CHAPTER 11.docx - CHAPTER 11 THE FUTURE OF NUTRITION AND AGRICULTURE Eat fun have joy Drink delights and tasty shapes Sense good smell and smell sense

CHAPTER 11.docx - CHAPTER 11 THE FUTURE OF NUTRITION AND...

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CHAPTER 11 THE FUTURE OF NUTRITION AND AGRICULTURE Eat fun, have joy, Drink delights and tasty shapes, Sense good smell and smell sense in food, Swallow the shallow, dip the deep, and mouth the fresh! 11.1 Three challenges The previous chapters included a discussion of the three challenges that nutrition and agriculture are faced with, and that present us mortals with great ethical problems. We are talking of the union of technology and standards, dealing with the pluralism in food systems, and bridging the gap between consumers and producers. The first challenge is the selective embedment of technological processes within a normative context. Whether we are talking of the treatment of plants or animals, of physical health in the western world, or of starving farmers in underdeveloped countries, in all these situations we are challenged to adapt our societal standards and to shape the technological processes through interaction with normative learning processes. Directly in line with this we see the responsibilities of the food industry and nutrition experts shifting, in response to new practices in the food chain. Second, our world is increasingly confronted with the sociocultural aspects of nutrition and agriculture and the consequent pluralism, as evidenced in different agricultural and nutritional systems and styles. Contemporary agriculture consists of at least two global systems. On the one hand, there is a system of monocultural crop unification, where high-tech solutions are developed and tested, as for example in large parts of the US, Canada, Argentina, and China (Huang 2002). In 1996 there were few GMOs in the fields, but by 2002 GMO plantings worldwide exceeded 60 million hectares. The other farming system, which is enormously differentiated, multifunctional, and complex, embraces the cultural infrastructures of mostly small farmers. The two systems are clearly connected by the type of plants that are produced, and the diversity of the plantings creates different ways of life. In direct linkage with these agricultural systems, we see two food styles in the world: one where consumers eat in order to live, and one where they live in order to eat. Individual consumers, but also individual countries and blocks of nations are increasingly being forced to opt for one of these systems, whereas a combination of the two would offer the best potential for pluralism. The first system clearly falls short in meeting the demands of consumer sovereignty and of pluralism – in Europe it is under great pressure. The romantic-expressive view, which views pluralism as a great good, also involves the reassessment of the landscape and the related role of agriculture (multifunctional agriculture). 175 176 CHAPTER 11 Third, consumers have a new role, that of bridging the gap between production and consumption. While governments and the business community can do much in this regard, consumers must not remain passive. At all levels they must build
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relationships based on mutual trust, from high to low, from nearby to far away. Only
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