The problems with food production range from food security, food waste and pollution. How much will new technologies help us reach sustainability?
There’s a robot that knows how to make lobster bisque, and in a decade or less, that technological wonder, being developed by Tech-No-Logic of Worcester, Massachusetts, and others may roll into our kitchens to cook our meals.
Lobster bisque will only be on that future menu, however, if there are lobsters left. For the globe is facing well-known and daunting challenges – an expanding population and degraded or diminished resources that must feed the 10 billion people expected to inhabit Earth by 2060. If Malthus were around he’d shake his head in knowing despair, for he knew what we are now constantly revisiting – population grows exponentially while food production grows incrementally.
Societally we’ve already racked up extensive damage from our current agricultural practices. We have a food waste crisis, with 133bn pounds of food thrown away annually; a food pollution crisis, with food packaging choking the oceans and landfills; and emissions from food growing. We have fresh water concerns, and degraded soils.
Yet simultaneously, we are seeing a golden period of innovation in food production. Not only are large companies...