Today's food production and consumption affect the environment, the climate and people’s health.
There is a need to change the way food is produced and consumed in order to support the world’s growing population without risking catastrophic climate and environmental consequences.
The food sector is responsible for a third of all global greenhouse gas emissions. As much as 23 % come from farming. These emissions are, for example, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide that are released from arable land and soils, methane gas from beef cattle as well as carbon dioxide from farm machinery and transport. It is crucial that global warming doesn’t exceed 1.5 degrees. To reach that target the emissions have to be halved by 2030. The agricultural sector simply has to store more carbon than it releases.
Agricultural land accounts for 40 % of the earth’s landmass and affects the environment in multiple ways. Leakage into the sea and watercourses of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus contribute to eutrophication. Soil, the basis of all our food production, is degraded, polluted and eroded in many places around the world, leading to a long-term decline of production capacity, with a lower yield from soils of lower quality. Farming not only uses 70 % of the fresh water globally, it is also the single biggest cause of loss of biodiversity.
Since the world’s population is increasing, more food must be produced with better nutritional content in a sustainable manner. We eat an increasingly one-sided diet, where only four ingredients – wheat, corn, rice and soy – are making up two thirds of the global food supply. These crops are cultivated in enormous monocultures. In large parts of the world, including Sweden, the protein source is primarily animal protein. The hunt for cheap meat fuels the usage of antibiotics in food producing animals, which is one of the reasons for antibiotic resistance.
Torsåker gård – a development center for sustainable food
About the Program
The program Future Food uses three focus areas to address the problem; the protein shift, efficient use of resources and sustainable farming and aquaculture methods. Axfoundation undertakes projects to find solutions for the problems within the food sector together with academia and actors within the whole food-chain. Central to the program is Axfoundation’s operation at Torsåker farm.
Primary producers, researchers, food processers, chefs and entrepreneurs come together in our projects at Torsåker farm to jointly find the solutions to complex problems. The farm is situated 30 kilometers north of Stockholm and is Axfoundation’s test farm and development center for the future’s sustainable food production.
”We want Torsåker to be a catalyst that contributes to the development of the sustainable future Swedish production, innovation, knowledge sharing, product development and consumption of food.”
Torsåker consists of arable land, forest, meadows and a new restaurant kitchen, which gives us the ability to grow, raise, breed and develop new methods, new food products and new meals together with others. The merging of different skills is one of the many things necessary to make tomorrow’s products both better and tastier.
We want Torsåker to be the place where sustainability, nutritional content and taste overlap and amplify each other. Our projects should be at the intersection between research and practice, and do different tests that farmers or the market or everything in between are unable to test for themselves. The needs are extensive, and we are an island in a big ocean. But through openness and above all transparency and collaboration, we are hoping that Torsåker will make a difference.
In Axfoundation’s Progress Report 2020 Act to inspire & inspire to act, we share an extract of successful results from the program – but also examples of times when things didn’t go quite as planned. Because to innovate sustainable solutions and achieve transformative change, we need to have courage to fail.