Agriculture Farm to Table Grocery Health Healthy Eating Professional

What Does “Sustainability” Mean?

For better progress and understanding, let’s add a little clarity to this conversation.

Updated 11/2020

What in the world (literally) are we talking about when we say something is or should be sustainable? That is an excellent question, with many appropriate and important answers.

“I want my business to be sustainable

“I want my food to be sustainable”

“I want my weight loss to be sustainable”

Many of today’s food, health, agriculture, and business conversations are heavily laden with references to being sustainable.  This is actually not new, it just seems a bit more concentrated and prevalent because social media has the ability to give conversations – and words – a bigger presence. It may also be because we are more aware of our choices and their impact personally and for the planet.

Here is a snapshot of what it can mean to sustainable:

Sustainable business – one that will be around in years to come, not obsolete and closing AND one that uses natural resources wisely and respectfully, manages energy and food waste, and exemplifies excellent working conditions for the labor force (employees) at all levels.

Sustainable weight loss – weight loss that can be maintained over time.

Sustainable food – food grown and raised in a way that honors, maximizes and respects natural resources, plants, animals, land, air, water, and communities AND includes food waste management, access to and affordability of nutrient-rich foods that provide what we need to thrive.

This is just the start of some incredibly impactful conversations that can lead to positive actions and outcomes for all involved.

Healthy people need healthy businesses to provide what they need to stay healthy.

Healthy businesses need healthy people to work and enjoy whatever they have to offer.

All of this is done on a healthy planet.

This, my friends, is what “sustainability” is all about – the Win-Win-Win.

What is your definition of sustainability? Does it change depending on the conversation? That’s cool. Just be clear about what you mean to bring clarity to the conversation.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.