Live Well
December 2019

How Technology Can Help Address Food Production in a Warming World

As we now know, food production is one of the leading causes of the climate crisis. More specifically: worldwide, livestock production is responsible for approximately 15-18% of greenhouse gas emissions; in the US, conventional farming accounts for 9% of greenhouse gas emissions; rice cultivation is responsible for 10% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and 9-19% of global methane emissions. Therefore, it is imperative that we find ways to improve the means of production in ways that will help mitigate the crisis rather than worsen it.

I recently read The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World by Amanda Little. In it, Little notes that there are two strands of thought when it comes to the use of technology in agriculture: the way forward is through technology, and that the way forward is by going back to traditional food production techniques. She argues that these two strands are not mutually exclusive, and makes the case that, in this world of increasing uncertainty around food production, we need to accept solutions that will take us back to traditional farming methods as well as adopt new technologies. She gives examples of technology that is being used to help increase agricultural yields, and to develop new kinds of food products.

I agree with Little that using technology for food production, and traditional farming methods aren’t mutually exclusive but I think one needs to be very careful. My belief is that there is a place for technology in agriculture but I think it’s in the food distribution and management side of it—such measuring soil and water quality, managing and reducing food waste, or facilitating access to food for lower income communities—rather than the creation of new foods, such as alternative meats or dehydrated foods.

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Cook Well

Chickpea Soup

This chickpea soup is great for days when you need warmth and comfort. The harissa is optional but adds delicious kick!
Serves 6 to 8

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 cups (2 cans) chickpeas, cooked
5 ounces spinach leaves, washed
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon harissa sauce, optional
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. 1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.
  2. 2. Add the carrots and celery and sauté until softened. Add the cumin and cook 1 minute.
  3. 3. Add the chickpeas, spinach and vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. 4. Add the harissa, if using, chopped cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.

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I am pleased to announce that my second cookbook, Think Eat Cook Sustainably: 100 Recipes, plus Tips & Ideas for a Healthy World will be published very soon. We are at a critical time, and the decisions we make when it comes to food can have a big impact on the world around us. In the book, I discuss the importance of eating not just for yourself or for your family, but also for the environment.If you pre-order now, you’ll get a free copy of my first cookbook Live Eat Cook Healthy: Simple, Fresh and Delicious Recipes for Balanced Living.




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Articles of Interest:

Sad news for the planet. READ

In order to address the climate crisis, we need to include all stakeholders. Encouraging farmer to find solutions is a way to do this. CHECK IT OUT

Here’s an interesting article on how women are changing agriculture. READ

Climate change is affecting food and wine producers alike. READ

It’s always great to hear that corporations are leading the way in making positive changes for our health and the environment. READ