You will find on this page a series of seven principles that you should adopt when trying to shift towards a more sustainable diet. These principles are based on those of Sustain, one of the leading organisations of the UK Sustainable Food Cities project. These are only principles and they allow you to keep freedom and creativity in what you eat, according to your taste, lifestyle or culture.
We are aware that sticking to all these principles at all times may seem quite a daunting pledge to take, and a very difficult target to achieve. That’s why we recommend that you consider these commitments as a direction of travel and progress at your own pace. Make it a personal experiment and enjoy it because after all, buying, cooking and eating food has to remain a source of pleasure.
Although the decision to change one’s diet is a very personal commitment, our food choices could have a huge impact on society and the environment if a large number of people decided to join the movement. Since we all (hopefully) eat every day, three times a day, we are very powerful as consumers. Each time we buy and eat a product rather than another, we’re encouraging (or voting for) a system rather than another. We think it’s quite encouraging!
Seven Principles for a Sustainable Diet
1) Aiming to be waste-free
Reducing food waste (and packaging) saves the energy, effort and natural resources used to produce and dispose of it, as well as money.
2) Eating better, and less meat and dairy
Consuming more vegetables and fruit, grains and pulses, and smaller amounts of animal products (of which should be produced to high-welfare and environmental standards) helps reduce health risks and greenhouse gases.
3) Buying local, seasonal and environmentally friendly food
This benefits wildlife and the countryside, minimises the energy used in food production, transport and storage, and helps protect the local economy.
4) Choosing Fairtrade-certified products
This scheme for food and drinks imported from poorer countries ensures a fair deal for disadvantaged producers.
5) Selecting fish only from sustainable sources
Future generations will be able to eat fish and seafood only if we act now to protect our rivers and seas and the creatures living there.
6) Getting the balance right
We need to cut down on sugar, salt and fat, and many of us are concerned about additives in processed food.
7) Growing our own, and buying the rest from a wide range of outlets
Fresh out of the garden or allotment is unbeatable, and a vibrant mix of local markets, small shops and cafés, and other retailers provides choice, variety and good livelihoods.
We recognise that for some people with low incomes, adopting some of these principles may require increased expenses which they can’t afford. However, we believe that some principles like 1, 2 and 6 are cost-less or can even help save money. We will endeavour to demonstrate this in our future awareness-raising activities.
For full information you can download the Sustain Guide to Good Food which is packed with ideas and links for what you can do – and ask others to do – to help make our food and farming system fit for the future.