quinta-feira, 23 de maio

Healthy Food in Sustainable Territories

Theme #1: Healthy Food in Sustainable Territories

Partner countries:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • France
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
Graduate Programs involved:
  • Animal Science
  • Architecture and Urbanism
  • Biotechnology
  • Education
  • Family Farming Production Systems
  • Science and Food Technology
  • Social Memory and Cultural Heritage

Healthy Food in Sustainable Territories

The beginning of the 21st century was a turning point in the history of humanity. For the first time, the number of obese people exceeds the number of hungry people. Such phenomenon affects all developed and developing countries alike. There are a number causes for this situation. They refer to misconceptions related to inadequate food practices, sedentary lifestyle, unbalanced diets, and the crisis of a civilization pattern that has been imposed since the end of World War II.

In the world scenario, Brazil is seen as the great bread basket of humanity and a big player in the complex geopolitics that commands the trade of agricultural products. However, the country of agribusiness is also the place where 28% of the substances used in crops and farms are not authorized by health organs and where 70% of the food is contaminated (Abrasco, 2014).

Given that background, consumers’ concern increases, not only in relation to the quality and sanitation of food, but also in relation to the risks producers and rural workers are subject to and the detrimental effects that such model entails on natural resources and biodiversity. The urban anxiety for consuming products of known and quality and sources has promoted, worldwide, an extremely important movement within the consolidation of what is known as alternative food networks.

One of its fundamental aspects is the effort to reduce the material and symbolic borders between those who produce and those who consume. Sustainable territories produce healthy food, as well as values such as equity, solidarity, valuation of tangible and intangible assets, social inclusion, food security, reduction of inequalities between rural and urban environments and among social classes.

Multifunctionality is the key feature of rural spaces in contemporaneity. It implies that one must recognize the diversity of roles that go beyond stricto sensu agricultural production including providing ecosystem services (conservation of water resources and the natural and landscape patrimony), generation of alternative energies (wind, photovoltaic, biofuels) and proper wastewater management.

The great enigma that Brazilian universities face resides in engendering innovation systems that can conciliate the generation of healthy foods with  sustainable forms of production. The internalization effort will encourage cooperation and exchange networks able to bring answers to these challenges and dilemmas.

  1. Consolidate partnerships and broaden the dialogue with centers of excellence
    aligned with the idea of sustainability, production of healthy foods and plant breeding;
  2. Strengthen UFPel international performance in innovation systems through the use and generation of renewable energies, preservation of water resources, valorization of territorial assets and management of wastewater;
  3. Promote interdisciplinary research that combines development, biodiversity, territories and cultural practices in urban and rural environments;
  4. Establish strategic alliances with developed countries in the area of distinctive market signals, organic production, agroecology and alternative food marketing channels;
  5. Promote the attraction of foreign students and researchers and enhance a culture of international mobility and exchange.