Could Milan Protocol lead the world to food sustainability?

In honor of the UN's World Environment Day, citizens are working on the Milan Protocol at an expo. The Milan Protocol's purpose is to get politicians to address growing concerns with crop production, food waste, and sustainability.

Mahesh Kumar A./AP
Buffaloes eat rotten food and plastic as they stand amidst garbage on the eve of World Environment Day in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Citizens are working on the Milan Protocol to raise awareness of crop production, food waste, and sustainability issues.

Thursday, June 5, is the United NationsWorld Environment Day (WED)—an opportunity for the world to push for positive environmental action! 
This year, Food Tank is focusing on how eaters, farmers, businesses, and governments can all take action on the forthcoming Milan Protocol.

At the Milan Expo 2015, themed, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” civil society will come together and draft a single framework—the Milan Protocol—for encouraging political leaders to address the challenges of food, agriculture, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. The Protocol aims to connect citizens and policy makers around a triple objective—to promote healthy lifestyles and fight obesity; to promote sustainable agriculture; and to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2020.

The Protocol represents a commitment to work for long-lasting and environmentally sustainable change—from both the public and private sectors.

End Food Waste

One-third of all food that is produced is thrown away without ever reaching peoples stomachs. And it’s not just the food itself that is wasted, but also precious land and water resources. And food waste in landfills is one of the biggest contributors of gas emissions, according to the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

To reduce food waste—totaling 1.3 billion tons—by 50 percent by 2020, eaters and consumers can support the current campaigns that aim to increase awareness of the effects of food waste from seed to fork including; Love Food Hate WasteDC Central KitchenFeeding the 5000Food Recovery Network, and many more.

And eaters can reduce their own food-print by meal planning, storing food properly, using leftovers, buying ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables, and encouraging restaurants to reduce their food waste. Join the WED Challenge and Team Gisele to commit to reducing food waste and your personal food-print.

Create Sustainable Agriculture

Nearly one-third of all crop production is dedicated to feeding livestock or fueling cars, not feeding people. At the same time, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry each night. By 2020, 40 million hectares of land around the globe will be converted for biofuel crops.
But family farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America are already cultivating sustainable practices that will help protect the planet’s resources. Family farmers are more than food producers, they are stewards of biodiversity, climate change fighters, and entrepreneurs, boosting local economies. To help them do their multiple jobs better, we need to invest more in family farmers—small and large—around the world. Watch Food Tank’s video about the importance of family farmers here. And pledge your support to family farmers around the world by signing this petition and joining the conversation.

Zero Hunger and Healthy Lifestyles

While hunger continues to plague at least one in six people on the planet, 1.5 billion people struggle with being overweight or obese. For every malnourished person there are two overweight individuals.
The Protocol aims to fight against obesity with an emphasis on food education and promoting healthy lifestyles. Individuals can start promoting healthy, active lifestyles by finding out if there are any upcoming football games, races, cricket matches, or other sports events in their area. Last year, bike riders in Kenya and their families collected garbage and spread awareness of waste on WED. In the United States, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign encourages students to get active at school and home.
And individuals and communities can come together to educate youth on gardening, sharing food, and more healthful food choices. There are many tools, including how to get involved, create healthier schools, and empower parents and caregivers, to help cultivate a new generation of thinkers, eaters, and leaders.

Join Food Tank and raise your voice this World Environment Day—whether you are shopping smarter, using your leftovers, teaching children about healthy eating, or supporting family farmers—every action counts!

Please join us in offering support for the Milan Protocol and check in with your individual actions using #WED2014. We hope you’ll join us in promoting positive environmental action and becoming part of history!

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