Three benefits of a circular economy for food
In this article, James Ritter discusses three benefits of a circular economy for food.
A circular economy is essentially a framework of production and consumption that aims to have a minimal environmental impact, to guarantee and promote sustainability.
When it comes to food and agriculture, there are so many benefits to applying the principles of a circular economy.
Not only does it support farmers and local communities, but it also helps protect the planet and its ecosystems through the elimination of waste, with any by-products being used to fuel another cycle.
With the growing population, our current profligate approach to food production and consumption is unsustainable.
It is vital we find a suitable solution. Here, we discuss how we all could stand to gain from the adoption of circular economy principles.
Supports the environment
Employing circular economy principles in food production and consumption will have long-lasting environmental benefits, both locally and globally. Firstly, this approach can help to combat the effects of climate change.
By using regenerative farming methods such as agroforestry, more CO2 will be absorbed from the atmosphere, mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the effects of climate change.
These eco-friendly practices will also help to support local ecosystems and the natural environment, producing high-quality, nutrient-rich crops.
The regenerative and restorative nature of a circular economy will mean that we’d be able to keep resources in use for longer, thus decreasing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
Not only do landfills impact local ecosystems, but solid waste can also give off harmful greenhouse gases, so reducing the amount we send there in the first place will have far-reaching benefits for our planet.
Supports local economies and communities
Promoting local agriculture will give communities the autonomy to take control of their food supply, whilst also supporting the economy through the creation of more jobs.
What is more, any new jobs that are created will have the environment and sustainability at the heart of the role, which will appeal to the growing number of eco-conscious jobseekers around the world.
With the unpredictability of the industry, jobs are often at risk, so the promotion of job opportunities in the farming and food production sectors within a circular economy will be one of the key benefits of this approach.
Recent global events have further highlighted the need for a more circular approach to food management.
For years, we have relied on the cross-border transportation of food from all over the world to land on our plates.
But not only does this approach pose serious environmental challenges, due to the polluting nature of transportation, but it is also put under serious strain when global challenges arise, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Adopting the principles of a circular economy would mean we localise the production of food, eliminating the need for it to travel thousands of miles to reach our lunch boxes and dinner tables.
Shifting the focus to local production will have the benefit of enhancing food security for us all, particularly in the time of a crisis.
To sum up
Though they are not currently widely employed, it is likely that we will see the circular economy principles feature more prominently within the farming and food production sectors in the not-too-distant future.
The long-term sustainability of the industry is at threat. We need drastic changes to the current framework to ensure food security for us and future generations.