Today, June 18th, we celebrate the Sustainable Gastronomy Day to raise awareness on how gastronomy plays a decisive role in adopting a healthy and sustainable diet.
Shifting current consumption patterns is an essential step forward towards a sustainable food system. A growing body of scientific evidence supports this vision, such as the studies carried out at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF.
Early this year, the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet and Health published a report on how a healthy and sustainable diet, that stays within the planetary boundaries, looks like. In a nutshell, the reduction of meat consumption leading to a more plant-based diet is a must.
But, how to engage people to this necessary change? While there are enough science-based reasons, this knowledge alone might not be enough to encourage the needed change. Here it’s where gastronomy can play a tasty role.
While science can be too abstract, gastronomy brings this issue down to daily choices. Every day, chefs around the world decide which ingredients and processes they use to prepare delicious yet nutritionally-balanced meals in their kitchens. By making this kind of decisions, they influence people’s daily food choices and, ultimately, what is grown in the fields.
Therefore, chefs can be great advocates for a better food system, making sustainable diets more fun, tasty and socially acceptable. This idea has been captured in a recent movement, the Chefs’ Manifesto, a global initiative gathering hundreds of chefs around a set of actions: promoting a plant-based diet and the diversification of ingredients, use sustainable food products with low environmental impact, reduce food waste, buy local and seasonal, and promote it through education.
Chefs can have a big influence on households. Cooking TV shows and recipe books, for example, can raise awareness on the environmental impacts of current dietary habits and become inspirational for home cooks to prepare sustainable meals.
Gastronomy is an essential tool to foster dietary shifts. More interactions between academia and gastronomy can bring new creative ways to promote a sustainable diet, not only for you but also for our common planet.