Entire world’s protein could be produced with Brewing on an area of land smaller than London, say COP27 campaigners.
Reboot Food is a campaign led by the citizen-led green group RePlanet. We want to phase out animal agriculture for new sustainable alternatives, see the farming of plants revolutionised to use less land and fewer chemicals and see our planet rewilded as a result
A new environmental campaign chose this weekend — COP27’s Agriculture Day — to announce an ambitious food system proposal. Stop funding animal agriculture and start investing in alternative proteins and land restoration — to the tune of 2.5 percent of GDP over 10 years.
Rebooting the Food System
Launched by scientists and environmental advocates, the manifesto proposes that governments pay farmers to rewild lands and invest in technologies that can transition livestock-based economies to plant-rich food systems.
#ReBootFood #RePlanet> Tell me the truth
The Reboot Food proposal doesn’t rest on the meat eaters of the world switching to lentils and pulses. Instead the report calls for major public investment in a technology called “precision fermentation.” As the report points out, it’s technology but it’s also been around for a very long time, used for brewing beer, rennet and even insulin.
Precision fermentation can also be used to brew yeasts and bacteria into plant-based and animal-free proteins. And it’s already on the market, albeit at a very small scale.
There’s an ice cream company called Brave Robot that uses precision fermentation to brew the milk proteins into animal-free ice cream. Impossible Foods genetically engineered yeast to make its meaty-tasting heme ingredient for its plant-based burgers.
Several other companies are close to market-ready too — Meati, in Boulder Colorado, is using precision fermentation to make meat from mushrooms and a German-based startup called Formo is making cheese.
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Scaling — and Selling — Brewed Proteins
The size of the companies that use this technology are just a tiny fraction of the behemoth that is the global animal agriculture industry. Definitions of what constitutes a precision fermentation company vary to some degree but Reboot report author Joel Scott-Halkes figures the “meat industry is over 800 times bigger — or nearly three orders of magnitude.”
In other words, despite the urgent need for dietary change, precision fermentation is not going to displace beef and dairy at its current pace and rate of investment.
The Good Food Institute puts industry investment at just under $200 million last quarter. That’s a massive underinvestment for a climate technology that could potentially help the world meet the kinds of dietary change commitments researchers say are needed to limit global warming.
Producing the entire world’s protein on an area of land the size of Greater London. Imagine rewilding 3/4s of today’s farmland, offering ex farmers land custody jobs.
Imagine eating guilt-free meat, milk and cheese without ever having killed an animal. Imagine providing abundant food to the world’s poorest.
So let’s compare our options
Reboot calls for governments to invest a lot more — 2.5 percent of GDP over 10 years towards food innovation, including precision fermentation, but also crop technologies like robotics and gene editing. Scaling up investment in precision fermentation would allow companies to be competitive with dairy and meat on price, taste and convenience, the three things research shows consumers care most about.
Though sales of plant-based meats have slowed recently, the overall growth of the sector shows plenty of people are willing to eat foods that rely on some amount of technology for a taste boost. Says Ruishalme, “studies show a lot of curiosity of a significant section of the population to at least want to try these products.”
Studies also show some percentage of consumers aren’t interested, says Ruishalme, adding “there are people not eager to try these new products, which is to be expected.”
Yet Ruishalme says precision fermentation may be able to avoid some of the challenges facing cell-cultured meat, which “can be more demanding and harder to scale up than microbial fermentation.” Leaning heavily into the food science of brewing proteins, much like beer or soy sauce, may help commercialize these products in a way that highlights their familiarness.
Land-Sparing Climate Investment
Right now, the planet needs paths for producing enough food to feed a growing population — almost 10 billion by 2050 — without cutting down more rainforest or other wild landscapes that can keep carbon out of the atmosphere.
At scale, precision fermentation could save a massive amount of land. The Reboot Food report calculates the technology has the potential to “produce the entire world’s protein requirements on just 420km2 — an area of land smaller than Greater London.” It would also require fewer pesticides and water use.
… precision fermentation
Thanks to breakthroughs in the tried and tested technique of precision fermentation (already used widely to produce animal-free rennet and insulin), food innovators have now unlocked the keys to make animal-free proteins and fats that are biologically identical (and just as delicious) as those we currently get from cows and other livestock.
With other incredible 21st century innovations across the world of agriculture, we are now standing on the cusp of a revolution as big as the dawn of farming 10,000 years ago.
Change in the way we grow and produce food at this scale would undoubtedly be complicated and challenging, especially for farmers and workers.
