Improving Food Literacy

Attendees of the Future of Food & Agriculture Workshop, which XPRIZE co-hosted with the WFP Innovation Accelerator in Munich, Germany on February 18-19, were critical of one of the challenges identified under “Consuming and Producing Healthier Food” in the Future of Food Impact Roadmap: improving food literacy.

Participants argued making such changes is difficult. Even if they are made, the impact may be low. Around the world, people are not very interested in learning about their food or where it comes from. Some pointed out that food is complex, similar to medicine or music, and not everyone can be expected to become a food expert.

Suggestions included:

  • Reframing the challenge to “Automating Food Literacy” to alleviate the pressure and responsibility off consumers.
  • Thinking beyond food literacy to include perceptions.

If you attended the workshop, please tell us more! If you didn’t, feel free to join the discussion to let us know what you think.

Indeed you could call it food literacy but I think more delicious name would be optimal!( I will tell you what I think would be a good name). feeling good and satisfied is the most powerful way to change the way people eat if they’re not eating right. I have been on the non-inflammatory keto diet for the last year-and-a-half and I didn’t know how to do it but I was sticking to lots of fresh leafy greens and healthy fats and healthy proteins such as grass fed meats, eggs, and so on. I did keep dark chocolate in my diet. Has improved enormously and the way I eat is probably very good for the planet and good for most of the population! Also, when we understand about intermittent fasting and eating only one or two meals a day, and know just how your body uses our food and nutrition and fats especially for the brain, the whole thing changes! People will be eating less food and be healthier with what they do eat! the current carb-heavy diets are all so hard on people and the Earth. Imagine going from 3 or more meals a day to one meal a day that would likely raise health standards and lower the amount of food needed. I would call it Food Intelligence Xprize about food or FIX about food!

Not all of us need to become food experts to take advantage of the expertise of others in the area.

Most of us drive cars but aren’t mechanics. Everyone here is using the internet but few are experts on how it works. We can turn on the lights, but probably cannot explain the generation and distribution of electricity.

The key is being able to access the expertise of others in the area.

Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food”.

When you feel constipated you could reach for a brand name laxative, or you could eat a few prunes or a few ounces of prune juice or other readily available food to correct the problem.

Some imbalances in the body could benefit from an array of nutritional factors, and an online database of foods containing them would provide the expertise for us to lean on.

Also, rather than reacting to imbalances we could focus attention on optimal performance (thanks Janetlee).

I recall reading an account of a woman who experimented with recreational drugs in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and then turned to eating healthy (primarily raw fruits and vegetables). She wrote of how her sex life improved dramatically, how alert she became, how well she slept, and how there was no roller-coaster ride of highs and lows, just optimal body conditions and enjoyment of life.

An online database with user feedback might help. With it you could zero in on a problem and go from there. You could end up on an upward spiral of good health.

Say you have stinky feet and it turns out improving your gut biome helps, and to help your gut biome you increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables and your overall health improves, not just your foot odor.

You could go to a nutritionist for their experise, or consult books, and various online sources. The question is how easy and how well trusted could this become?

Another question then arises: Are all these foods (medicines) created equal? Which one’s were grown in depleted soil? Is anyone performing a nutritional analysis on the food? Are brand name bagged salads better or worse than other options?

And then there’s shelf life. Or time of harvest.

There’s an abundance of opportunities here to better serve individuals and thereby to better serve humanity.