From Farm to Fork- The Swedish Way

I have to visit Sweden. This urgent need of mine came to light after attending the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce’s (SACC for short) second green summit this November. They did such an excellent job of bringing to light the various issues in the global food system in a both a very serious and playful manner, that by the end of the event I was thinking when should I book my tickets! 🙂

Michael Wood, the former US Ambassador to Sweden was the MC for the event. Very funny and interesting person. He asked for one big idea from each participant. His one big contribution which really resonated with me was the idea of “Adhominum”. He believes (and I agree), there is too much of criticizing the person and too less of listening to what they are saying. We should do the opposite and listen to our opponents with empathy.

For example, what about coal miners? employees of McDonald?  His sage advice was to take climate change to the next level by talking with people and addressing these issues that are brought about by climate deniers. The issues are true and need to be addressed because a coal miner’s income is important to him or her.

Some of the other interesting ideas thrown around were

  • Cities develop between public spaces; make those public spaces community friendly. Example- The Highline, Park, NYC
  • More emphasis should be given to research vs. for search (new ideas versus 2.0 of an old idea)
  • Consider holistic capitalism as a sustainable approach to future cities. Great article from PWC on this.
  • Look deep into what business you are in. Audi, the car company, changed their business model from that of building cars to being in the transportation industry.
  • 5 zeros: A concept founded by Paul Hawken and Skanska; Zero Loss – Making Projects, Zero Environmental Incidents, Zero Accidents, Zero Ethical Breaches, Zero Defects
  • And of course, we had a very simple yet profound solution shared by the famous chef Marcus Samuelsson. According to him knowing how to cook can reduce food waste from 40% to 20% and sometimes make it even zero.
  • Solutions do exist and many companies are cashing in on innovative solutions to help improve farm to fork. One such is Tempix, a temperature indicator label stuck on cold food products that ensures food products are handled correctly throughout the cold chain.

Overall a very informative and inspiring day learning about the concept of how to grow, how to eat, and how to manage food sustainability..all the way from Farm to Fork!

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