How A.I. Engineered the Most Delicious, Efficient Basil Ever

Caleb Harper and Risto Miikkulainen were on a mission to grow basil: lots of it, fast, in an industrial environment—and without compromising the herb’s sweet-but-savory flavor. So they did. The two scientists—Harper is a research scientist at MIT’s Media Lab, Miikkulainen is a professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin—and their team hauled a bunch of …

George Monbiot: Stop eating fish until the fishing industry is regulated and fishing is prohibited in open ocean areas. 

Regulating the fishing industry is both cheap and easy. If commercial fishing were excluded from large areas of the sea, the total catch would be likely, paradoxically, to rise, due to what biologists call the spillover effect. Fish and shellfish breed and grow to large sizes in the reserves, then spill over into surrounding waters. Where seas have been protected …

Saving the local grocery store

Excerpt, from the Long Read, May 2019 Grocery stores have two ironclad rules. First, that grocers set the prices, and farmers do what they can within those mandates. And second, that everyone works with distributors who oversee the aggregation and transport of all goods. Harvest has traditional relationships with companies like Coca-Cola, but it breaks those rules with local farmers and …

These Five Cuisines Are Easier on the Planet

By Somini Sengupta, NYTimes.com, April 30, 2019, Leer en español Can I eat well without wrecking the planet? To avert the most severe effects of climate change, scientists say, we have to very quickly transform the way we eat. Food production accounts for somewhere between 21 and 26 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, depending on how you slice the data; food waste …

The process of storing fat – the “weight” many people seek to lose – is influenced by dozens of factors other than calories, including food prep, sleep, genes, gut bacteria and more

The process of storing fat – the “weight” many people seek to lose – is influenced by dozens of other factors. Apart from calories, our genes, the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut, food preparation and sleep affect how we process food. Academic discussions of food and nutrition are littered with references to huge bodies of research that …

Food policy to stop climate change and health crises

Further news breaking on 12 March 2019: Changing rainfall patterns could threaten major crops worldwide in just 20 years, study warns Climate change is likely to alter rainfall patterns in some of the world’s most important food crop growing areas over the next 20 years, a new study says, reports Press Association. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the …

How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms: Across the Midwest, the rise of factory farming is destroying rural communities

Across the midwest, the rise of factory farming is destroying rural communities. And the massive corporations behind this devastation are now eyeing a post-Brexit UK market by Chris McGreal, The Guardian, 9 Mar 2019 When the vast expanse of rural Iowa was carved up for settlers in the 19th century, it was often divided into 160-acre lots. Four farms made a …

3 key traits of good climate policy, tackling the problems we have and making a large, meaningful impact on carbon emissions and climate change

Good climate policy has 3 key traits: It has a large, meaningful impact on carbon emissions and climate change. It specifically tackles the problems that aren’t already being tackled by the market. It actually gets passed into law. All of that is compatible with a Green New Deal.  In just the past decade, solar power has gone from being uneconomical anywhere on …

Hawaii aims to increase food self-sufficiency to 30% by 2020. Indigenous agriculture can help.

In order to meet Aichi Target 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity on restoring 15% of globally degraded ecosystems there is a need to increase the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in ecological restoration activities. Indigenous agriculture has potential to contribute to food needs under climate change, February 26, 2019  The study highlights the relevance of restoring …

The loss of thousands of plant and animal species is affecting air and water quality, tree and plant health, and worsening the spread of disease among livestock—all with dangerous implications for the human population and humans’ food sources

According to FAO’s study of 91 countries around the world, the loss of thousands of plant and animal species is affecting air and water quality, tree and plant health, and worsening the spread of disease among livestock—all with dangerous implications for the human population and humans’ food sources.  At least 24 percent of nearly 4,000 wild food species, including plants, fish, and …