Open Source Food – Beppe Grillo’s Blog

Agriculture is the main cause of the destruction of natural habitats. And if something doesn’t change, the situation risks getting worse. In theory, there could be an abundance of food in the world. But even just maintaining current production levels could prove impossible. Environmentalists lash out against urban sprawl, or rather the unscrupulous use of land for housing and infrastructure. But agricultural expansion – the use of large quantities of land to produce small quantities of food – has transformed gigantic areas: 28% of the world’s land is used for extensive agriculture.

What can we do?

Part of the answer is to take as much food production out of agriculture as possible. Fortunately, the necessary technology arrived just when we needed it. Precision fermentation, which produces proteins and fats in specific plants from soil bacteria, fed with water, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and minerals, has the potential to replace all farms, all soybean crops and much of the oil production plant, significantly reducing land use and other effects on the environment. But this fortune could easily fall prey to the large companies that today monopolize the world trade in grains and meat. Ideally, these farmless crops should be open source.

Microbial production scares some of the people asking for food sovereignty and justice. But it could provide both more effectively than traditional farming. These technologies offer us, for the first time since the Neolithic, the opportunity to transform not only our food system, but also our relationship with the world. The future is underground.

Translation of George Monbiot’s article, published in The Guardian

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