Yet another very rational explanation of the increasingly obvious patterns of the future of farming and industry from the Australian National Sustainable Food Summit, summarised for you by our friends at Bucky Box via their article on Food + Tech Connect.
- The food system, much like other industries around the world, is one of the next major industries that will become decentralised and democratized thanks to the Internet and peer-to-peer trading. Growing interest in upending 30 years of legacy, which has served the financial interests of a few more than the people and planet it relies upon, are at the heart of this transformation.
- The food system of the future will be complex – made up of industrial agriculture, urban agriculture, small-scale farms, bio-domes, vertical growing spaces, hydroponics, backyard gardening, community gardening and more.
- Organic Farming can feed 10 billion people, and small-scale sustainable agriculture is the way it will happen. Several recent reports, including one from the UN Special Rapporteur, confirm this, and there is a growing focus on ecological / biological farming methods.
- We will have to shift from the 99% industrialized global food system, as resource pressures (peak oil and the likes) resulting from current techniques will continue to push the cost of food up. The transition may not be easy for all concerned, those with vested interests in keeping the status quo are likely to resist, but they will be swept away if they do not change (see changes in Music Industry!).
- Huge advancements can be made as we shift to a decentralized food system, especially in the area of food and resource waste, which accounts for the main reason for current artificially high prices. In 2010, we produced enough food to feed 12 billion people, we just wasted a large portion of it.
- Changing the ‘profit centre’ squeeze of food distribution, will ease the financial, environmental and social strain currently put on food production and consumption.
- Local and regional food economies will be rejuvenated with a new set of values based on more than profit, beginning with the foundations that people and planet should be at the centre of the food system, with money/profit playing the role of social exchange lubricant, rather than sole economic measurement.
- The emergence of vegetable box schemes, CSA’s, co-ops, buying groups and food hubs are signs of how our future, decentralized food system might look. Software is a major lever to catalyse these forms of enterprise.
- More farmers will be needed and more small-scale distributors.
- The future food system will have a much greater transparency and traceability from farm-to-fork, enabled by food tech.
The early keynote by Jeremy Rifkin was one of the talks which set a lot of the context for the conference, and while it’s fairly lengthy, there are some great insights about economic trends which are worth a watch.