That’s why governments have to do more than just remove subsidies for animal farming, says report co-author Iida Ruishalme. “We advocate for policies that pay farmers for environmental services, a system similar to one already in place in Costa Rica,” she says, citing conservation efforts that paid farmers for conservation to combat deforestation.
“We should facilitate the transition by offering farmers the choice of enrolling in a program that pays them for things like reforestation,” Ruishalme says, “supporting carbon-rich and biodiverse ecosystems on their lands.”
The report also sees a future in which precision fermentation reaches a wider range of communities. “Change should never come at the cost of food security,” says Ruishalme. “Instead, these new technologies should be made available to facilitate the adoption for communities that see them as desirable.”
Astonishingly we already have the tools to make this happen…
The secret lies in microorganisms. Just as our ancient ancestors relied on microorganisms to brew beer, raise bread and ferment foods like sauerkraut or soy sauce, today’s innovators have discovered how to programme microorganisms such as yeast to brew precise ingredients… like milk, eggs or the delicious fats and proteins you get in a steak.
But the potential is there. Ruishalme adds: “Scaled up, precision fermentation can become an attractive and cheap source of food that produces the nutrients people are already familiar with in a way that uses far less resources.”
Claire Hamlett contributed reporting for this story.
This piece has been updated to distinguish cell-cultured meat from precision fermentation.
the 4 core principles
to reboot food :
- Make it plant based:
In a rebooted food system, healthy and varied plant based foods should be at the centre of everything.
- Brew, don’t slaughter:
Animal farming should be phased out with today’s animal products replaced by identical precision fermentation products wherever possible.
- Use as little land as possible,
rewild everything else:
We must prioritise high yield, low impact farming to spare as much space for nature as possible. On the land left behind we must pay farmers to rewild.
- Open source everything:
New technologies in food should be open source and corporate concentration must be actively mitigated to ensure the benefits of the food revolution are shared equally with all.
Reboot Food is a campaign led by the citizen-led green group RePlanet. We want to phase out animal agriculture for new sustainable alternatives, see the farming of plants revolutionised to use less land and fewer chemicals and see our planet rewilded as a result.
2 days agoThe Reboot Food proposal doesn’t rest on the meat eaters of the world switching to lentils and pulses. Instead the report calls for major public investment in a technology called “precision fermentation.” As the report points out, it’s technology but it’s also been around for a very long time, used to make beer, rennet and even insulin….
BREAKING: watch our official press launch at COP 27WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE Download Press Release
Lead author of the manifesto is Joel Scott-Halkes, former coordinator of Extinction Rebellion U.K. Co-authors include the environmentalist Mark Lynas and scientist Iida Ruishalme. George Monbiot is also a contributor.
The Reboot Food Campaign is a spinoff from Solar Foods, who invented the process and are close to opening their first full scale Food Brewing factory.. see below:
Monbiot’s first report … 2018
shared with thanks from .. https://www.monbiot.com/2018/11/06/an-electrifying-idea/ illustrations added
Solar Foods, from just air and water, COULD save the planet
It sounds like science fiction but the Finnish company Solar Foods has already produced food with just water , electricity, the CO2 from air and trace chemicals. For starters this COULD in theory replace all animal feed with a cheaper, local, substitute, releasing 76% of arable land for forests or whatever, and abolishing world hunger.
The possibilities of Solar Food are endless, it looks like the ‘technical fix’ that could save the planet from runaway ecocide.
But as with all such promises it’s predator capitalism that rules, if we let it. Perhaps Exxon, Bayer or Nestlé will buy up and bury the patents. And one of the first initiatives of the Solar Foods company is .. not to attack world hunger but to develop food growing technology on Mars!
An Electrifying Idea
What if we abandoned photosynthesis as the means of producing food, and released most of the world’s surface from agriculture?
By George Monbiot, It’s not about “them”, it’s about us. The horrific rate of biological annihilation reported this week – 60% of the Earth’s vertebrate wildlife gone since 1970 – is driven primarily by the food industry. Farming and fishing are the major causes of the collapse of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Meat – consumed in greater quantities by the rich than by the poor – is the strongest cause of all. We might shake our heads in horror at the clearance of forests, the drainage of wetlands, the slaughter of predators and the massacre of sharks and turtles by fishing fleets, but it is done at our behest.
As the Guardian’s recent report from Argentina reveals, the huge forests of the Gran Chaco are heading towards extermination, as they are replaced by deserts of soya beans, almost all of which are used to produce animal feed, particularly for Europe. With Jair Bolsonaro in power in Brazil, deforestation in the Amazon is likely to accelerate, much of it driven by the beef lobby that helped bring him to power. The great forests of Indonesia and West Papua are being felled and burnt for oil palm at devastating speed.
