The Future of Food

Listen 50:23

What we eat — and how our food is produced — is always changing. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen attempts to go from industrial farming to eating local, from factory farms to pasture-raised, anti-fat to anti-carb, wheat to quinoa, dairy milk to soy milk, bacon and eggs to avocado toast, and the list goes on. There’s a lot that goes into these changes — market forces, innovation, supply chain issues and increasingly, climate change.

In fact, food may be the single most direct way that most of us will experience the impact of global warming. It will change how food is produced, what we eat, and how much we pay for it. Farmers and food producers are adapting to a warming planet and expanding population. On this episode, we’ll look at the forces that are shaping and changing the way we eat, along with some of the foods that may become far more common in the decades to come. We’ll hear about how vertical farming is making the most of our space, why kelp could be the new soy, and the innovative solutions making their way on to our plates.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • We talk with science journalist Amanda Little, who’s traveled the world investigating threats to agriculture, about the innovations that could save our global food supply — and the Earth. Her book is The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter and Smarter world.”
  • As the world warms, agriculture is being forced to grow up — literally. Reporter Catherine Nouhan takes us into a vertical farm to find out how this innovative new way of cultivating crops is replacing fields, pesticides, and even soil.
  • It’s hard to believe now, but in the early 19th century, soy was virtually unknown to many Americans — today, it’s our second largest crop, right behind corn. Now, environmentally-focused farmers are trying to replicate that success with a different crop: seaweed. But are Americans ready to accept it? Alan Yu reports.
  • For years, overfishing has been a problem that’s brought many fish stocks to a dangerous tipping point — but today, new tech is transforming our appetite for fish from an existential deep-sea threat to a sustainable industry. We talk with Nicholas Sullivan about the future of fish farming, why it’s gotten a bad rap, and how new innovations are changing the way we fish. His book is The Blue Revolution: Hunting, Harvesting, and Farming Seafood in the Information Age.
  • Youtuber and internet cook Adam Ragusea schools us about eating sustainably, some of his favorite staple meals, and why too much good food has become a problem.


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