Agronomists, environmentalists, and economists around the globe have been debating how to feed everyone on it for years and years. Clearly, we still haven't found the perfect solution, but there are plenty of ideas out there that have potential to at least make a dent.
On the next page, learn about molecular gastronomy and discover exciting new ways science can feed the planet.
The molecular gastronomist chefs at Moto Restaurant have put into practice some of the most exciting ways that science can bring the art of feeding people to a whole new level. Using dehydrators, liquid nitrogen, and other unusual tricks -- although no playing with the DNA of the food; they are chefs before scientists and are not (yet) convinced by genetic modification -- they have done things like create a "seared tuna loin" out of watermelon. Considering the dwindling supplies of fish stocks around the world, finding creative alternatives seems like an important step, either to wean people off of precious limited supplies, or to feed people once those supplies are gone.
The Moto chefs also use the "miracle fruit," which they believe can be the key to decentralizing the food supply and turning more of the plants -- weeds -- that already surround us into edible, nutritional food.
Ideas are sprouting out of the spotlight, too. In Africa, where some of the greatest need for more and better-quality food is spread over large, often arid areas, a "farm-in-a-backpack" has started to take hold, as well as the "super vegetable garden" -- both of which are all-in-one packages that fit everything a person needs to grow healthy and diverse foods into one convenient pack.
Especially as climate change starts to affect and alter agricultural trends in already-semi-desert climates (and as the world's population grows), tricks for growing more food while consuming less water will become ever-more important--and that's exactly what the super vegetable garden, for example, does. In a space of 60 square meters, a balanced diet can be grown (year-round) for a family of 10, using 80 percent less water and a lot less human labor -- which frees up time to pursue other work or school studies, which will be crucial in paving developing regions like Africa's way to a better future.
There are crazy technologies like electronic printers that actually print food, but perhaps some of the most promising developments have come from the simpler ideas: people growing more of their own food, for example, even if they live in tight quarters with little green space or in urban environments. Urban and vertical farming, growing foods in containers that you'd never thought possible, or even gardening on-the-go can all go a long way to making people, wherever they are, more self-sustainable, which -- as people strive for a more locally-sourced, less fossil fuel-dependent food supply -- will be a key part to feeding the future.