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Modeling Sustainable Food Systems

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon that occurs when the working honeybees massively die, leaving a queen and immature bees to care for the process inside the hive. The researchers single out several main factors affecting the phenomenon. The first factor concerns neonicotinoid insecticides and other chemical use, which appear to be safe for humans but significantly harmful to bees. This kind of pesticides was primarily used to eliminate parasites and Varroa mites in bee hives but instead it started demolishing bees too. The second reason for CCD is the bee management which presupposes constant relocation, which causes stress to bees. Moreover, another facet affecting this deviation relates to poor nutrition or abnormal forage.

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The United States and the EU considered this issue acute and took measures to prevent the death of bees. The EU issued a report in 2018 concerning the neonicotinoid usage and its harm for the bees and banned it. However, the chemical manufacturers resorted to the court, stating that the Precautionary Principle is not followed due to the lack of evidence. Therefore, the implementation of this guideline is different in various countries. As a result, the EU stopped the proliferation of this chemical, whereas the United States let the beekeepers decide if they want to use this chemical or not. The biodynamic beekeeper explained that a conventional way of preventing the bees presupposes creating a new queen bee and transplanting it to another beehive. The biodynamic approach is based on promoting the integrity of the colony and keeping bees’ lifestyle healthy.

The foundation of healthy food is healthy soil. Soil should be carefully maintained, and it demands a lot of farming activities to produce quality products. As a result, soil requires nutrients – minerals or organic matter. Organic matter is the product of the on-site plant or animal decomposition, which affects the chemical or physical condition of the soil and overall impacts its productivity. All the junk that people throw on the ground – vegetables, eggshells, or some seeds – rot and fertilize the soil. Moreover, people use humus as an organic matter due to its effectiveness. Thus, organic fertilizers are efficient and necessary for establishing reciprocal relations between the plant and the soil and eventually for producing a healthy crop.

The importance of organic matter is also conditioned by the nutrient cycle in nature. For instance, when a tree leaf falls on the ground, it is either decomposed by the microorganisms in the field such as fungi or bacteria or eaten by the macro ones such as earthworms (Allen & Prosperi, 2016). Further, those macro-organisms become other creatures’ food, and when the animal is dead, it also gets decomposed. When the food chain is over, that is, when the final chain element is gone, it becomes a fertilizer; thus, enriching the soil with useful bacteria and minerals. Such a process significantly increases crop yields as it presupposes the natural nutrient cycle. Moreover, the use of the organic matter is far better than the usage of the chemical as the components of the former are potentially destroying crop yields.

More than 50% of the food produced go to direct consumption, around 15% goes to biofuel, and the rest goes to animal feeding. As a result, the food system works insufficiently, and resources can be redistributed to feed a larger number of people. The approved definition of a dietary shift has not been established yet due to its pioneering nature. However, some scientists assert that Dietary Shifts Potential is nutrient transition and consumption replacement in favour of other products due to the economic, demographic, or other changes. This dietary shift is primarily directed toward production and consumption focused solutions. It means that the crop yields should be increased as well as the food waste must be reduced.

Today people are concerned with what they consume and consume food sensibly. Therefore, many people become vegans or choose a plant-based diet. However, vegans manage to substitute animal protein with plant-based protein such as soy or wheat. This diet is quite efficient as the more plants manufacturers produce, the more people they can feed. Moreover, meat and poultry consumption significantly drops, and such a diet is ecologically better.

Meanwhile, others prefer substituting beef with poultry for several reasons. Firstly, many people believe that poultry protein is better for health (Blay-Palmer, 2016). Secondly, their nutritional structure is similar, and people do not want to overpay. As a result, less farming land are needed to grow cows, as chickens do not require much space, and they are easier to feed in comparison with cows.

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  1. Allen, T., & Prosperi, P. (2016) Modeling sustainable food systems. Environmental Management, 57, 956–975.
  2. Blay-Palmer, A. (2016). Imagining sustainable food systems: Theory and practice. Routledge.

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