Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Agriculture, Food & Beverage / Public health

European Healthcare Design 2023

Keynote: Sitopia: How food can save the world

By SALUS User Experience Team 06 Dec 2023 0

Living in the modern world, it can be hard to ‘see’ food. We all eat every day, yet few of us know where our food comes from.


Industrialisation has obscured the vital connections without which our lives would swiftly grind to a halt: the complex supply chains that transport our beans, sardines and carrots from land and sea to our supermarkets, cafes, kitchens and tables.

Whether or not we see it, however, food’s influence is everywhere: in our bodies, habits, homes, cities, landscapes, politics, economics and climate. We live in a world shaped by food: a place I call ‘sitopia’ (from Greek sitos, food + topos, place). Yet by failing to value food, we’ve created a bad sitopia – one that now threatens our very future on the planet.

Climate change, deforestation, soil erosion, water depletion, pollution, mass extinction, diet-related disease, and zoonotic pandemics are just some of the ‘externalities’ of the way we now eat. Our lives are built on the illusion of cheap food, when in reality, no such thing exists. Yet there is a remedy: by restoring food’s true value and harnessing its power for good, we can rebalance our relationship with nature and with one another.

Sitopia is not utopia; yet by valuing food and consciously shaping the world through it, we can come close to the utopian dream of building a healthy, fair and resilient society.