We Need To Get Ready To Feed 2 Billion More People: 2015 In Food

Here’s the bottom line: It’s almost certainly going to involve giving up meat–and eating bugs.

By 2050, farming will have to change if the world is going to keep feeding itself. We’ve already passed peak chicken and peak milk. At the same time climate change keeps making it harder to grow food, two billion more people will need to eat.


In 2015, as one response to the challenge, urban farms went mainstream. Vertical farms popped up in unexpected places, like a vacant lot in Wyoming and an abandoned steel factory in New Jersey. New tech made it easier to manage farms remotely, and a Japanese company designed an indoor farm entirely run by robots. Elon Musk’s little brother planned hundreds of urban vegetable gardens, and L.A. passed a law allowing residents to plant free gardens on city land.

Since meat is one of the biggest causes of climate change, 2015 also saw a proliferation of meat alternatives. The lab-grown hamburger got a whole lot cheaper. Designers offered bugs for dinner. A startup tried to market seaweed that tastes like bacon. An all-vegetarian fast food joint–aimed at meat eaters–opened near San Francisco.

As production changed, companies also tapped into waste as another source of food. In Boston, the former president of Trader Joe’s opened a grocery store based on a new concept: By saving healthy food from the landfill, the store makes it as cheap as junk food, changing diets in the poorest neighborhoods.


1. A Vacant Lot In Wyoming Will Become One Of The World’s First Vertical Farms
A unique conveyer belt design allows the three-story greenhouse to be efficient and sustainable, providing jobs and fresh produce to the Jackson community.

2. This Grocery Store From Trader Joe’s Ex-President Makes Healthy Food As Cheap As Junk Food
Former Trader Joe executive Doug Rauch has opened a Boston market that brings healthy food to people who usually can’t afford it.

3. Take A Mouth-Watering Tour Of School Lunches From Around The World (And The Embarrassing U.S. Equivalent)
Eating at the school cafeteria could’ve been amazing—if you grew up almost anywhere but the U.S.


4. The $325,000 Lab-Grown Hamburger Now Costs Less Than $12
A real burger made without the cruelty and pollution is now within reach.

5. In L.A., Now You Can Use City Land For A Free Vegetable Garden
Instead of driving to the store to get quality produce, L.A. residents can now plant gardens sandwiched in between sidewalk concrete and asphalt.

6. This Desktop Edible Insect Hive Grows Your Daily Protein At Home
If you can stomach the whole mealworm-eating part, it’s a lot easier than raising chickens.


7. The Psychology Of Why So Many People Are Anti-GMO
Scientists say that GMOs are just fine. But the public thinks otherwise. Are our fears rational?

8. Yes, This Super Healthy Seaweed Really Does Taste Like Bacon (We Tried It)
Could it be the next kale? The quest to engineer the mother of all superfoods that scientists describe as “like God’s vegetable.”

Dwight Eschliman

9. A Visual Guide To All Of Those Unpronounceable Ingredients In Processed Food
What do those mystery chemicals actually do? Take a tour of the most common additives to find out how food scientists modify what you eat.


10. This New Vegetarian Drive-Thru Wants To Redefine Fast Food
The popular organic frozen food brand, Amy’s Kitchen, joins the burger wars with a burger that’s not a burger at all.

11. Kind Bars Exposes Outdated FDA Guidelines In A Debate Over What’s “Healthy”
Kind wants the FDA to admit that some fats are good.

12. This Farm In A Box Can Grow As Much Lettuce As An Acre Of Land
Who needs a green thumb when you have the CropBox, which grows your plants automatically, and can be adjusted with a smartphone.


13. No Fridge Necessary: These Containers Keep Produce Fresh Without Electricity
The beautiful ceramic and hardwood set relies on age-old principles that keep fruits and vegetables in even better shape than using the fridge.

14. Meet The (Other) Musk Brother, Who Wants To Change The World Of Food
While Elon Musk tries to solve the world’s transportation and energy problems, his brother Kimbal is working to transform what we eat.

15. In Ikea’s Kitchen Of The Future, You Won’t Have A Fridge, But You Will Have Drones
Get ready for a smart table that finds a recipe for you when you put your ingredients on it.


16. The World Has Reached Peak Chicken, Peak Rice, And Peak Milk
We no longer have the ability to harvest from the Earth at ever-increasing rates. What does that mean for the future of the food supply?


About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley