SXSW 2019

Food of the Dystopia: Beyond Bugs and Beans


Climate change, pollution, and overpopulation are making traditional food growth and harvesting difficult. Recent years have introduced meat and dairy alternatives, like lab-grown meat, insect protein, and nut milks, but eventually those will become inaccessible as resources become scarce. You can't farm mealworms without grains to feed them, and you can't get almond milk if the trees can't grow. In the dystopia, food will have to be RECYCLED. Scraps and sewage will become sustenance. If it sounds gross, that's because it is -- but it doesn't have to be. With the right engineering, wastewater becomes beer, discarded grains become wheat, and human waste becomes nutritional goo. The future may not look promising, but these scientists and food innovators firmly believe we won't starve.

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  1. Climate change, pollution, and overpopulation are changing our world in ways that make traditional farming and harvesting increasingly difficult.
  2. All organic waste has high nutritional potential. Scientists are finding ways to convert scraps and sewage into sustenance. It tastes pretty good.
  3. Humans of the dystopia will have to redefine "food." Avoiding starvation will mean reframing food as pure nutrition and seeking it wherever possible.



Yasmin Tayag, Senior Science Editor, Inverse

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Food
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner

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