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These 4 Tech Trends Are Driving Us Toward Food Abundance
Singularity Hub ^ | May 18, 2018 | Peter H. Diamandis, MD

Posted on 05/25/2018 2:33:39 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

From a first-principles perspective, the task of feeding eight billion people boils down to converting energy from the sun into chemical energy in our bodies.

Traditionally, solar energy is converted by photosynthesis into carbohydrates in plants (i.e., biomass), which are either eaten by the vegans amongst us, or fed to animals, for those with a carnivorous preference.

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?

In this post we’ll cover: 1.Vertical farms 2.CRISPR engineered foods 3.The alt-protein revolution 4.Farmer 3.0

Let’s dive in.

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.

Imagine instead growing all of your food in a 50-story tall vertical farm in downtown 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 of her plants year round.

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.

CRISPR and Genetically Engineered Foods

What food do we grow?

A fundamental shift is occurring in our relationship with agriculture. We are going from evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) to evolution by human direction.

CRISPR (the cutting edge gene editing tool) is providing a pathway for plant breeding that is more predictable, faster and less expensive than traditional breeding methods.

Rather than our crops being subject to nature’s random, environmental whim, CRISPR unlocks our capability to modify our crops to match the available environment.

Further, using CRISPR we will be able to optimize the nutrient density of our crops, enhancing their value and volume.

CRISPR may also hold the key to eliminating common allergens from crops. As we identify the allergen gene in peanuts, for instance, we can use CRISPR to silence that gene, making the crops we raise safer for and more accessible to a rapidly growing population.

Yet another application is our ability to make plants resistant to infection or more resistant to drought or cold.

Helping to accelerate the impact of CRISPR, the USDA recently announced that genetically engineered crops will not be regulated—providing an opening for entrepreneurs to capitalize on the opportunities for optimization CRISPR enables.

CRISPR applications in agriculture are an opportunity to help a billion people and become a billionaire in the process.

Protecting crops against volatile environments, combating crop diseases and increasing nutrient values, CRISPR is a promising tool to help feed the world’s rising population.

The Alt-Protein/Lab-Grown Meat Revolution

Something like a third of the Earth’s arable land 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 if we could instead 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 meats.

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?

Let’s look back at how farming evolved through history.

Farmers 0.0 (Neolithic Revolution, around 9000 BCE): The hunter-gatherer to agriculture transition gains momentum, and humans cultivated the ability to domesticate plants for food production.

Farmers 1.0 (until around the 19th century): Farmers spent all day in the field performing backbreaking labor, and agriculture accounted for most jobs.

Farmers 2.0 (mid-20th century, Green Revolution): From the invention of the first farm tractor in 1812 through today, transformative mechanical biochemical technologies (fertilizer) boosted yields and made the job of farming easier, driving the US farm job rate down to less than two percent today.

Farmers 3.0: In the near future, farmers will leverage exponential technologies (e.g., AI, networks, sensors, robotics, drones), CRISPR and genetic engineering, and new business models to solve the world’s greatest food challenges and efficiently feed the eight-billion-plus people on Earth.

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.

Let’s take a look at an innovative incubator in Brooklyn, New York called Square Roots.

Ten farm-in-a-shipping-containers in a Brooklyn parking lot represent the first Square Roots campus. Each 8-foot x 8.5-foot x 20-foot shipping container contains an equivalent of 2 acres of produce and can yield more than 50 pounds of produce each week.

For 13 months, one cohort of next-generation food entrepreneurs takes part in a curriculum with foundations in farming, business, community and leadership.

The urban farming incubator raised a $5.4 million seed funding round in August 2017.

Training a new breed of entrepreneurs to apply exponential technology to growing food is essential to the future of farming.

One of our massive transformative purposes at the Abundance Group is to empower entrepreneurs to generate extraordinary wealth while creating a world of abundance. Vertical farms and cellular agriculture are key elements enabling the next generation of food and agriculture entrepreneurs.


Technology is driving food abundance.

We’re already seeing food become demonetized, as the graph below shows.

From 1960 to 2014, the percent of income spent on food in the U.S. fell from 19 percent to under 10 percent of total disposable income—a dramatic decrease over the 40 percent of household income spent on food in 1900.

Ultimately, technology has enabled a massive variety of food at a significantly reduced cost and with fewer resources used for production.

We’re increasingly going to optimize and fortify the food supply chain to achieve more reliable, predictable, and nutritious ways to obtain basic sustenance.

And that means a world with abundant, nutritious, and inexpensive food for every man, woman, and child.

What an extraordinary time to be alive.

TOPICS: Agriculture; Business/Economy; Food; Science
KEYWORDS: farming; food; meat; plants
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1 posted on 05/25/2018 2:33:39 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Soylent green?.........................

2 posted on 05/25/2018 2:37:11 PM PDT by Red Badger (Remember all the great work Obama did for the black community?.............. Me neither.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Thank you for sharing. Ultimately, pessimists such as Paul Ehrlich and Thomas Malthus never accounted for human ingenuity in their dystopian views of the world. Let the market figure out a way to profit from innovation and watch what humans can do. It has always been and it’ll always remain this way.

