It’s time of “…nothing gets thrown away”

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It is generally known – or should be known – that environment and food march at the same speed. Protecting the environment to the detriment of primary production is unthinkable, just like it is unthinkable to harm the environment by exasperating production. This indicates that at least two aspects should be always taken into account: on one side, the natural balance of the binomial food-environment should be kept unchanged; on the other side, the harmony of large-scale agriculture – often based on the production of bio-fuels, of not always safe GMOs, or, more simply,  massively directed to exports –  should be evaluated with utmost care.  The last aspect, of course, hinders small productions, and harms weaker economies, especially in developing countries. Not only. Recently, for instance, Guernsey (a small island of the Channel) tomato producers protested pointing out the unsustainability of their business due to global, Mediterranean and Chinese tomato. This example clearly highlights how extensive productions put at risk both, small local economies as well as bio-diversity, one of the basic aspects that must be protected in view of a sustainable development. Certainly, when considering that by the year 2050 the world will have 9 billion of living humans to feed – a time just around the corner – what above said may appear inconsequent and estranged from reality. But this is not the case. The sustainability of our Planet can be guaranteed only if there is a perfect equilibrium between food and environment. As I already stated many times before, it’s not the earth that must produce more, but humans that must obtain more from what the earth produces. The reduction of food wastes can largely contribute to maintain this equilibrium, just like the development of local circuits and the variety of traditional products supported by Slow Food, as recently reported even by FAO’s Director General José Graziano Da Silva in a speech at a Conference organized by the European Commission in Brussels. But then, inexorably, technology must come to our aid, with enhanced processing efficiency, reduced energy consumption, rationalisation of water cycles and, even more, innovations contributing to a global – or almost global – transformation of primary productions, and even by developing new food products. “Of the pig, nothing is thrown away”, is constantly repeated by all those who raise and process the meat of these simple and amiable animals. This is an example worth following: Can technology pursue this aim for other food productions? I want to reply that not only it is possible, but it’s worth a try. I’m thinking of the primary processing of fruit and tomatoes, as well as of the secondary production sectors of pasta, just to mention a few examples. Well then, at the beginning of the year, like everyone, let’s formulate our resolutions, laying down, for the food industry of our Planet, the wish that 2014 will be the year during which “… nothing gets thrown away”.

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