Date & Time: 2018-05-21 04:14:42
Today the process of feeding humanity is extremely inefficient. If we could radically reinvent what we eat, and how we create that food, what might you imagine that “future of food” would look like? Vertical Farming Where we grow our food… The average American meal travels over 1,500 miles from farm to table. Wine from France, beef from Texas, potatoes from Idaho, etc. As a result, nearly half the cost of today’s meals is the travel cost. Imagine instead, growing all of your food, in a 50-story tall vertical farm in down-town LA, or off-shore on the Great Lakes where the travel distance is no longer 1,500 miles, but 50 miles. Delocalized farming will minimize travel costs at the same time that it maximizes freshness. Perhaps more importantly, vertical farming also allows tomorrow’s farmer the ability to control the exact conditions 24x7 of her plants. Rather than allowing the vagaries of the weather and soil conditions to dictate crop quality and yield, we can now perfectly control the growing cycle. LED lighting provides the crops with the maximum amount of light, at the perfect frequency, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the same time, sensors and robots provide the root system the exact pH and micronutrients required, while fine-tuning the temperature of the farm. Such precision farming can generate yields that are 200% to 400% above normal. Next let’s explore how we can precision-engineer the genetic properties of the plant itself. The Alt-Protein/Lab-Grown Meat Revolution Fully 33% of the Earth’s non-ice landmass is used for raising livestock -- a massive amount of land -- and global demand for meat is predicted to double in the coming decade. Today, we must grow an entire cow -- all bones, skin and internals included -- to produce a steak. Imagine instead, if we could start with a single muscle stem cell and only grow the steak, without needing the rest of the cow? Think of it as cellular agriculture. Imagine returning millions, perhaps billions of acres of grazing land back to the wilderness? This is the promise of Lab Grown Meets. Lab-grown meat can also be engineered (using technology like CRISPR) to be packed with nutrients, and be the healthiest, most delicious protein possible. We’re watching this technology develop in real time. Several startups across the globe are already working to bring artificial meats to the food industry. JUST, Inc. (previously Hampton Creek) run by my friend Josh Tetrick, has been on a mission to build a food system where everyone can get and afford delicious, nutritious food. They started by exploring 300,000+ species of plants all around the world to see how they can make food better, and now are investing heavily in stem-cell grown meats. Backed by Richard Branson and Bill Gates, Memphis Meats is working on ways to produce real meat from animal cells, rather than whole animals. So far, they have produced beef, chicken and duck using cultured cells from living animals. As with vertical farming, transitioning production of our majority protein source to a carefully cultivated environment allows for agriculture to optimize inputs (water, soil, energy, land footprint), nutrients and, importantly, taste. Farmer 3.0 Vertical farming and cellular agriculture are reinventing how we think about our food supply chain and what food we produce. The next question to answer is who will be producing the food? An important driver of the Farmer 3.0 evolution is the delocalization of agriculture driven by vertical and urban farms. Vertical farms and urban agriculture are empowering a new breed of agriculture entrepreneurs.