MANILA, Philippines – On World Environment Day, advocates aim to promote awareness about the alarming situation of food consumption and waste.
Voltaire Tupaz reports.
Food blogger Erwan Heussaff dines in fancy restaurants.
But at home, he still prefers to buy and cook his own food.
ERWAN HEUSSAFF, FOOD BLOGGER: I’m very efficient in terms of whatever I’m eating that day…I go to restaurants a lot – multiple times – but during the work week I try as much as possible to cook for myself. Once you have an understanding of the food you’re eating then it becomes more intimate, more educational.
It is the kind of awareness on food consumption the United Nations Environment Program is promoting on World Environment Day.
The situation on the ground is alarming.
The UN says nearly a third of global food production is either wasted or lost.
Food waste is a huge drain on natural resources, hurting the environment.
Having worked in food industries here and abroad, Erwan feels the prevailing behavior on food consumption must change in the country.
ERWAN HEUSSAFF, FOOD BLOGGER: People need to realize the effects that they have on both the environment – the more food you waste, the more food you buy or crops are being taken and everything – it has a massive impact.
While some people waste food, the poor, who have little access to resources, go hungry.
Everyday, one in 8 people sleeps on an empty stomach.
There are about 870 million people in the world who suffer from hunger.
For Denise Celdran, owner of a restaurant that serves organic food, the problem lies in food production and distribution.
DENISE CELDRAN, EDGY VEGGY RESTAURANT OWNER: We are so disconnected from the source of our food. For us, if we want to eat we got to the supermarket. So of course it’s become a business, it’s big industry involved. So they produce a lot of food a lot of it is going to waste.
Denise and other advocates of healthy food are building a movement.
They are innovating a system of bringing food from the farm to the table.
Their strategy: get rid of the middlemen.
Denise serves food in her restaurant that comes directly from Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya’s organic farm in Tarlac.
SANTIAGO LATO, SIBOL PEOPLE’S STORE MANAGER: Hanggat maari, bumababa kami sa middle at sa lower…Karamihan kase pag sinabing organic high-end na masyado kase. Ang SIBAT binaba sa antas ng mga masa. Hanggat maari, ma-afford nila bilhin ang organic vegetable. (As much as possible we cater to the middle and lower segments of the market. Many think organic products are high-end or only for the rich. SIBAT brings organic products to the masses. They should be able to afford organic vegetable.)
According to Lato, it is a practice of food production in which farmers can also consume the organic goods that they produce and sell in the cities.
On World Environment Day, food consumers are encouraged to think, eat and save. It is a campaign to change the imbalance in individual lifestyles that impact the environment. But the bigger pressure is on the food industry to feed more and waste less.
Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler, Manila
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