Knowledge for better food systems

Rethinking Food & Agriculture 2020-2030

This report by US think tank ReThinkX examines the implications of ongoing disruptions to livestock industries. It predicts that current livestock production will be replaced to a large extent by a “Food-as-Software” model, where food can be engineered on the molecular level and produced using “precision fermentation”, e.g. using engineered microorganisms to produce proteins that mimic milk proteins. 

As a result of technological advances in fermentation, the report predicts that the number of cows in the United States could halve by 2030. The report also estimates that fermentation-based alternatives to livestock production could be an order of magnitude more efficient in terms of feedstock use, water use, production time and waste production, as well as up to 100 times more efficient in land use.

Read the full report, Rethinking Food and Agriculture 2020-2030: The Second Domestication of Plants and Animals, the Disruption of the Cow, and the Collapse of Industrial Livestock Farming, here (PDF link) or read more about the report here. See also the Foodsource resource Which diets generate fewer GHG emissions and other environmental impacts?

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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