Guest Blog from Katerva: Embracing the challenge of feeding the world
Feeding 9 Billion People will challenge us to embrace agricultural practices that can produce enough food without creating too much harm for the planet. The challenges associated with producing a high enough quantity of quality food is outlined in the second Sustainable Development Goal put forth by the United Nations: Zero Hunger.
So it is no surprise that one of Katerva’s 10 awards categories focuses exclusively on Food. Our aim is to accelerate advances in food security, production, and more sustainable resource use in the agricultural sector. A growing human population is placing increasing demands on the agriculture system, which in turn places increased strain on the environment. Producing food sustainably will be essential to maintaining global stability and feeding a population estimated to reach 9.7 Billion by 2050.
Advancements in resource use, such as reducing water or fertilizer use can help limit the environmental impact of food production. But innovations will be required across the food system in order to address issues at all stages, from production, distribution, consumption to waste.
The wonderful thing is, once you start looking you can find such projects everywhere: from projects that help reduce plastic waste associated with food - such as an edible spoon or edible packaging, approaches to reduce waste in kitchens - such as winner of Katerva’s Beharioral Change category 2018, Winnow, to making sure less food is being thrown away because it is not ‘pretty’ enough such as 2018 runner-up Full Harvest Technologies. Previous Katerva winners in the Food category have addressed issues from crop growth to food storage to the development of consumer products to address the many unsustainable facets of the food system.
There are many innovators working to improve the sustainability of the food system. These innovations range from changes in individual dietary choices, to how food is produced and distributed. While the type and motivation behind these innovations vary, increased integration of sustainable practices in food can only bring positive change throughout the system. Latest innovations and trends that are currently reshaping the food industry are showcased in a recent Forbes article. For a global plan for feeding ourselves sustainably read “Nourished Planet”, a book edited by Food Tank founder Dannielle Nierenberg - Food Tank was part of our 2013 Awards Process.
This year’s Food Category and Grand Prize winner Protix, is tackling the challenge head-on by incorporating an underutilized resource into the food system in order to improve access to sustainable protein sources: insects. Insects offer an abundant and sustainable high-protein food source for livestock that can significantly reduce the environmental impact of animal agriculture.
Protix notes that “Insects have the amazing ability to turn low-grade food waste into valuable high-end proteins and fats…have a low ecological footprint and are the perfect sustainable alternative to regular protein sources” The limited resources required to raise insects compared to other protein sources as well as their ability to efficiently convert food waste into usable energy makes them a perfect choice for strengthening circular production in the food industry. Protix has used this approach to develop products for soil enhancement, and animal as well as human consumption.
There are many other changes underway aimed at making food more sustainable. Yet despite progress on reducing hunger worldwide, increased food demand from population growth and decreased production has led to rising hunger levels. The human cost of failing to address this disparity is far too large to ignore and will require a rethinking of how we view and produce food.
Much work remains to be done!
If you are aware of some exciting sustainable disruptive innovations in the field of food security, let us know, so we can help accelerate and scale them, for the benefit of all of us.
My new book Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in A Time of Fear (Routledge) is on advance order on amazon - out July 9th.
I would also like to thank my co-authors Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, Carolina Duque Chopitea, Minu Hemmati, Susanne Salz, Bernd Lakemeier, Laura Schmitz, and Jana Borkenhagen for their chapters - which are awesome!! While underscoring that my co-authors do not necessarily agree with the chapters written by other people.
The book will be out in July for the High Level Political Forum where we will be launching the book. Let me share with you the introduction for the book...and a few reviews out already. “A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.” (Kennedy, 1966) A changing world
The revolution that Bobby Kennedy was talkin…
By Felix Dodds and Michael Strauss first published on Inter Press Service here. With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the planet and the
governments of both wealthy and poorer nations overwhelmed by the demands of managing
a response, the scheduling of this year’s critical UN Climate Summit is
suddenly in doubt. COP26
(formally, the 26th annual Conference of the Parties of the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change) is planned for Glasgow, Scotland (UK) from
9-20 November. It will be the culmination of five years of negotiations since
the historic 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. More than 100 presidents and prime
ministers are expected to present their nations’ plans for carrying out the
sweeping environmental, economic and energy changes necessary to keep the
Earth’s warming to survivable levels. In
all, over 30,000 government delegates, intergovernmental officials and stakeholder
representatives are preparing to attend. The
agenda of COP26 is deep and urgent. Besides reporting how t…
As we start to embrace the new decade – is this the roaring 20’s? The state of the world is not what we would have hoped for in 2015 when Heads of State agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. This seems to have been a consistent trend in global sustainable development affairs. Something that we pointed out in what is called the ‘Vienna Café Trilogy’. The first book of that Trilogy – 'Only One Earth' was written with the father of sustainable development Maurice Strong and Michael Strauss looked at the development of policy at the global level from the mid-1960s to 2012. What it showed was that after each advancement there was a negative reaction caused by a number of global events. After Stockholm 1972 (the first UN Conference on the environment) we saw the impact of the Yom Kippur War – where oil prices rose significantly and focus moved away from environmental issues. Around the time of the UNEarth Summit in 1992, we saw the breakup of…