Food and technology

We’ve made a lot of progress in meeting the world’s food needs.

We’ve done this by using more technology to increase the yield of our lands.

While the benefits have not been as evenly spread as we’d have liked, things are getting better.

But, we’ve done a poor job in some areas – especially in our treatment of animals.

I think we’re going to see tremendous progress in food in the coming decades. We’re going to see more Soylent inspired alternatives to unhealthy food. Drones and artificial intelligence are going to help us further improve land yield. But, I’m most excited about two other innovations.

The first is large scale vertical farming that start ups like Plenty and InFarm are working hard on. Vertical farming can greatly improve yield, can be done indoors and uses sensors to optimize the growth of plants.

And, the second is lab grown meats from the likes of Memphis Meats. Once we figure out how to produce this on a large scale, it won’t just be a more humane method of meat production. It will also be significantly better for the environment. Studies show that clean meat could potentially be produced with 96 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, 45 percent less energy, 99 percent less land use and 96 percent less water use than meat made through animal agriculture.

In a remarkably prescient note, Winston Churchill had predicted this 80+ years ago.

It has taken us a while. But, I’m optimistic we’ll get there soon.

(A longer, more detailed version of this note is on Medium or LinkedIn as part of “The Notes by Ada” project)