Archive for May, 2011

What will you be eating in 20 years?

May 18th, 2011


Whether you take the position supporting the existence of global warming or not the evidence is piling up that it is affecting our food sources: “globally wheat yields are down 5.5% compared with what they would have been with no climate change and maize yields are down 3.8%” (The Economist, Hindering Harvests. May 7-13th).  Yet even though wheat and corn are down, soya is staying stable, and, at low levels of change, humans can adapt.  We have the ability, anyway if not the political will.

Crop yields are down.  The desire and ability to purchase protein is increasing.  The reliance on corn, and hence petroleum products, to raise factory farmed beef is exacting a large toll not only on corn supply, but on the environment as well because nutrients are leached from the soil by the constant use of petroleum fertilizers.  Where are we to find a protein that will satisfy the growing demand and yet still be sustainable.

How about looking to the smaller denizens of our world?  In Columbia Big Butt Ants are a delicacy and can sell for 10 times the amount that coffee sells.  These ants are only available once a year, and must be alive when they hit the frying pan, but they high light some possibilities of growth in the food industry.  Next year the U.N. will be holding a conference on edible insects to investigate the possible effects on world hunger.

Krill oil is also gaining popularity as a supplement because it has many of the same oils, essential fatty acids and omega 3s that salmon does: but without the same susceptibility to mercury poisoning that accompany extended time in the oceans.  There is even a shift to micro greens in many restaurants and markets because of the high nutrient levels, and quick growing time.  The focus on sustainably raised, nutrient rich food is growing and with the globe becoming warmer every year our food paradigms may need to shift.

Perhaps we should start thinking outside the burger box and listen to the menu that mother earth has laid out for us.