How does the fruit of an ancient tree become “the food of the future”?
It seems like as we try to plan for the problems of the future, we keep rediscovering answers from long ago. Climate change, overpopulation, and biodiversity loss are some serious threats to humanity, but luckily many people and organizations are working hard today to find the solutions of tomorrow. Our current food production system is simply not sustainable, so a major overhaul is necessary. That’s why we’re looking for the foods of the future; foods that promote biodiversity, are nutrient-dense, and are, of course, delicious!
“About 75% of the world’s food comes from just 12 plants and 5 animal species”-United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization
Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth, from microbes, to plants, to humans & animals. Good biodiversity is key for a healthy planet, as it contributes to climate stability, aids in breaking down pollutants, encourages nutrient storage and recycling, provides plentiful food resources and more. The problem with only consuming a small number of species is that it discourages biodiversity, which in turn makes our food system much more susceptible to disease, pests, and climate change. In order to feed our growing populations and combat climate change for years to come, we will need to promote biodiversity by producing and consuming a wide variety of foods.
“The food system of the future generally makes a lighter impression on the Earth and in many cases, agriculture [will] regenerate our planet. We [will] still wrestle with challenges like pollution and extreme population growth, but [will] have managed to employ a harmonious balance of high tech and traditional methods to address these problems.”-The Alpha Food Labs Future Market
In efforts to diversify our food staples, food futurists are looking far and wide for “new” foods to add to our everyday choices. That’s where undervalued plants like Baobab and Cacay come in. People are re-discovering the incredible environmental and nutritional benefits of wild, underutilized indigenous plants that have sustained communities for hundreds of years. If we incorporate these “foods of the future” into our diets, we can maintain our own good health while supporting biodiversity, and helping our planet!