© Global Landscape Forum

Due to our seemingly ever-expanding needs, sometimes we forget the fact that food is one of the most basic human necessities. In such difficult times, we can see that people’s actions are decided upon how they can fulfill the basics, especially food and water. For the past months, we see country leaders face multifaceted problems and attempt to make the best decision limiting COVID-19 spread while ensuring food access for all.

Global Landscape Forum (GLF) has been providing platforms for people to connect and talk about sustainable land use to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. This year, GLF uses the theme ‘food in the time of crisis’ to discuss the many parts of our food system that should be capable of feeding the growing population. This aspect not only concerns the number – almost ten billion people will inhabit Earth in 2050 – but also the distribution of these people in rural and urban regions. 

Even today, our food system has raised diverse issues. The agricultural revolution had shed light on how we can meet people’s food demand, yet the way we produce our food has become such a pressure for Earth. It is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, the main driver of deforestation, and the greatest threat to biodiversity. That is only the issue with the production part of what we eat. In fact, the whole process from field to plate of our food needs to be transformed. The circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic expose this vulnerable system and urge us to take action now. With the combination of pandemic and climate change, we have to move forward in a world of unknowns. 

For the first time, the GLF annual conference was fully conducted virtually. Thanks to technology, despite the physical distance, the event has successfully accommodated nearly 5,000 people from 185 countries over 3 days. The seminar and networking sessions provided new insights and platforms to reflect on the discussed topics with farmers, policymakers, scientists, activists, chefs, and more people who have and are working together for the betterment of our food systems. 

Addressing ‘Food in the Time of Crises’ at the Largest Digital Conference of 2020 – Tay Juhana Foundation
Young chefs Max La Manna and Louise Mabulo (top left) speak from the UK and the Philippines respectively in the event. Courtesy of the GLF. © Global Landscape Forum

Various experts from various backgrounds work on different challenges from landscape approach, data management, agriculture capitals, farmer empowerment, to healthy dietary. As the COVID-19 situation slows down our life, it is a perfect moment to explore how to ‘build back better’, to plan the future with long-term planetary health and human well-being at the fore. 

As part of Tay Juhana Foundation’s reflection after participating in this event, we write a blog series highlighting three different topics that are focal to bring about the improvement in our food system.