Entrepreneurs and investors are looking for ways to grow enough food in a world of climate change and diminishing resources.
Some propose making “food out of air,” according to “Food without Fields?” The article, published in the autumn 2019 issue of Earth Island Journal, presumes the best way to protect ecosystems is to take farming out of them — and put food production in the lab. That’s a big presumption, and its implication is that there’s no cost-effective and ecologically sound way to keep the farm in the field. But evidence is showing that agriculture—when aligned with ecological principles—is key to solving our environmental crises, not exacerbating them, the article continues.
The idea that this decoupling of food from the field will necessarily deliver eco-benefits ignores growing concerns about some of these new food technologies and discounts the proven benefits of sustainable practices.
Anna Lappé, the author of the article, says inventors have coined the slogan “Food without Fields” as their motto for creating food ingredients that aren’t directly from agricultural farming or an animal biproduct.
The success of the idea depends on when it hits the market, how cost-efficient it will be, and the selection of outlets and wholesale providers.
Shortage on food ingredients is something that has already impacted many parts of the world and can begin to harm even more if not to be addressed soon. Though agriculture is a huge part of providing produce and meat, it also is not meeting the demand for the majority of the population, and also is harming our planet with the deforestation of land for grazing cows and emissions from slaughterhouses. Agriculture, including the raising of livestock, is a world-wide livelihood, however, and it’s unclear to say how this could affect the percentage of farmers who contribute to this. Lappé suggests that we invest in non-industrialized farming.
Source: Anna Lappé, “Food without Fields?” Earth Island Journal, Autumn 2019, http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/food-without-fields.
Student Researcher: Nadia Jellouli (College of Western Idaho)
Faculty Evaluator: Anna Gamboa (College of Western Idaho)