EAT-Lancet Commission shows diverse farming can feed the world a ‘planetary health diet’

Ground-breaking EAT-Lancet Commission shows diverse farming and can feed the world a ‘planetary health diet’

The EAT-Lancet Commission’s report on diverse farming has been published, with the document answering the question: “Can we feed a future population of 10billion people a healthy diet within planetary boundaries?”

The report advocates a doubling of the consumption of fruit and veg, while recommending that livestock is fed on leftovers unfit for human consumption.

The Commission brought together more than 30 world-leading scientists from across the world to reach a scientific model that defines a healthy and sustainable diet.

In a summary of the report – Food in The Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems – Prof. Walter Willett MD, from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said: “Transformation to healthy diets
by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. 

“A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.” 

Joanna Lewis, policy director at the Soil Association said: “The Soil Association welcomes the major contribution the EAT-Lancet Commission has made to shattering the myth that agro-ecological farming cannot feed the world. 

“This ground-breaking scientific report makes game-changing recommendations defining the direction of travel towards a sustainable food and farming system to achieve healthy diets for all by 2050. 

diverse farming hand with soil

“This important report must be reflected immediately in Government policy, including amending the draft Agriculture Bill to make public health and agro-ecological farming specific objectives, and ensuring adequate support is available for farmers to make the necessary transition.”

The Soil Association also called on Public Health England to use its current review of School Food Standards to start normalising the ‘planetary health diet’ in schools and promote diverse farming. 

The Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here scheme rewards ‘meat-free days’, which makes higher-welfare meat affordable – but the School Food Standards currently require meat or poultry to be served on three out of five days in the school week.

The Soil Association stressed that, contrary to some reports, the report is not ‘anti-meat’. It said the Commission states clearly that ‘livestock on leftovers’ – animals extensively reared on grass or food waste that is inedible to humans – has an important role to play in delivering a planetary health diet.

Dr Richard Horton, Editor in Chief at the Lancet, summarised the Commission’s central message regarding diverse farming: “Our connection with nature holds the answer, and if we can eat in a way that works for our planet as well as our bodies, the natural balance of the planet’s resources will be restored.”


To read the full report on diverse farming, see