S02 E10: Plagues, Pestilence, Smart Protein: Our Resilient Food Future

Feeding 10 Billion

25-08-2020 • 51 mins

In the final episode of Feeding 10 Billion Season 2, we contend with some of our enduring questions - what will humans eat in a world that is rapidly warming and exposed to the worst effects of climate change? And how do we preserve our links to tradition and the foods we love to eat in this new world? A dystopian future threatening those traditions is already rearing its head in a multitude of ways. Alternating extreme weather cycles like drought caused by water scarcity or floods caused by sudden storms are already stripping the soil of its ability to sustain us. While we stay in to fend off the worst pandemic our generation has seen, we’ve also witnessed biblical proportions of pestilence ravaging our crops. This year, parts of East Africa, Iran, and India witnessed their most disruptive locust swarms in decades, while the UK’s unprecedented weather reduced wheat yields to their lowest levels in 40 years, threatening to convert it from an exporter to a net importer. If we want to prioritise food security, we will need all the answers we can find - all technologies, communities, and platforms that can help us build a more resilient food supply.

Today’s guest is an entrepreneur working on exactly the kind of foods that can enable us to reverse - or, at the very least, withstand - the ravages of climate change and public health crises. Thomas Jonas is CEO and cofounder of Nature’s Fynd, a company whose story is as fascinating as any science fiction you’ve ever read - it involves NASA, space exploration, and the world’s largest supervolcano. Nature’s Fynd has big plans for fueling the planet sustainably with complete protein from fungi - learn more on the season finale of F10B.

NOTES:

Companies Mentioned:

Nature’s Fynd

Bibliography

Biblical, on steroids, and across generations: The coming food and nutrition crash can be averted if we act now to counter the COVID-19 crisis, IFPRI Blog

Climate crisis: Extreme weather means UK faces worst wheat yields in 40 years, farmers’ union says, Independent

Beyond vegan burgers: next-generation protein could come from air, methane, volcanic springs, Reuters

Do These Tiny Organisms Hold the Key to Lab-Grown Food? Bloomberg

Food Startup Takes Microbes From the Volcano to the Table, The Wall Street Journal

Nature's Fynd (formerly Sustainable Bioproducts) raises $80m to grow food from microbes, Food Navigator USA

NASA’s Small Investments in Small Businesses Pay Big Dividends, NASA

For Further Reading:

Sustainable Bioproducts Makes Animal-Free Meat with Volcano Microorganisms, GFI Blog

Beyond Plants: Using Fermentation, Fungi, Algae, and Bacteria to Create Novel Proteins and Ingredients, The Good Food Conference, 2019

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