The other week the whole team was invited to an event for Fast Forward 2030 (FF2030). These events were created to discuss the relevancy of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which were set by the UN in 2015. The event that evening discussed the impact of the SDGs on agriculture, farming and food. As Elysia we were catering the event, but this also gave us the perfect opportunity to sit and listen to the talks too!
The SDG’s were adopted in 2015 and commit to the sustainable future and the future development of the planet. They consist of 17 different pledges, but this post will concentrate on goal 2: zero hunger. In the case of Zero Hunger the goals have a holistic view of the problem, not only do the SDG’s want to eradicate and combat malnutrition but they also want to increase food security in at risk countries and create a better, more resilient form of agriculture. What food security means to us that the routes the food travels to get to the population are safe and secure, but also the price of food doesn’t fluctuate too much and creates a sustainable way of fuelling our life.
How each country reacts to these pledges is individual, but in the UK the thoughts about combating and instituting solutions behind the SDG’s have been spearheaded by FF2030. It was set up just after the SDG’s were implemented and created by UCL’s Institute of Global Prosperity, as well as members of the sustainable business community. The purpose of the group is to provide a network that encourages thoughts, solutions and technological innovations to help create change for each pledge of the SDG’s. FF2030 believes that to provide the solutions to each of the SDG’s is to utilise smaller businesses as they will become the next generation of leaders that will create the change in the world that FF2030 wants to see.
But back to the evening, it was split into three talks that were hoping to provide solutions to SDG 2: Zero Hunger. Firstly, there was Richard Ballard co-founder at Growing Underground, a farm based in a disused set of air raid tunnels in south London where they grow fresh micro greens and salad leaves. Secondly, there was Iseult Ward, co-creator of FoodCloud, an app that matches surplus from supermarkets to charities in need of food donations in Ireland and the UK. And thirdly, Carolyn Steele an academic and architect who wrote Hungry City, Caroline described how she sees cities through food.
Each talk was enlightening and showcased how and what food meant to the speakers, from how infrastructure plays a part in food provisioning (food security) to hyper-local and short food chains. Growing Underground and FoodCloud tackled the questions of hydroponics and surplus food.
Hydroponics is a system of farming that can use up to 70% less water than more traditional farming methods, and in the case of Growing Underground, the local hydroponic farm creates a closed loop that prevents any environmental degradation that could be part of agricultural run-off (no chemical use, no crop importation, reduce food miles for consumers...). The ability to grow food using hydroponics within a city is hugely powerful and addresses the food security aspect of zero hunger.
Surplus is the flip side of malnutrition and having the capability to redistribute the surplus food found in all aspects of the food chain means that the zero hunger pledge can be fulfilled.
Each of the speakers also provided a case study of how FF2030 envisioned the future – by being entrepreneur, each speaker provided thought, forward thinking, and leadership to offer their part of the solution to the whole problem. We look forward to the next event and keeping working to the overall sustainable development goals!