My reply to this story re Vegan future / tech / food in labs / GMO – on Medium:

‘The Future of Food’

 

Nope. The future was already here 60 years ago; the current technology focus is a solution in search of a problem. We f*cked it up 60 years by permitting our economy to reward farming using factory made fertilizers and pesticides; by shutting down local farms and outsourcing 95% of our farm needs to Florida, California, South America.

The real question is how to reintegrate local farming and humane sustainable farming, not eat a facsimile made with lab assembled chemicals; yet the facsimiles always miss something crucial. On the east coast, Maine and NJ were huge source of year round food — now, nothing.

The world is bigger and the food story more beautiful than storied VC monied success / trendy hashtag life.

There is benefit to nature which you miss understanding. Sure, use technology to hack shortcuts such as urban rooftop farms, use social media technology to restart personal ‘victory gardens’ etc, but the entire ‘food made in labs’ story loses the evolutionary knowledge of progress. ‘Food made in labs’ is like ‘bombs=peace’, which was another solution that really was a front for our cultural corporatism and it’s rampant profiteering.

Six 3′ x 12′ garden beds can feed an entire huge family for a year. Add in cooperatives and we’re done.

It’s amusing that ‘Soylent’ is a product. Since I’m name dropping, I’ll go with Nassim Taleb — his term, ‘epistemological arrogance’ covers this weak technology idea.

The future of food — it’s here, and it’s been here since we started farming; let’s not go back to farm oppression — but look at the slave labor the US imports to do the work in the California and Florida fields. It’s shameful, and we’re all accessories. If high schools and middle schools had gardening programs / farming programs / sustainability progams, we’d soon have a change in our culture, as rapid a change as texting / Vine / snapchat etc. Because kids, before they get sucked into the corporate mentality, have the potential to see what’s real. Let them work with their hands, and some elementary tools, and a-change is gonna come. But people like you, technologists, should be / have to be leading it. Thats what the conversation can be.

  2 comments for “My reply to this story re Vegan future / tech / food in labs / GMO – on Medium:

  1. October 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I’m generally very in favor of what you’re saying here, but I assume you don’t have much contact with the food culture in Maine. I WWOOFed there about 4 years ago, and the local food production – especially organic – is extremely vibrant and has a powerful local community of producers and consumers behind it. If you don’t already know, check out MOFGA for more information. They have a great print publication too – or used to. Very woth looking into!

    • radical.home.economics
      October 16, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Understood re Maine (we’re nearby). Yes, a very powerful local community [and in NYS, the Hudson Valley and Adirondacks have likewise upped their levels], but at this point it is only slightly beyond boutique levels. From the late 30s – early 50s, Maine and indeed the northeast was a powerhouse of food production, farm production. This is not nostalgia; and of course the cultural topography has changed – CF New Jersey, ‘the garden state’ – which also was huge in food production; but it would be possible to farm in the northeast, far more sustainably with less effort required, than the schemes in the original article I was replying to (on Medium – https://medium.com/@ryanbethencourt/the-chef-and-the-genomicist-5e500861ed1c.

      Those, as I think I said, are a solution in search of a problem. As with so many things, the solutions are here, the money is already here; it’s just applied in shortsighted ways.

      You mention your experience as a WOOFer; I applaud the idea of getting young people, kids, whomever, involved in food production on farms – because, as has happened to you (and me), once one has ones hands in the earth, one realizes the incredible opportunities we have, and also how by subsidizing things and hiding the real costs, we are all complicit in exploiting Latin American / South American migrant labor & etc. That the eras of John Steinbeck, and even further back, Sinclair Lewis re “meat farming” – hasn’t changed. Sure the PR is better now, but the lopsided economics still remain.

      Thank you for your reply and let’s do everything we can to tell people more [and enjoy the fruits of our labor, while understanding it’s a rare honor to do so)

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