For many people, humanity growing its food and products is not possible, and there are yet to be solutions for addressing human health issues and concerns. However, from numerous studies, experimentations, the possibilities are evident only that people are not taking them seriously. Three speakers Ron Finley have provoked this debate through in “A Guerilla Gardener in South Central L.A,” Andre Forgacs in “Leather and Meat without killing Animals,” and Pamela Ronald in “The Case for engineering our Food” have presented some TED talks to confirm how humanity can grow its food. All the three authors have different perspectives to the future of food, with a majority voting for using science and biotechnology in producing foods but only Finley sticks with the conventional means of gardening and organic farming as the most sustainable for the future generation. Hence, for this exploration, by comparing and contrasting the three talks, the future of food production is seen to be leaning more towards biotechnology and genetic engineering, but concerns are also be raised on the need to embody the conventional farming like gardening as the most healthy and sustainable.
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Ron Finley was driven by watching people dying from curable diseases and a concern on obesity being highly prone in Central South L.A. He proposes that natural gardening is a solution to food problem and the dangers of the current food system as evident with dialysis centers popping up and wheelchair sales going up. Food solution will begin by community making use of the vacant lots, as he gives the example of L.A currently leading the USA regarding vacant lots. Growing own food through gardening is therapeutic and teaches the younger generation to be self-sustaining. It teaches kids the dangers of eating bad food; when they are not shown how food affects them, they pay no attention. Educating the current generation to do gardening is a means of guiding them towards sustainable living, and he quotes “Get gangsta with your shovel and let that be your weapon of choice.”
Andre Forgacs questioned that “If you can grow human body parts, it is not possible to grow animal products like meat and leather?” From the past 30 years, humanity has raised and slaughtered billions of animals for making handbags and hamburgers. Rearing animals is being wasteful. Yearly, 60 billion animals are reared for eggs, poultry, goats, yet to double to 100 million in future. Animals use land and water resources and produce significant amounts of greenhouse gas. More animals kept close together breeds diseases and open room for harm and abuse. However, animals are made of tissues; therefore, biofrabrication could be used by starting from the simple unit, the cell, and not a complete complex organism like animals since the process has been successful in the growth of blood vessels, windpipes, and skins from simple cells. The method is “humane, scalable, and sustainable industry.” For instance, Leather should be reimagined as the widely used commodity, grown from a simple cell which is two-dimension, also less polarizing for consumers and regulators. Growing leather from the cultured tissue is simple, convenient, no wastes, no hairs, durable, elastic, and soft. Biofrabriction is environmentally sustainable, efficient, and humane.
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Pamela Ronald insists that GMO is a way of nourishing the population without destruction to the environment. She provides the example of rice cereals developed from the genetically engineered foods. A problem of concern is how 70 million farmers are living under less than $2 a day, are unable to plant due to floods. GMOs offer flood and pest resistance options for planting rice since flooding has increased with climate change, but the GMO rice withstands two weeks of submergence. She provides an example of the IR64+ Sub 1 rice, which 3 and half million farmers have planted to greater success and Papaya whose infections have been limited or reduced through genetic engineering. GMO address the problem of having to use insecticide exposure as indicate that “300, 000 thousand people die annually in the less developed countries due to misuse of insecticides.” GMOs can also be used in reducing malnutrition, an example being in the less developed countries, 500 children go blind because of lack of proper nutrition (Vitamin A).
From the authors, the future of food production is seen to be focusing towards addressing a specific need. For instance, Ronald suggests that GMO should be embraced because it leads to better results in terms of improving the nutritional value or content, addressing food shortage, help adapt to the climate change and overall, helping the less developed countries to cope with the raging problems of hunger and malnutrition. There is a similar stance in Forgacs who supports biofrabrication by using technology for producing meat and leather. He assumes that this will address the concern of keeping more animals that produce more greenhouse gases, use more natural resources like water, food, and overall, contributes to diseases. In the same note, Finley suggests a food production approach that addresses the concerns of unhealthy eating, especially fast foods and teaching the younger generation gardening as the only sustainable means for future food production. All the arguments seem to suggest that food production in future will be addressing a need.
Accordingly, when comparing all the arguments, there is a similarity in the manner in which the authors are arguing their points. The speakers tend to focus on debunking common beliefs. For instance, Finley is trying to convince the masses that it is still possible to do gardening and grow one’s food in the contemporary society where people are more inclined to eat from fast foods. He suggests that the best way is teaching the younger generation the need to embrace healthy means of food production, which is through gardening. In the same sense, Forgacs tries to persuade people to debunk the beliefs that the current food production processes are humane. The implication is that 60 billion animals are reared despite the impacts they have on world’s resources, disease implications, and greenhouse gases. There are safer and humane ways which people should think about. Ronald, instead, is a pro-GMO advocate, suggesting that people should debunk their thoughts that the foods are harmful. She backs her arguments with research and evidence to convince the audience or the population. Hence, they all have similarity in challenging the usually held beliefs in food production and convincing their audience that their ways are the most efficient and safe.
However, the three authors have different perspectives. For one, Finley argues and suggest food production from a health-conscious standpoint. He decries obesity and severe health problems which should call for a shift to organic farming like gardening to help the current population with the deaths and health complications. On the other hand, Forgacs assumes a humane approach by suggesting that killing animals is humane and keeping animals is also not safe for humanity hence the need for biofrabrication. Ronald, conversely, uses the food and nutritional advocacy approach, suggesting that the world is grappling with food shortage problem and GMOs are the cheapest way to provide disease and pest resistance as well as nutritious foods. Therefore, all have a different perspective in addressing the future of food production.
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In summary, from the three authors, the future of food production is discussed from different perspectives. Food production in future is set to address a need. Some will be addressing the need for healthy eating, others for humane ways of producing foods which are sustainable to the environment and humans while for GMOs, the approach is for addressing food shortage concerns and nutritional issues. On the other hand, they suggest that people should debunk their held beliefs so that they can embrace the current approaches to food production, like the impossibility of gardening sustaining food production, biofrabrications not producing meat or leather and GMO not addressing food shortages or being unhealthy for consumption. However, all have different perspectives, because, with food production, some suggest that the sustainable way is organic farming or gardening, but biofrabrication or technology could address the challenge of keeping more animals although GMO is the best solution to shortage and nutritional problems facing the world.
- Finley, Ron. “A Guerilla Gardener in South Central L.A.” TED.com. Mar 6. 2013. Web. 13 January 2018.
- Forgacs, Andre. “Leather and Meat without killing Animals”. TED.com. Sept 19, 2013. Web. 13 January 2018.
- Ronald, Pamela. “The case for Engineering our Food”. TED.com. May 4, 2015. Web. 13