Innovative Solutions For Food Shortages

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“Most wars are not fought over shortage of resources such as food and water, but over conquest, revenge, and ideology”, said Steven Pinker, a Canadian-American psychologist. Well, that was more true in the past. With the outbreak of the Corona pandemic we have come across more fights and outbursts, if not wars for food and resources. Now it can be said that it was the result of panic buying, but who is to say that it won’t happen again. And this was just one week when grocery shops ran out of food.

Food shortage is a growing issue, now more than ever, because now “we” have experienced it first-hand. Earlier what seemed to be the concern of various sections of the society and only people in sub-Saharan Africa is now a concern faced by economists, farmers and governments around the globe, because let’s be frank, it isn’t an issue if it doesn’t affect us.

The current population of the world is around 7.8 billion and in 50 years it is projected to be around 9 billion. To this day around 800 million people around the globe are undernourished and one can only fathom what the future holds. But this doesn’t mean that we have to give up hope. There are people around the globe who are finding new and innovative solutions to this problem.

Lab Grown Food?

While we know that scientists are already producing plants inside their labs, did you know that the same is applicable for meat? Around 70-80% of the world population is non-vegetarian which leads to animal slaughter which is seldom controlled, because who doesn’t want an extra buck? Annually, 72 billion land animals are slaughtered and we are not even talking about sea food.

This leads to ecological imbalance and also the fact that only the species required for the food industry are given the preference to survive. This reminds me of that scene in 'Demolition Man' where the protagonist goes into the future and has a “rat-burger” in the pretense that it is just a regular beef burger, because there is a shortage of food.

Lab grown meat is getting all the support these days because there are more and more people who want to eat meat without the guilt attached to it. While some researchers are producing it with 3-d printers other are using stem cells to do the work for them. This way of production of meat is eco-friendly, reduces greenhouse gasses and also loose up the tensions on the environment.

3-D Meat 

For the production of 3-d meat, layers for fat and proteins are projected on one another to replicate real meat. What is even better is that it has health benefits too. Regular meat has its advantages and disadvantages and kicks back with cholesterol on too much consumption. On the other hand, 3-d meat, which is plant-based doesn’t contain cholesterol or pathogens. And the best thing, you can’t be trolled by your vegan friend for eating meat! 

Stem-Cell Meat

Stem cells are the undifferentiated cells that grow on to form different tissues and organs in an animal. These can used to produce meat. Period. Stem cells can be taken from a young and healthy organism without killing it and can be grown over time artificially to produce meat. What is great is that no animal has to harmed during the whole process and the meat comes without any pathogens which a regular piece of meat may contain due to outside interaction. Also stem cells can be stored for an indefinite period of time and thus one organism can fill the stomach of thousands if not millions.

Indoor Farming

While production of meat is good, what about the vegetarian part of society. This is where indoor farming comes into play. Indoor farming is the future of agriculture. While it requires an initial investment, it also pays off. The crop is produced faster, healthier and also with less wastage of resources such as water. 

About 50% of water is saved in comparison to tradition farming and also less fertilizers are used, while not introducing pollutants to groundwater and soil. The biggest advantage is the reduction of risk from natural conditions of drought of heavy rainfall. Also crops can be produced locally as all one needs is an empty warehouse, thus giving the consumer a healthy and fresh produce.

What Can You Do?

While you may think of yourself as powerless in front of such a massive issue remind yourself that a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. Stop wasting food and not only the one you don’t consume but also that you eat un-necessarily. Educate people and help them understand the gravity of the problem. Do whatever is in your domain to make the world a better place. Contribute food to the ones who can’t afford it. Even if one person sleeps without an empty stomach it will be a win for the society as a whole.

Written by - Ritik Mehndiratta

Edited by - Arnav Mehra

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