By 2050, we will need to produce as much as 56% more food than we did in 2010 to feed the world’s growing population. While experts agree we can do it using current farming and production practices, it could be catastrophic for the planet. So how will we meet the demand?
Picture this: Instead of a farm taking up thousands of acres of land, crops grow upward inside climate-controlled warehouses. New technologies help farmers know precisely when to fertilize and harvest crops, producing higher yields with less loss. On store shelves and in your home, packaging innovations keep food fresher and longer, reducing waste. In the next few decades, each of these could help feed the world sustainably.
In the past, big players in the agriculture industry had one main goal: to grow as much food as possible. And they got very, very good at it. Here in the U.S., agriculture claims about one-fifth of the land. But farmers are so prolific that the whole country could live on the output of an area roughly the size of Indiana, Illinois, and half of Iowa combined.
But these mega-yields come at a price. Globally, food production accounts for 70% of all freshwater usage and 26% of greenhouse gas emissions – and it takes up half of all the habitable land on the planet. If we’re going to be able to feed billions more people decades from now, the solution can’t be to just keep farming the same way.
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