eet Eva Koffeman, 22, the first United Nations Youth Representative on Biodiversity & Food. She wants to see the full environmental cost of food production reflected at the till – and says governments should deliver this.
What are the food challenges you and your peers are facing?
Many of us would like to consume food that is good for both ourselves and the planet. But the cost of food is an obstacle. It is cheaper and easier to buy fast food than to get local, organic vegetables. Considering the fact that we live on a student budget, it can be difficult for us to keep up a sustainable diet.
How can the Food Systems Summit help with those challenges?
By creating global momentum and realisation that if we don’t change the way we eat, we will not be able to feed 10 billion people by 2050.
The Summit should act as a wake-up call. Governments need to play a lead role by implementing true pricing – social and environmental costs should be taken into account in pricing strategies. In that way, consumers will be positively guided in their daily food choices.
How have you told the Food Systems Summit what changes you would like to see?
I am one of the Dutch UN youth representatives on Biodiversity & Food. Together with my colleague, we gather views and opinions of all young people in the Netherlands.
We will give speeches and participate in Food Systems Summit meetings to make sure the voice of our generation is heard.
What changes would you like to see regarding food in 2022, or 2030?
Meat production and consumption can harm the environment, global health, food security and animal welfare.
According to the University of Minnesota, our cropland could feed 4 billion more people if we shift crops grown for animal feed and biofuel to food for direct human consumption.
Meat alternatives are more readily available in high-income countries, allowing us to bring down our overconsumption of red meat.
Choices should be informed by the most relevant and rigorous science available. Nothing will be prescriptive and mandatory, but we will all have to work together if we want to safeguard the future.
What ambitions do you have for yourself
I currently study consumer marketing and I want to bring about positive behavioural change. I would love to help consumers make sustainable decisions without feeling like they have to sacrifice anything.
In that vein, I’m also writing a vegan cookbook with my mother. We want to show people that a plant-based diet does not have to be a struggle. It’s a pleasure!
What is your favourite food?
It’s not a culinary highlight so I admit that it might be my nostalgia, but the Dutch national dish stamppot can be really comforting. It’s a hearty dish made of potatoes mashed with vegetables – traditionally kale, and (vegan) smoked sausage. A real classic and very low-budget so it’s great for us students too!
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