Solving the future is easy. All you need are tens of millions of modern Americans to shun the traps of mass production and mass consumption. Get back to the land to grow life and living, not money and mega-mire. Hippie dee do dah, hippie dee yay; my, oh my, what a wonderful day.
While we wait for the behavioral epiphany of those tens of millions, how about this: Technology holds promise we are only beginning to visit. Sure, the digital age has helped to compound our worries big time, but why can’t we foster and incorporate sustainability minded technological advances?
The film “Digital Food” addresses a pervasive foundation of any society. Everybody’s gotta eat. For instance, why shouldn’t we build urban food factories -- highly mechanized, calibrated, controlled, and efficient?
Why shouldn’t chemists filter food aromas and compatibilities through databases and software toward manufacturing resources-savvy, nutritional, taste-optimized food concoctions (ever aware of Soylent Green and other icky pitfalls)?
Why shouldn’t everybody have tools that instantly tell that foods have gluten or antibiotics or slime, whatever, thus promoting more and better transparency than any tracking label or commercially ticked checkbox?
Why shouldn’t profit-for-good, venture capitalists jump into farming, investing in data driven designs sustaining kumbaya crop optimization? (“I’m looking at this spreadsheet, Fred. It says we can eat better, cheaper, cycle-of-life lamb chops using way less oil and no leeching, toxic chemicals. I know how much you like lamb chops, Fred, and please pass me the kale quinoa salad.”)
High tech organic farming need not be a self-contradictory term. Yes, be suspicious, but scrutinize strategies that we might actually scale to a world saturated with modern expectations. “Digital Food” not only exposes us to a kind of thinking we should consider, it shows us that practical, tactical modern food production -- with tons of ecological benefits -- is already starting to happen.