Sustainable Gastronomy Takes Into Account the Origin of Ingredients

    And what is its relationship to conserving the environment?

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    We recently celebrated World Environment Day under the slogan “One Earth”. This motto was the spearhead of the first Stockholm Conference in 1972, an event that put the environment on the global agenda and led to the establishment of World Environment Day on June 5th. From this first Conference 50 years ago to today: How is the health of our environment? What is the health of the people who inhabit this Earth?

    It is no coincidence that after World Environment Day, the Day of Sustainable Gastronomy is celebrated on June 18th. But what is the relationship between the two themes?

    The relationship between environment, food, and nutrition

    The origin of ALL our food, including water and air, is ONE EARTH. This reality should make us reflect and become aware of the need to carry out actions that contribute to the preservation, recovery, and regeneration of our planet, of nature.

    Today, 50 years after the first celebration of World Environment Day, we see with great concern how the agri-food industrial sector is one of the 5 productive sectors that produce the most greenhouse gases, and in the face of this reality, the emergence of proposals that allow actions that improve Food Systems.

    What are agrifood systems?

    An agri-food system is “the world behind our food”, as the FAO explains. In other words, it is the set of processes that occur from the condition of the soil and water, continuing with how food is grown, harvested, packaged, transported, distributed, marketed, acquired, prepared, valued, consumed, used, and eliminated or discarded. . This concept also takes into consideration what other uses are given to food (animal feed, biofuels, forestry activity) and how this can impact human nutrition.

    A food system, therefore, is related to a series of social, economic, environmental, cultural, political, productive, technological, health and nutrition factors. So, when a fair balance is achieved between all these factors in a food system, we are talking about a sustainable food system.

    What is the relationship between gastronomy and the health of our planet?

    Gastronomy is the set of knowledge and activities that are related to ingredients, recipes, and culinary techniques. Its historical evolution is the product of the relationship of human beings with their environment or surroundings, starting with food and their social value.

    Starting from this concept, gastronomy is, then, a fundamental basis of consumption, because it is what defines our relationship with food, as individuals and as a culture. Therefore, if sustainability is added to the concept of gastronomy, we are facing a very interesting proposal, because, as the UN says, “sustainable gastronomy is synonymous with a cuisine that takes into account the origin of the ingredients, how they are grown and how they find their way into our markets and ultimately onto our plates.” In other words, it is a concept of “conscious cooking” that can be practiced both in homes and in the gastronomic trade.

    The Day of Sustainable Gastronomy was established in December 2016 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, recognizing gastronomy as a cultural expression of the natural and cultural diversity of the planet, which if practiced under the principles of sustainability and sustainability, becomes a magnificent strategy that, from responsible and conscious consumption, contributes in a vital way to the improvement of food systems, and thus to the preservation of the health of people, the environment and societies.

    It is worth highlighting the fact that our country already has a Sustainable and Healthy Costa Rican Gastronomy Plan, which constitutes an important effort that unites public and private wills, non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

    Tips for practicing Sustainable Gastronomy:

    • Know where food comes from, who produced it, and where and how it was produced.
    • Prefer foods produced with clean agricultural practices.
    • Buy what you need, to reduce food loss and waste. Avoid the use and consumption of packaging materials.
    • Appreciate and incorporate local and seasonal foods and traditional foods into the diet. Eat as naturally as possible.
    • Make the most of food, making diverse and creative preparations.
    • Rational use of water and energy sources in the production, preparation, and cleaning process.
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