2017 annual conference

In June 2017, the Israeli Form for Sustainable Nutrition held its annual conference at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. It was a day filled with exciting debates, overviews of nutrition trends in Israel and a special guest of honor, First Lady Nechama Rivlin, who gave a heartwarming address. Even the food served was meticulously picked to align with the Forum’s mission. Breakfast included fresh fruit and vegetables purchased directly from local farmers. Lunch was catered by Robin Food, a social enterprise which raises the banner of food waste and rescues produce from being tossed away turning it into delicious, healthful meals.
The theme of the conference was “Nutrition Now and for the Future.” A key note by Eran Binyamini, CEO of Life and Environment, and a welcome address from the Forum’s Chair, Dr. Alon Shepon kicked off the day and set the tone for an effervescent, thought-provoking event. The first panel focused on food policy in schools. It was moderated by Israeli TV host and sustainable nutrition activist, Ms. Miki Haimovich. Participants included the Ministry of Education, Yedid NGO and MK Nurit Koren. This panel was a rare occasion for a diversity of stakeholders to share information and ideas about how children in Israel are fed, the quality of food and what’s in the pipeline for improvement.
Another panel introduced ground-breaking research conducted by Israeli scientist in the field of nutrition. Moderated by Professor Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute, scientists shared with the audience results of their research, ranging from pesticide use in grapes to individual sensitivity to different types of bread (it turns out that for some of us it may be better to eat white bread over rye).
After lunch came a discussion between leading Israeli chefs and their efforts to incorporate sustainability in their kitchen. Chef Nana Shrier, a pioneer of vegan cuisine and owner of Nanuchka, the world’s first Georgian vegan restaurant, described the skepticism surrounding her decision to makeover Nanuchka. She recounted the enlightening discovery of new tastes, new spices and new ingredients in the metamorphose of Nanuchka’s kitchen.
The following panel highlighted the need to discuss the concept of national food security (contrary to individual food security) and advance a national master plan that addresses that. This is in light of future climate change and other geopolitical circumstances that might hinder food security through reducing access (e.g. increased prices) and availability.
Other panels included the consolidation of the food system by food corporations, followed but presentation of the new Israeli national food guidelines by Prof Ronit Endvelet and signed by Prof Yuval Noch-Harari who convey the importance of ethics and welfare in animal husbandry.