Our food systems — the way we produce, market, and consume food — are part of the political, social, economic, ecological, and cultural fabric of our communities. They have achieved something of a miracle, keeping pace with decades of population growth while decreasing some forms of malnutrition, reducing poverty and increasing life expectancy. But progress has been uneven around the world. And the recent evolution of food systems has fuelled – and continues to inflame – some of the greatest and gravest challenges facing humanity, notably persistent hunger, undernutrition, the obesity epidemic, loss of biodiversity, environmental damage and climate change. The economic value of this human suffering and planetary harm is well above 10 trillion USD1 a year, more than food systems contribute to global GDP. In short, our food systems are destroying more value than they create.
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