Aspen Global Change Institute
Increased intake of fruits and vegetables (F&V) is recommended for most populations across the globe. However, the current state of global and regional food systems is such that F&V availability, the production required to sustain them, and consumer food choices are all severely deficient to meet this need. Given the critical state of public health and nutrition worldwide, as well as the fragility of the ecological systems and resources on which they rely, there is a great need for research, investment, and innovation in F&V systems to nourish our global population. Here, we review the challenges that must be addressed in order to expand production and consumption of F&V sustainably and on a global scale. At the conclusion of the workshop, the gathered participants drafted the “Aspen/Keystone Declaration” (see below), which announces the formation of a new “Community of Practice,” whose area of work is described in this position paper. The need for this work is based on a series of premises discussed in detail at the workshop and summarized herein. To surmount these challenges, opportunities are presented for growth and innovation in F&V food systems. The paper is organized into five sections based on primary points of intervention in global F&V systems: (1) research and development, (2) information needs to better inform policy & investment, (3) production (farmers, farming practices, and supply), (4) consumption (availability, access, and demand), and (5) sustainable & equitable F&V food systems and supply chains.