The foods that people around the world eat is hugely diverse and in this free course, Eating for the environment, you began by looking at a range of different dietary choices and preferences. You then examined your own dietary choices and preferences and whether or not they incorporate the diversity of edible species on the taxonomic tree. You also looked at the links between food, culture and traditions, as well as the intellectual property rights over foods that have certain specific geographical origins. Finally you explored some unconventional sources of food including wild edible plants and non-native invasive species.
Even though the discourses of global food security are framed around feeding 9 billion people by 2050, there is more to food than just growing populations, high yields, and increased production. Food is about dietary choices and preferences, it is about culture and traditions, and it is also about environmental sustainability.
The dependence of the global food system on high-yielding agriculture and ever-more production does not always deliver environmental sustainability because there are unintended consequences of high-yielding agriculture, such as greenhouse gas emissions, pollution from agrochemical runoff, or loss of habitat for many species.
Unconventional sources of food prompt you to think about innovative ways of reducing the environmental footprint of what you eat. Eating for environmental sustainability will need us to explore these alternative sources of food and incorporate them in diets.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.