Top | Weasel Food
(post, Jake Benner)
I'm probably a little late on this, since it was published October 2008, but did anyone else catch it (I couldn't find it in a search of Culinate's archives)? Some amazingly talented graphic artist produced some unique visualizations of food statistics in Wired Magazine. I love the data, but I'm not sure what they're advocating. Since this is a tech magazine, they obviously favor scientific solutions, some of which I wholeheartedly agree with (e.g., sound soil and water conservation strategies with real-time data from remote sensing), and others I'm not too sure about, such as global food supply chain management. They begin with a chart showing world food demand v. production, indicating a widening gap in the present day. Apparently, global populations are demanding more food, but crop yields have flatlined. Wired says science and technology will solve the problem of how to get more crops out of existing cropland. I didn't read anything about shrinking amounts of cropland in production of human food, or the fact that fewer people are farming. Not to defile engineers (certainly the bent of those writing/editing the article) but they tend to seek solutions without addressing the roots of the problem. I realize the roots and the branches probably need simultaneous care, but let's focus on a few, more sustainable solutions: # Addressing global population growth (which seems to have taken a back seat of late to other pressing issues, like global climate change) # Local food supplies (shift from global to local sources, unless your place of origin has become desertified or is underwater due to GCC...) # Growing food people can eat # Encouraging young people to become farmers Of course, it's hard not to get depressed when corporations are patenting hybrids that will out-produce conventional varieties yet not have fertile seeds. Read about the case against heirloom tomatoes!