Why you can’t buy sustainable food

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Why you can’t buy sustainable food

You guys, meet Wilbert. Wilbert works at Youth Food Movement and from now on, he will write an article for Strawberry Earth every month. Expect words on food and the importance of knowing where your meals came from.

Question yourself. What is more sustainable? Digging into a superfood from far, far away or devouring a sugary cookie from regional products? Eating a carrot from a strain that hasn't changed over decades, or a genetically modified corncob that is not susceptible to diseases? We all want to eat sustainable. It's a good thing, but can be quite frustrating. First you'll hear fairtrade coffee is sustainable, the next day drinking coffee isn't sustainable at all. I believe you simply can't buy sustainable food.

As a food-storyteller I discuss sustainability with all kinds of people: farmers, businesspeople, scientists. At YFM we believe in good, clean and fair food, but is there food that fits all categories? Isn't it the same as the word 'sustainable'? Just a way to conceptualise the fact we want to eat food that's good for both people and planet.

Therefore I think the core of our 'sustainability problem', is that we have become detached from the people that produce our food. My solution: go outside and reconnect to the people who grow your food. Ask them how they do it and learn about seasonal produce. Also: buy direct-trade coffee, more money will end up in the farmers hands.

Some time ago, I made a potato soufflé for a farmer. To do this, I had to scoop out the inside of the potato. Something the farmer didn't like. He told me about the love and work he had put into that potato. Ever since, I haven't thrown away a single potato. That's what happens when you look for the people behind your food, and, honestly, I cannot think of anything more sustainable.

Photography: Amanda Drost