The most important environmental action we can take is to reduce the area of land and sea used by farming and fishing. This means, above all, switching to a plant-based diet: research published in the journal Science shows that cutting out animal products would reduce the global requirement for farmland by 76%. It would also give us a fair chance of feeding the world. Grazing is no answer to the ecocide caused by grain-fed livestock: it is an astonishingly wasteful use of vast tracts of land that would otherwise support wildlife and wild ecosystems.
The same action is essential to prevent climate breakdown. Because governments, bowing to the demands of capital, have left it so late, it is almost impossible to see how we can stop more than 1.5° of global warming without drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The only way of doing it that has been demonstrated at scale is to allow trees to return to deforested land.
But could we go beyond even a plant-based diet? Could we go beyond agriculture itself? What if, instead of producing food from soil, we were to produce it from air? What if, instead of basing our nutrition on photosynthesis, we were to use electricity, to fuel a process whose conversion of sunlight into food is ten times more efficient?
This sounds like science fiction, but it is already approaching commercialisation. For the past year, a group of Finnish researchers has been producing food without either animals or plants. Their only ingredients are hydrogen-oxidising bacteria, electricity from solar panels, a small amount of water, carbon dioxide drawn from the air, nitrogen and trace quantities of minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and zinc. The food they have produced is 50 to 60% protein, the rest is carbohydrate and fat. They have started a company (Solar Foods), which seeks to open its first factory in 2021. This week it was selected as an incubation project by the European Space Agency.
They use electricity from solar panels to electrolyse water, producing hydrogen, that feeds bacteria (which turn it back into water). Unlike other forms of microbial protein (such as Quorn), it requires no carbohydrate feedstock – in other words, no plants.
Perhaps you are horrified by this prospect. Certainly, there’s nothing beautiful about it. It would be hard to write a pastoral poem about bacteria grazing on hydrogen. But this is part of the problem. We have allowed a mythical aesthetic to blind us to the ugly realities of industrial agriculture. Instilled with an image of farming that begins in infancy, as about half the books for very small children involve a rosy-cheeked farmer with one cow, one horse, one pig and one chicken, living in bucolic harmony, we fail to see the amazing cruelty of large-scale animal farming, the blood and gore, filth and pollution.
We fail to apprehend the mass clearance of land required to feed us, the Insectageddon caused by pesticides, the drying up of rivers, the loss of soil, the reduction of the magnificent diversity of life on Earth to a homogenous grey waste.
The compound the Finnish researchers have produced from air, water and electricity is most likely to be used as a bulk ingredient in processed food. But (though this goes well beyond the company’s current plans) is there any reason why, with modifications of the process, it could not start to deliver the proteins required to make cultured meat, or the oils that could render palm plantations redundant? Is there any reason why it should not eventually replace much of what we eat?
According to the researchers’ estimates, 20,000 times less land is required for their factories than to produce the same amount of food by growing soya. Cultivating all the protein the world now eats with their technique would require an area smaller than Ohio. The best places to do it are deserts, where solar energy is most abundant. When electricity can be generated at €15 per megawatt hour (a few years hence), their process becomes cost-competitive with the cheapest source of soya.
Could a similar technique also be used to produce cellulose and lignin, eventually replacing the need for commercial forestry? Is there any inherent reason why the hydrogen pathway could not create as many products as photosynthesis does today? Could it help to change our entire relationship with the natural world, reducing our footprint to a fraction of its current size?
There are plenty of questions to be answered, plenty of possible hurdles and constraints. But think of the possibilities. Agricultural commodities, currently using almost all the Earth’s fertile land area, could be shrunk into a few small pockets of infertile land. The potential for ecological restoration is astonishing. The potential for feeding the world, a question that has literally been keeping me awake at night, is just as electrifying.
None of this means we can afford to relax and wait for an infant technology to save us. In the meantime, as urgent intermediate steps, we should switch to a plant-based diet and mobilise against the destruction of the living planet. You could start by joining the Extinction Rebellion that launches today [Wednesday].
But if this works, it could help, alongside political mobilisation, to change almost everything. Places which have become agricultural deserts, trashed by giant corporations, could be reforested, drawing carbon dioxide from the air on a vast scale. The ecosystems of land and sea could recover, not just in pockets but across great tracts of the planet. A new age of global hunger becomes less likely.
Crude and destructive technologies got us into this mess. Refined technologies can help get us out of it. The struggle to save every possible species and ecosystem from the current wave of destruction is worthwhile. One day, perhaps within our lifetimes, they could repopulate a thriving world.
shared with thanks from .. https://www.monbiot.com/2018/11/06/an-electrifying-idea/ illustrations added