Sustainability is a very hot topic in the food and nutrition world these days and for good reason. Every year, we have about 80 million more people to feed than we did the year before. But of course, the amount of land and water we have to grow food—on this planet anyway—is fixed.
In order to meet the ever-increasing demand for food, we’re going to need to make the best possible use of our finite natural resources. We need to develop ways to produce food more efficiently. And we need to preserve the long-term health and viability of the environment and do what we can to forestall irreversible climate changes that will make it harder to grow food.
Many of us are trying to make food choices that support these goals and efforts. We’re trying to eat sustainably. And while these efforts are well-intended, I’m not sure they are always well-directed. As I’ve been thinking about this lately, it seems to me that there are three big factors that contribute to the sustainability of our individual and collective diets—and that one or two of these often gets overlooked.