Fueling Food: Mindfulness & Innovation

“Of the land-community much has been consumed, much has been wasted, almost nothing has flourished. But this has not been inevitable. We do not have to live as if we are alone.”

~ Wendell Berry, 2012 Jefferson Lecture

The current of attention on food waste is rising the tide and lifting national and global efforts to address this problem through creative innovation. JWT highlighted “Food as the New Eco-Issue” in their annual ten trends in the coming year as well as in 100 things to watch:

From these large global corporate efforts to celebrity coverage to iconic local grocers taking a stand, the motivation and relevance of this topic can no longer be overlooked.

A driver behind this growing conversation is the embedded water involved in food production.

“About 65 percent of the water that we consume is in our food….If present levels of consumption continue, two-thirds of the global population will live in areas of water stress by 2025.” ~ Waterwise

Take for example 1/3 pound of beef, raised industrially:

 From an industry with troubling costs such as these can come promising advances as well, with the potential of anaerobic digesters becoming a reality. The opportunity to combine food waste with animal waste to create energy is being tried, tested and found successful across the U.S. and the world.

The Plant is taking a systems approach even further through repurposing a former Chicago meatpacking plant and creating a self-sustained vertical farm, brewing kombucha and beer while farming vegetables and fish, all in a symbiotic closed loop system centered around a digester. With ingenious replicable models like this leading the way, hope for the future is tangible and edible.

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4 responses

  1. Interesting that this hasnt typically played a large role in corporation. I mean, we have barley had recycling bins in there! What is going to be the motivating factor. Also, how can we leverage this? Food waste management at work could also influence behaviors at home!

  2. I love the Plant concept. Self-sustained vertical farm. It will be interesting to watch this develop. I can’t seem to stop thinking about a handful of farmer’s who do this in Bend and the Williamette valley just not a vertical approach. They brew their own beer, grow their own food, have goats, cows and chickens, water rights to their farm, and pretty much fully sustainable to live off their land. Has this concept finally gone ” urban and vertical” so everyone can have the opportunity to live off their chosen ” land” ?

  3. I wonder what it will take for industrial farms to realize that they are in jeopardy of operating if they continue to farm as they do. What is it that they don’t realize about their water usage not being sustainable?

  4. I enjoyed the video and was struck by the stat that if 5% of our food waste was salvaged we could feed the hungry. It is a very tantalizing idea and I’d love for someone to come up with a creative way to close that loop.

    And I’m loving all the creative urban solutions, such as The Plant. Vertical farming is very intriguing, especially in areas where land and space are limited.

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