals more generally. This is a win-win for taste, health and the planet.
Chefs can help plant the seed for a more diverse, sustainable and delicious future. Facilitated by Food Forever and the Chefs’ Manifesto, 2020for2020 aims to amass 2,020+ chefs from across the world to inspire better ways of cooking, eating and advocating for biodiversity conservation by 2020- the target year for achieving UN SDG 2.5.
Thus far, 170 chefs have committed to championing biodiversity in a number of ways. Chefs in Ireland are highlighting two biodiverse ingredients on their menus each month and Chefs in India are hosting cooking classes to teach foodies about these diverse foods. Other chefs are contributing recipes that highlight a biodiverse ingredient.
By signing up, chefs commit to protecting what remains of the vast, colourful spectrum of diversity within our food system and celebrating it on your menus and in your restaurants. Here's to start:
Focused on the protection of biodiversity, 2020FOR2020 speaks directly to Area 2 of the Chefs' Manifesto. Area 2 highlights the importance of maintaining the rich diversity of the world's natural larder by using different varieties of plants, grains and proteins. It also asks chefs to advocate for the protection of crop diversity and championing of regional and national variants.