Feeding the world: Most efficient methods for growing humanity?

If your topic has nothing to do with Spyderco, you can post it here.
User avatar
SpyderEdgeForever
Member
Posts: 6301
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:53 pm
Location: USA

Feeding the world: Most efficient methods for growing humanity?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri May 03, 2019 5:25 pm

Without getting into any political arguments about inefficiencies of various types of governments and leaderships, when it comes to feeding the growing world population, your ideas are welcomed.

For example, I have looked into this topic over the years and learned alot. One problem is the distribution issue: How can enough food of the right kind and quality be produced, and then, economically/inexpensively distributed to the people who need/want it, with as little waste and problems as possible. Obviously the human corruption element is a problem but I am trying to stay away from that because that often leads to political argumentation.

And so, let's look at it from a purely technological and capacity point of view.

I was having a discussion with a couple of different active farmers on this issue (a dairy and a fruit orchard farmer) and both of them told me there is plenty of food that can be grown but the waste problems and also transportation to those who need it most are big issues.

I found this idea to be interesting: Vertical gardens/farms. Instead of spreading out growing capacity over horizontal space which we have traditionally done, the idea here is to build large vertical skyscraper sized buildings that house green house decks and grow tons upon tons of food. This saves ground space.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_farming

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2018/08 ... ing-future

However, this has its critics:

https://medium.com/bright-agrotech/9-re ... 4deaecd770

I have read and spoken with some technological futurists who believe the answer or a big answer is to use advanced technologies such as 3d printing and future versions of it to build huge multi-thousand acre greenhouse farms that rely on automation and solar power to grow food without the need for pesticides and without genetic engineering/modification. The idea there is that because the crops are protected within enclosed systems, they are less prone to damage from pests, parasites, and predators, and thus do not need the same level of pesticide chemicals, and, they can be grown almost round the clock.

These advocates claim the main reason we do not yet have massive greenhouse farms is because of the cost of building the greenhouse hardware, which according to them, self-replicating 3d printing systems and robotic automation can cure that.

Then you have the genetic modification advocates who believe the answer is for human scientists to re-engineer food (both plant and animal based) at the genetic level, and make super-hardy crops that can grow practically anywhere, and are parasite/pest-proof, and which can be engineered to be larger and more efficient. The potential dangers there have been mentioned elsewhere: What side-effects would this have on the world enviroment, and, on the bodies of humans and animals consuming them? Could the increase in food allergies over the past few decades be a direct result of genetic modification of plants such as wheat and dairy?

Another farmer told me that if the means could ever be developed to directly control or engineer the Earth and sun, and the enviroment itself, and the actual amount of sunlight coming onto the earth could be varied under human control, or something similiar, along with the amount of rain and other such factors, then farming could become easy and super-abundant, but such a thing he said would most likely require Divine intervention, because to do that technologically would be a massive undertaking. There would be potential dangers if humans did that, such as, how do you know how one change effects other changes in other enviromental systems?

I am glad that there is a greater awareness of the waste of food. Food waste is a real shame; when some people in the world go hungry and starve to death, and in other places, edible food is thrown away because of various reasons.

I also learned a good point from fellow forum-goer tvenuto about food and nutrition: Mass of food is not the same thing as nutrition. A person can eat an entire bag or two of potato chips and not get the same level of necessary nutrition as if they were to eat one good apple or pear. And so getting people the proper nutrition and vitamins is also important.

Then there is the more futuristic angle: Synthetic food machines and Replicators that assemble edible food from atoms.

Return to “Off-Topic”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests