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    Feeding The World Of 2050
    By Hank Campbell | June 22nd 2014 07:30 AM | 4 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

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    If the world will have 9 billion people or more by 2050, we'll probably be okay.

    The scare stories of food riots and mass famine once promoted by 1960s Doomsday Prophet Paul Ehrlich are today only promoted by, well, Paul Ehrlich. Even organic farmers say they can feed the world now.

    In the last 30 years, America has led the world in science and nowhere has that been more evident than in food. American farmers have successfully dematerialized in a world of materialism - they grow more food on less land using fewer pesticides than ever thought possible. And the future looks even brighter.

    Developing nations are having better lives ahead of projections but things aren't perfect. Some people still go hungry and wealthier countries are getting fat. So wasting less food won't end hunger until we have an energy system that normalizes food growth, or at least the cost of transportation, but it will sure make food waste less annoying until that happens.

    How much food? 1.3 billion tons each year - one-third of the food produced for human consumption around the world - is lost or wasted each year, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That's enough to feed 1.25 billion people.

    Everyone talks about food waste, mostly the food waste of other people, but not much attention is given to taking the issue out of the world of statistics and first world activism - a bunch of dummies on Twitter creating hashtags saying we need to end food waste - to actual change.  The FutureFood 2050 initiative wants to discuss ways that scientists, activists and entrepreneurs are tackling the epidemic of global food waste.

    Some are obvious. Europeans legislate the beauty of food so that leads to waste in landfills. Science 2.0 has ridiculed their ugly fruit mentality for years. Others are less well known, such as using fly larvae as a low-waste source of livestock feed.

    And then there is the somewhat crazy food labeling. I am happy to go to my grocery store and get 30% off a steak because the expiration date is approaching - but I know it's only because the dye they stick in there to make meat pretty is starting to wear off. Most people assume an expiration date is a hard date and the food will be bad.

    Mostly it will just involve a social evolution. It's only been in recent decades that science has given us a way to grow so much food that poor people can afford to be fat and waste food, so it will require a cultural adjustment to waste less. But it's worth a discussion now.

    Hate GMOs? You're dooming poor people to starvation because you were lucky enough to be born in a place where food grows easily, but anti-science groups like Union of Concerned Scientists and Greenpeace won't engage in rational speech about that so it's better just to try and contain their fear mongering while positive work can be done elsewhere. “Freeganism” - foraging on food discarded by supermarkets - sounds like dumpster diving or eating garbage, so that is bizarre enough to get people taking.  The tastiness of maggots has shock value.

    Through 2015, FutureFood 2050  will release 75 interviews with and food waste is the third installment of their interview series. Next year, they will also create a documentary film exploring about the science of food and how it will contribute to feeding the world. That is why they are getting attention on Science 2.0. The era of mopey anti-science activists protesting science and embracing a naturalistic fallacy is over.

    Credit: Institute of Food Technologists

    Comments

    The large amount of fresh food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers. There is no single cure, or silver bullet for food waste reduction therefore, we should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of fresh perishables close to their expiration on supermarket shelves, combined with the consumer “Last In First Out” shopping behavior, might be the weakest link of the fresh food supply chain.
    The new open GS1 DataBar standard enables applications that encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for fresh perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill.
    The “End Grocery Waste” App, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint.

    Rod Averbuch
    Chicago, IL

    Norm Benson
    Good stuff. The other half of the food waste is the loss of food from farms to market, especially in developing countries. "In poor countries most food is wasted on or near the farm. Rats, mice and locusts eat the crops in the field or in storage. Milk and vegetables spoil in transit. These might be considered losses rather than waste. Kanayo Nwanze, the head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, reckons that such losses could be reduced by half. That would be the equivalent of a rise in output of 15-25%, which would go a long way to providing the extra food needed by 2050." (source: http://www.economist.com/node/18200694)
    Norm Questioning green dogma since 1972.
    Hank
    Right, we aren't going to berate third world farmers who lack the money for the best storage and transportation the way we will fat people who throw a lot of food away, or Europeans who put the right to a cosmetically perfect banana into their constitution.
    Thor Russell
    The sea may have a lot to offer also, if this result holds then fertilization could have huge benefits. Very controversial to some people at the moment:
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/06/russ-george-blogged-about-fraser-river....

    Thor Russell