In a new perspective piece, researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk explain that in a world of climate change, pandemics, wildfire, and additional disasters, there is a high potential for a devastating constellation of events to destabilize the global food production system, putting the world at risk.
Asaf Tzachor, a research associate at Cambridge, and colleagues write that to help reduce the risk of large disturbances that could upend our ability to adequately feed people, we need to consider “future foods.”
The types of future foods they propose—kelp, maggots, and fungus—are already consumed in many parts of the world such as in Asia and Africa, but may meet some resistance in areas where eating food such as arthropods is not as common. “Reservations about eating novel foods like flies, algae, beetles, and bivalves, could be overcome by using them as ingredients and additives rather than eating them whole,” Tzachor says.
The beauty of these future foods, Tzachor says, is that they can be grown outside of the traditional agricultural environment in self-contained, modular units. Vertical farming and similar methods have been a growing research interest for rural communities and urban environments alike.