A Candid Chat With Danny In The Valley On The Future of Food
Did you know apples are, on average, one year old by the time you buy them in the grocery store? Or that due to U.S. regulations, beefsteak tomato skins can withstand twice the amount of impact as your car bumper?
Well, it’s true. And those two tidbits are merely a taste of the many shocking truths in a system that produces the vast majority of our fresh produce.
Don’t get us wrong, this same food system has accomplished some incredible feats; it has taught us how to apply research to boost yield with fertilizers, and to reduce crop loss with crop breeding, pesticides, and other practices.
We’ve figured out how to feed lots of people, produce large volumes of food cheaply, and solve for year-round availability. But that progress has come at the expense of variety, nutritional value, and most importantly, taste and freshness.
So, how did we get here? And why is this the status quo?
One big reason is that farming hasn’t changed much in 10,000 years. We’ve basically known one form of agriculture and — save for a few points of innovation — farmers around the world wager the same high stakes bet again and again: plant and pray.
But we’ve got 7 billion mouths to feed, and with Mother Nature becoming more and more unpredictable, it’s high time we explored what the future of food might need to look like.
Plenty co-founder and CEO, Matt Barnard, sat down with Danny Fortson, correspondent at The Sunday Times and host of the podcast Danny in the Valley (episode #20) last summer to discuss how we might go about transforming this 10,000-year-old industry that touches and impacts all of our lives.
We invite you to take a listen and learn more deeply about Plenty’s vision for the future of farming and our global plan to keep food local.
Highlights: “You’re Eating 1 Year Old Apples”
2:55: Why farming is so ripe for disruption.
5:10: Why if we want to fix our water system and preserve our most precious resource, we have to fix agriculture from the ground up.
8:30: Why you rarely get something in the grocery store that’s less than a week old from when it was picked.
11:00: Why beefsteak tomato skin can withstand twice the amount of impact as your car bumper.
13:05: How Plenty grows food for people, not trucks.
24:30: Why outdoor ag spends 15 gallons of water to grow singe head of lettuce, but we only use 1/5 that amount.
29:09: Why if it weren’t for California, the U.S. would have to import 75% of our fresh produce.
29:48: How Plenty’s approach could bring down the cost of produce by 30-45%.
32:00: The four primary drivers of efficiency in agriculture to date and what the next rung on the innovation ladder.