The expert Amanda Little tried to answer: "It is very likely that we will continue to find a way to produce the food we love most, but we will need very different solutions and cultivation methods"
The climate crisis makes its effects felt: droughts, record heat waves, unstable weather systems. So how will agriculture change, and how will it continue to feed 7.5 billion people? The journalist Amanda Little, professor of Vanderbilt University, who spent four years researching what companies and organizations around the world are doing to ensure sustainable food supplies, tried to respond in his latest book The Fate of Food: What We Will Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World. He tells us what we could bring to the table in 2050, when the world population will exceed 9 billion and our food needs will have increased by 50 percent. «It is very likely that we will continue to find a way to produce the foods we love most, "he explains. "But we will need very different solutions and cultivation methods."
The environmental impact of animal husbandry alone represents about one seventh of man-made greenhouse gas emissions: the main sources of protein could change in the future. So it may be that the one we eat will have the same delicious taste of the meat we have been eating for millennia, but it could be obtained not from a living animal, but from a vegetable protein or from meat grown in a bioreactor. It is very difficult for people to accept this reality, but some version of this meat is available as of now. It is flesh in all respects, the cells come from the animals, but have not grown on them. It is flesh without bones, organs and potential suffering. Meanwhile, insects are gaining a slice of the market, with obvious advantages: they provide more protein and micronutrients and then produce very little waste.
Tomatoes and vegetables
We will continue to eat them, but they could be grown in one vertical farm, without land, with the roots of plants immersed in a fog of nutrients, and light coming not from the sun, but from artificial lighting.
You can continue to grow in regions like western Kenya, where maize is a basic crop, but it may have to be genetically modified to tolerate more heat, more drought, seasonal changes and new invasive insects.
No one intends to give up the daily cup: according to Amanda Little, scientists, farmers and consumers are so busy looking for ways to continue producing the beloved coffee, which will find a way to do it. But coffee culture needs very specific conditions to be successful: you will need to study and experiment a lot.
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