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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Development of a Code of Conduct on Food Loss and Food Waste Prevention

A C Baker
A C BakerThe Vegan SocietyUnited Kingdom

Good evening,

I am delighted to contribute our feedback, on behalf of The Vegan Society. 

Development of a Code of Conduct on Food Loss and Food Waste Prevention
 
The world is ALREADY producing enough food for 10 billion people.  Some people are going hungry because other people are actively preventing the food from reaching everyone who needs it.  Some of the hungriest people are small food producers, who are forced  to 'bake the loaf of bread to get the money to buy one slice."
 
 1) With respect to the proposed outline and structure of the CoC:
 
 a) Does the proposed outline of the CoC address the issues in an exhaustive and comprehensive way?
 
 Largely, yes, with the caveats set out below.
 
 b) Are there any particular issues and aspects of importance that you think are not be addressed in the proposed structure?
 
Yes: food waste in farming animals.  The Code of Conduct must make explicit that artificially breeding animals to farm, who then need land dedicated to grow their food, is currently one of the biggest forms of global food waste.  
 
In 2009, Christian Nelleman et al. demonstrated this for the UN Environmental Food Programme, just considering the cereals grown to feed to farmed animals. "[T]he loss of calories by feeding the cereals to animals instead of using the cereals directly as human  food represents the annual calorie need for more than 3.5 billion people."  
 
(p27 box, 'How many people can be fed with the cereals allocated to animal feed?'  Nellemann, C. et al. 2009. The environmental food crisis – The environment’s role in averting future food crises. A UNEP rapid response assessment. United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal, www.grida.no ISBN: 978-82-7701-054-0  http://gridarendal-website-live.s3.amazonaws.com/production/documents/:s... accessed ACB 2019/08/14)
 
The harmful impacts of the global animal farming system, causing greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, erosion, water pollution - and hunger - must finally be ended.  All farmers and land managers who want to transition away from artificially breeding animal  to farm, toward more sustainable plant-based land management, need to be given all the support they want and need to do so. 
 
Secondly, food security and sovereignty is part of every single person's basic human rights.  A basic living income, and fair access to good farm land, are vital to empower every person and every community to claim their food sovereignty.  This will include  the power to make better food choices, with less waste in the household.  This will also involve the power to grow, harvest, store, and eat their own plant protein crops, staples, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and other elements of a nutritious,  appropriate plant-based diet. 
 
 c) Are there any disadvantages or gaps you see in the current structure
 
The structure does not identify the most important people in bringing food sovereignty:  the people who are currently impoverished and denied access to a basic living income, and good farm land;  the people who are currently locking in the system of artificially  breeding animals to farm, thus depriving impoverished people of food;  the people who are hoarding the land, money and other resources which communities need to secure their own nutritious, appropriate food supply.
 
 2) With respect to the content of the different sections of the CoC:
 
 a) What are the general guiding principles that you think are important for section 2.1?
 
We must expect to make major changes to our land management methods.  In particular, farmers who want to move away from artificially breeding animals to farm, toward sustainable plant-based land management, must urgently be given all the support they need. 
 
There is already enough food for 10 billion people.  The people who are hoarding land, money and other resources, and managing land to increase their wealth and power, are blocking our global justice and sustainability goals.   Every one has the right to a  sustainable, nutritious, appropriate plant-based diet.  
 
 b) What are the specific guiding principles and practices do you think are important for sections 2.2.1(a, b& c), 2.2.2 and 2.2.3?
 
2.2.1(c)  Food is first and foremost, for everyone to eat as part of a decent basic quality of life.  Food 're-distribution' as a charitable endeavour completely misses the key principle: the right to sustainable, nutritious, appropriate plant-based food must supersede any perception that non-humans or humans can be exploited for profit.  
 
2.2.2.  The 're-purposing' of food should have lower priority.  Every effort should be made to ensure that crops are grown, harvested, stored and used appropriately by local communities.  Food has huge embodied energy and value, and should always be intended for people to eat if at all possible.  Free-living animals also have the right to appropriate nutrition, within appropriate habitats. Composting is extremely valuable for protecting soils and thus future harvests.  All these needs should supersede any other use of food. 
 
 c) Taking into account the need to foster FLW policy coherence, which cross-cutting issues are relevant to the FLW topic, as addressed in section 2.2.4?
 
Ending exploitation in the food sector is paramount.  Empowering people to make better food choices within their local communities, will in turn empower people to move away from exploiting non-human beings.
 
 3) Can you provide specific examples of policies, interventions, initiatives, alliances and institutional arrangements which should be considered as best practices in FLW prevention, reduction, food recovery, repurposing and recycling?
 
The methods used on Tolhurst Organic farm in England (http://www.tolhurstorganic.co.uk/), including agroforestry, large scale composting, and local food distribution, demonstrate 20+ years of best practice.  The  specifics of Tolhurst's methods apply particularly to temperate lowland management.  But the principles translate well to many other climates and land types.  Co-Founder, Iain Tolhurst, is a leading expert in the UK Soil Association of organic farmers and  growers, and teaches land managers across temperate and lowland farming regions around the world. 
 
The Grow Green policy work (https://www.vegansociety.com/take-action/campaigns/grow-green) of The Vegan Society and collaborators looks at many ways to support land managers and farmers  seeking to move toward sustainable plant-based management techniques.  Developed in a wealthy temperate climate country, the principles - such as plant protein crops for direct human consumption, and agro-forestry - can be applied in many other situations. 
 
 4) How could this Code of Conduct on FLW prevention and reduction be most useful for different stakeholders, especially at national and regional levels?
 
Create a brief, practical summary.  Empower small food producers to demand that the principles and practices are respected.  Make explicit the need to move away from artificially breeding farmed animals, toward plant-based land management techniques. 

Thank you, and we look forward to the next stages in ending food loss and building food sovereignty for all,

A C Baker