We take an in-depth look at food this month, looking at the prospects of big data sowing a new green revolution and the global battle against food waste
This month in Ethical Corporation magazine we emerging solutions to address growing challenges in the global food system. By 2050 there will be almost two-and-a-half billion more mouths to feed on planet Earth, and we will need to produce almost twice as much food as today.
Yet we cannot feed the numbers we have now with current agricultural practices, nor with the amount of food wasted and lost on the journey from farm to fork. And the impact of climate change, which has already caused Saudi Arabia to buy land in water-stressed California and Arizona to grow hay to ship back home, will only worsen.
Angeli Mehta looks at how big data is revolutionising agriculture as Silicon Valley comes to the farm gate, with agri-tech start-ups offering technologies to allow food to be grown more efficiently and sustainably for companies such as Kellogg and Campbell’s Soup.
She also looks at the firms, like AeroFarms and Plantagon, that are growing food in urban farms, using significantly less land and water, as well as innovations in alternative proteins for animals. She also looks at the firms that are bringing a sea change to the way we produce fish.
Eric Marx reports from Berlin on the apps that are helping smallholders in developing countries achieve optimal harvests, and asks whether agri-tech can sow a green revolution for India’s poorest farmers.
We also look at another important solution to food security: the global effort to tackle food loss and waste through the multi-stakeholder Champions 12.3 platform. Editor Terry Slavin interviews Liz Goodwin, former CEO of the UK waste reduction charity WRAP, who now heads up the World Resources Institute’s food loss and waste effort, while Diana Rojas reports from Washington on some of the companies, led by UK retailer Tesco, that are doing the most to tackle food waste throughout their supply chains. And we look at a new report from food charity Feedback arguing that the prime culprit for UK food waste is over-production by farmers to meet impossible cosmetic demands by supermarkets.
As always, plenty of food for thought.