3 posted on 05/25/2018 2:38:47 PM PDT by NohSpinZone (First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Never fear. The organic food NAZI’s will never allow this

4 posted on 05/25/2018 2:39:47 PM PDT by Fai Mao (There is no rule of law in the US until The PIAPS is executed.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m waiting for the day when I can use a 3D printer to produce a prime rib eye steak.

5 posted on 05/25/2018 2:41:33 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (President Trump divides Americans . . . from anti-Americans.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yeah, but when will they bring the flavor back?

6 posted on 05/25/2018 2:43:16 PM PDT by be-baw (still seeking...)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Yum? Custom 3D-printed steaks and chicken.

7 posted on 05/25/2018 2:46:41 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You cannot invade the mainland US. There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Utopia is just around the corner...

Have another genetically modified protein wafer?

8 posted on 05/25/2018 2:48:27 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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The urban areas will have to do something after the rural red-state areas lay siege. This smells like the perfect way to get around starving to death in besieged cities. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
9 posted on 05/25/2018 2:53:14 PM PDT by Clutch Martin (Hot sauce aside, every culture has its pancakes, just as every culture has its noodle.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Interesting post. This will be done when the cost of doing this is less than growing my food in the ground. Food grown from the ground is cheap. I do have a problem with extreme specialization of plant cultures on which you model is based. A new plant disease could wipe out those plant cultures and great famine could follow.

Ireland became very dependent on the potato imported from South America. The potato was a prolific producer of food and Ireland’s food supply was totally tied to the potato. A virus that attacked the potato caused the collapse of the food chain in Ireland and great famine followed.

There is a damn good reason the Norwegians have a great seed bank in the Arctic. They recognize the dangers of mono culture agriculture. They have collected all the seeds of the world so if an apocalypse of war or biology happens, the old seeds will be there for our use. The reason those seeds are on an Arctic Island is if we had total destruction of nations in a war those seeds would still be there and viable due to the Arctic cold.

10 posted on 05/25/2018 3:03:55 PM PDT by cpdiii (cane cutter, deckhand, roughneck, geologist, pilot, pharmacist, THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Perhaps more importantly, vertical farming also allows tomorrow’s farmer the ability to control the exact conditions of her plants year round.

Also it would be easier for an enemy (or accident) to take out the food supply for a city.

Or, easier for employee to go on strike

Or, easier for one mistake to contaminate all the food

and so on...

Central control is not always the best

11 posted on 05/25/2018 3:09:48 PM PDT by CIB-173RDABN (US out of the UN, UN out of the US)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

We HAVE food abundance, thanks to Norman Borlaug.

12 posted on 05/25/2018 3:12:28 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (<img src="" width=800>
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To: NohSpinZone

I thought the author would be Malthusian and almost skipped reading this. Glad I didn’t.

2ndDivisionVet always brings interesting articles.

13 posted on 05/25/2018 3:19:55 PM PDT by nicepaco
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
What really drove food abundance? Chemicals.

Fertilizers. Pesticides. Fungicides. Chemicals that allowed farmers to plant denser and denser rows with minimal cultivation and maximum yields.

And the planting/harvesting practices that arose from them.

Got food? Thank Monsanto.

14 posted on 05/25/2018 3:27:09 PM PDT by IronJack (A)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet


15 posted on 05/25/2018 3:37:44 PM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“A fundamental shift is occurring in our relationship with agriculture. We are going from evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) to evolution by human direction.”

What a moron. Darwin’s idea of natural selection was based on his observation of artificial selection, aka breeding. That’s not a “fundamental shift”. It’s like saying that “The Passion of the Christ” was such a successful film they’re thinking of adapting it into book form.

Socialism, supply chain issues, and political destabilization (leading to violence and war) is going to result in worldwide famine. The growing abundance will be reserved more and more for the wealthy Socialists and Crony Capitalists. When the rich elites own all the food, food will be rationed to the poor as they see fit, just like healthcare is rationed once medicine is socialized.

16 posted on 05/25/2018 3:39:03 PM PDT by unlearner (A war is coming.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Very interesting.

Thanks for posting.

17 posted on 05/25/2018 3:45:26 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Fai Mao

Re: “The organic food NAZI’s will never allow this”

The front page of the Seattle Times this morning had a long article claiming that fish feel pain.

Therefore, the activists feel that all fish for consumption must be caught and killed in a humane way.

This is not an incidental subject in Seattle. We have a large local fleet of fishing vessels, as well as local fish processors.

I am not personally indifferent to the fact that fish do, or do not, feel pain.

However, whatever happens, one thing is certain - the price of fish will go up.

18 posted on 05/25/2018 3:57:01 PM PDT by zeestephen
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How did you get ‘central control’ out of this article?

19 posted on 05/25/2018 4:07:13 PM PDT by posterchild
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Such precision farming can generate yields that are 200% to 400% above normal."

That's going to require a lot of carbon dioxide.
20 posted on 05/25/2018 4:14:06 PM PDT by clearcarbon
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