With the European elections just behind us, the echoing waves of the #FridaysforFuture movement, and general concerns for the future of our planet are still being heard. The worry about sustainable alternatives to our lifestyle is all-encompassing, and includes all generations. With this in mind, the Eat Festival organized by BIOTOPIA—the future biological sciences museum that will substitute the Museum Mensch und Natur in Munich—was the perfect entertainment after voting duty. I heard the topic of the festival (“Wie schmeckt die Zukunft?” or “What does the future taste like?” in English), and decided to volunteer for the event.
A comprehensive study has found that huge changes in the agricultural and food industry are required to maintain the stability of the climate.
Digital disruption is reshaping every aspect of modern life. Grocery shopping is no exception. The grocery store of the future will be all about robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving technologies. And grocers and retailers will be able to leverage the power of these innovations to provide a more satisfying experience for the end-consumers. Unexpectedly, the driving force behind this innovation will be the real-world constraints in the densely populated urban areas of emerging markets.
Agriculture has always played a pivotal role in shaping the economy of countries. Since it fulfills the basic necessities of the people, all nations across the globe make special provision to improve the productivity. Even the ancient civilization has given it due importance. The agriculture sector not only provides food but also a means of employment to millions. It contributes to resolving sociopolitical issues and building a civilized society. Countries where the real capital income is less, more emphasis is given on developing the agricultural sector and its related industries since it can become the driving force to boost the economy. Whether under developing or developed, agriculture is still the basic occupation of the world.
In 2015, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren ate the first food grown and harvested from the International Space Station. This was not made from human waste, but, although the idea may make you squeamish, this could be a reality in the future.
Right, it occurred to me that I never answered my own question in the previous blog post. Why are certain species of plant, or animal, an accepted part of the food system (i.e. yellow corn or cows), whilst some are valorised because they are popular or rare (i.e. vanilla or civet coffee), and some are completely ignored altogether? I’m going to answer this question with three points that I find helpful to think about the food system; human conditioning, human consumption, and terroir.
This week was a little quiet on the food knowledge gathering front, so, unfortunately, this post won’t be as bright and shiny as others. However, I would like to talk about permaculture and agriculture. To set the stage somewhat, one of my friends has started to grow things in his garden—from chilies to squash—and he has the aim to grow everything he needs next season. I applaud this; self-sufficiency and off-the-grid living is one of the things I am most interested in. So, he was interested in a film night which is part and parcel of the London Permaculture Group, and asked me if I would like to come along. We wound up in Café Cairo in Brixton on a frozen (ever so slightly wet) Thursday evening, the film was to be screened in the tent area, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t take my coat off for most of it! Due to an AV error, the group never quite got around to seeing the film (which is called Tomorrow) but we saw a few clips and I picked up enough information to investigate the subject further by myself.
So, I’ve been reflecting, and in my last post, I seemed quite unenthusiastic about tech and food. Whilst some of the ideas I heard at LFTW were quite dystopian in bent I felt (but that could be because of my love of Sci-Fi literature, film, and TV), there were others that could help fix the issues in the food chain that we have these include: food wastage, climate change, monocropping (that’s where you have one plant, i.e. wheat, grown in acres of land with no bio-diversity), soil and water depletion. The idea that I want to tackle in this post is one that can be used in avoiding food wastage: blockchain technology.
OK, so last week was a bit hectic for me. I was given the opportunity to go to London Food Tech Week, which has been on my radar for several years. As I am both a bit of a culinary Luddite and an anthropologist, the tech and future side of food is a bit new to me. However, this (I am not allowed to say “conference”) week was a revelation, insightful, and a bit of a blast.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens captured the nation's imagination when it came out and re-ignited the fires of fandom all over the world. Fans naturally latched on to every little detail with some fan favorites being complete surprises like the rise of riot baton badass TR-8R. Apparently, people were also pretty keen on the bread the Rey was eating because Star Wars has decided to release the official recipe for Portion Bread so you can make it at the comfort of your own home and it's not actually that hard to pull off.
In the 1980s, pig farmers started seeing their herds come down with a viral infection causing severe breathing problems, a disorder that became known as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS. The disease is particularly rough on young pigs, and in sows it can cause early pregnancy terminations or stillbirths of entire litters. PRRS today results in annual losses among pork producers in the U.S. of $650 million and €1.5 billion in Europe.