The banana is a staple of U.S. households and the world’s most exported fruit. Yet, it is difficult to produce and ship bananas while simultaneously protecting the environment from degradation and promoting fair economic practices to benefit all stakeholders. Thus, the banana exemplifies the complex, multidimensional challenges to achieving sustainable diets, stated Sylvia Rowe, SR Strategy, LLC, Washington, DC, and chair of the Food Forum of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in her opening remarks at the Food Forum’s workshop on Sustainable Diets, Food, and Nutrition held in Washington, DC, on August 1 and 2, 2018. Moving forward, Rowe asserted, if the banana is to retain its favored fruit status, its agricultural practices will need to be transformed and equity promoted throughout its supply chain.
These and related challenges and the opportunities for addressing them were the subject of the workshop (the Statement of Task for the workshop is highlighted in Box 1-1).1 According to Rowe, one of the strengths of the Food Forum is its ability to find concordance and synergy by bringing people from different disciplines and sectors together. She expressed the hope that the presentations, discussions, and even disagreements throughout the workshop would foster both ideas and multisector action.
1 The planning committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop, and this Proceedings of a Workshop was prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. Statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants, and are not necessarily endorsed or verified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, nor should they be construed as reflecting any group consensus.
The organization of this Proceedings of a Workshop parallels that of the workshop (see Appendix A for the workshop agenda). Chapter 2 explores the complexities and necessary compromises of sustainable diets (Session 1). Chapter 3 examines the challenges of and opportunities for measuring diet and modeling the human and environmental impacts of dietary and agricultural changes (Session 2). Chapter 4 describes what modeling and other studies suggest about program and policy actions that can support sustainable diets (Session 3). Building on the foundation laid in the earlier chapters, Chapter 5 further explores and adds new perspective on food system innovations designed to address sustainability (Session 4). Finally, Chapter 6 summarizes several participants’ reflections on the workshop and their main takeaways (Session 5). All of the chapters conclude with summaries of the open discussions that took place at the end of each session.