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Sustainable Food Systems

To be sustainable, our food systems need to consider the economic, health, and environmental impacts of how our food is grown, distributed, and consumed.

A sustainable food system:

  • promotes resilient ecosystems
  • ensures fair treatment
  • promotes access to healthy, locally-grown food
  • supports our health
  • minimizes waste
  • eliminates unnecessary processing

‘Serving healthy and sustainably grown food is as essential to
the health of our community as the medical care we provide.’
—Dr. Siobhan McNally, MD (Berkshire Medical Center)

The current system gives preferential treatment and subsidies for unsustainable food that undermines ecosystems & our health. Pesticides contaminate the food and poison our air, water, and soil.

The Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen+’ and ‘Clean Fifteen‘ lists are based on national figures for pesticide use on selected crops. See the EWG website for more information.The EWG website also provides ratings on cosmetics, GMO foods, widely-used toxic chemicals, sunscreens, farm subsidies, and more.

Important: The EWG lists do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.

Food Facts – fact sheets about a selection of popular foods, looking at where each food originates, growing conditions, harvest season, nutrients, pesticide exposure, and preparation.

Check out these other resources from the Alliance:

You also can search for all food-related posts.


[updated 7 July 2016]