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Sustainable Gastronomy Day
June 18, 2021
What is Sustainable Gastronomy?
Gastronomy is sometimes called the art of food. It can also refer to a style of cooking from a particular region. In other words, gastronomy often refers to local food and cuisine. Sustainability is the idea that something (e.g. agriculture, fishing or even preparation of food) is done in a way that is not wasteful of our natural resources and can be continued into the future without being detrimental to our environment or health.
Sustainable gastronomy, therefore, means cuisine that takes into account where the ingredients are from, how the food is grown and how it gets to our markets and eventually to our plates.
How the UN System Works for a Sustainable Gastronomy
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN General Assembly work to facilitate the observance of Sustainable Gastronomy Day, in collaboration with Member States, UN organizations and other international and regional bodies, as well as civil society, to observe the Day in raising public awareness of its contribution to sustainable development.
Some of UNESCO’s initiatives include:
- Launching the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, created in 2004 to share best practices and develop partnerships in 7 creative fields. As of 2020, 26 cities have been designated Creative Cities of Gastronomy;
- Promoting clean energy for local restaurants (use gas and electricity instead of coal, use natural gas rather than carbon);
- Raising public awareness of sustainable gastronomy through TV food channels and gastronomy shows and through food cultural exhibitions, intended for the food industry and farmers.
As for the FAO, the Organization promotes green culture diets that are not only healthy, but sustainable and suggests that countries that already have dietary guidelines should begin to consider a process of incorporating sustainability into them.
The “Crop of the Month,” an FAO online feature, has been promoting the diversification of crops in favour of underutilized traditional crops, and applying sustainable food production and natural resource management practices.
Focusing on the role of sustainable gastronomy
The UN General Assembly adopted on 21 December 2016 its resolution A/RES/71/246 and designated 18 June as an international observance, Sustainable Gastronomy Day.
The decision acknowledges gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity of the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding across the globe, sustainable gastronomy – celebrating seasonal ingredients and producers, preserving wildlife as well as our culinary traditions – is today more relevant than ever.
The Five Principles of Sustainable Food and Agriculture
FAO has developed a common vision and an integrated approach to sustainability across agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This unified perspective – valid across all agricultural sectors and taking into account social, economic and environmental considerations – ensures the effectiveness of action on the ground and is underpinned by knowledge based on the best available science, and adaptation at community and country levels to ensure local relevance and applicability.
- SDG Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Global Issues: Food
- No one likes labels… unless it comes to food
- Food loss and waste reduction
- Sustainable food and agriculture
- Family Farming Knowledge Platform (with documents related to COVID-19)
- Creative Cities Network
- List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Register of good safeguarding practices
Prominent figures in the cooking world are using their popularity to urge consumers, businesses and lawmakers to help reduce malnutrition in all its forms, cut food waste, improve nutrition and support sustainable food distribution and preparation systems.
FAO estimates that 1/3 of all the food produced in the world is either lost or wasted, amounting to 1.3 billion tons per year. And food isn’t the only thing that is wasted when it goes uneaten: all of the resources (like seeds, water, feed, etc.), money and labour that go into making it are also lost.
Every 18 June, year in, year out, you may wonder: “What in the world is sustainable gastronomy?” followed by: “Why is it important enough to have a ‘day’ dedicated to it?” and even ask yourself: “Why should I care?” We have the answers.