"Having enough farmland should be the least of our concerns"

While some demand greater access to agricultural land for city dwellers — especially since COVID has pushed many to seek space or land far from major cities — others want to protect our land from real estate speculators, writes Sylvain Charlebois in the Toronto Star.

Two reasons often motivate governments to protect farmland. First, many loudly proclaim the impossibility of creating agricultural land. This is true to a certain extent. There are now technologies allowing us to repurpose land and make our acreage more efficient. There are vertical farms. And the greenhouse industry, expanding at a rapid rate, allows increased efficiency of our spaces.

Also, our debate on farmland protection is based on the premise that consumers will continue to consume in the same way for years to come. But consumers’ habits are changing, slowly but surely. With our collective craze for plant-based proteins — and the eventual arrival of emerging technologies like precision fermentation and cultivated meat that will shake up our plates — protein will mean something quite different in a few decades.

Let’s start with vegetable proteins. A real transition to plant proteins is shaping up. Most Canadians will certainly continue to consume meat, but in smaller quantities for all kinds of reasons. According to a report by the Market Data Forecast group, the plant protein market on the planet could double by 2026. This market is estimated at around $23 billion now. This figure could therefore exceed $48 billion in a few years, a huge progression that marks only the start of a new trend.

Read the complete article at www.thestar.com.


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