The food environment as the key to sustainability

The food environment as the key to sustainability

November 14, 2019

The food environment as the key to sustainability

Food ethics expert Jessica Christine Fanzo will be attending the Barilla Foundation Forum on December 3, 2019 to explain how to create a virtuous environment that promotes solutions for health and the Planet


Jessica Christine Fanzo is an expert in food ethics, a discipline that studies the values that govern production and food choices.

She is a Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor in agricultural and ethical policies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, United States and has had a long career in international institutions that deal with food sustainability, particularly FAO. Fanzo will be in Milan on December 3, 2019 for the 10th International Food and Nutrition Forum promoted by Barilla Foundation, where she will talk about human-centered food sustainability and strategies to change incorrect behavior.


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From the individual to the system

I have spent all my professional life in the field of nutrition,” she explains. “I studied the clinical and biological aspects of nutrition but eventually I understood that to change the way we feed ourselves, which is wrong for both our health and the environment, we need to change individual behavior.

Jessica Christine Fanzo’s work has focused in particular on the environments in which we make our food choices: shops, restaurants and kitchens can be organized in a virtuous way, to facilitate the right choices.

In my career I have also worked a lot on the ground, particularly in rural communities in developing countries,” she continues. “There I realized how important it is to support those who produce food within the supply chain. At the moment, for example, we are focusing on urban areas, but cities need to be nourished by the countryside, which needs infrastructure such as roads and markets.

Despite the difficulties, Fanzo is optimistic: “Research has made great strides and we have the necessary knowledge to make the right choices,” she explains. “The private sector is also increasingly committed to providing healthy and sustainable food that meets the needs of the local population. It is important to develop solutions suited to each country, culture and socio-economic status. There are good practices that depend not only on individual choices but on the food environment, i.e. a context that promotes health and sustainability. The healthiest products must be available and cheap, information on healthy diets must be accessible and clear. Creating a sustainable food environment is the responsibility of all actors in the food system, from producers to retailers and political decision-makers.


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