Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2021

World Food Day

What can you do ?

Billions of consumers worldwide need to shift old consumption patterns in order to transform food systems for the better. Change is in our hands. We can influence what the market provides by opting for nutritious and environmentally and socially responsible products. This puts pressure on governments to design more sustainable policies, promote improved agricultural methods and motivate greater investment in sustainable healthy diets. Here’s where you can start.

We need to choose health at every step of the food system. Start with your own! Protect it by choosing diverse and nutritious foods. Just as variety supports biodiversity, a varied and balanced diet benefits your body and mind. Add fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and wholegrains to your diet and reduce ultra-processed foods that are high in salt, sugar or fats. Learn how to read food labels in order to choose wisely.

We need to choose health at every step of the food system. Start with your own! Protect it by choosing diverse and nutritious foods. Just as variety supports biodiversity, a varied and balanced diet benefits your body and mind. Add fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and wholegrains to your diet and reduce ultra-processed foods that are high in salt, sugar or fats. Learn how to read food labels in order to choose wisely.

Buy only what you need and use it all! When we throw food away, we waste the water and energy used to produce and transport it, and also add to greenhouse gas emissions. Try to improve food storage and meal planning at home and make pickles or jam preserves with fruit and vegetables you haven’t consumed.

Nature never wastes! Water is always in constant motion in a natural cycle between the Earth and atmosphere. Learn from nature and try reusing water at home, for example by using old water that cooked vegetables or rainwater to water your plants. You can also put nutrients back into the soil by composting raw or cooked foods you can no longer eat. Try composting if you have a garden or look into local composting schemes

Choose short, inclusive value chains that connect producers to consumers and nurture ecosystems. Look out for Geographical Indication (GI) and Mountain Partnership Product (MPP) labels that support food producers. These initiatives make certain unique foods and products more widely available, increasing their value and – in turn – the incomes of smallholder producers. You can also shop at local Farmers’ Markets that often promote biodiversity and local varieties.

Creating green spaces in window boxes, on your balcony or in your garden helps cities to breathe. Large green spaces create shade and they also clean the air, cool the city and reduce water pollution. No space? Get involved in a local community garden. Growing food at home is fun and a way to learn about plants and appreciate them, while improving your diet! Nourish the environment and your community.

Agri-food systems don’t only produce food! They also produce fibres such as cotton and wool. Be sustainable in the way you dress. Support fashion and brands that are socially responsible and ethical and research brands before buying. Are the clothes produced sustainably? Do the companies respect workers’ rights? Do they give something back to the community? You can also donate old clothes to charity and buy second-hand to support a zero waste style.

Speak up and share knowledge and information online. Get more people to care about how our food is produced and how this affects our planet. Raise awareness about better nutrition and openly support restaurants or private companies that are making genuine efforts to be #FoodHeroes.