Here are four issues that we can focus on to begin to find solutions:
1) Waste: What we consume is as vital as what we waste. If the population will grow by nearly 30 percent in 2050, it mirrors the calculated food waste we have in the world today, which is 30 percent (closer to 40 percent in the U.S.). If we marry that gap we might solve the 2050 shortfall. Education is key and an essential cornerstone in how we teach the next generation of chefs. At ICC we have started new curriculums inspired by Chef Dan Barber's WASTed dinners, which are gourmet meals created entirely from food scraps that most kitchens would consider trash. Our students learn to look at waste and use it in a new context. But this problem can't be solved by chefs and restaurants alone. We must also look at how much a farm, a distributor, a factory or a family throws away. Food has value down to its peels, bones and husks. People can adapt to realizing their value very quickly. Food shortage makes an overnight teacher. Periods of hunger caused by economics, climate change or war whiplashes people back to respecting and cherishing every morsel of food they eat.
2) Water: Since the recent droughts throughout the west, southwest and even New England, people are concerned about our water resources. Is this the responsibility of good government, science or we as individuals? I think the shift has to move to the consumer. We pretty much know the calories of what we eat but do we know the water profile? A single tomato can drink up to 19 gallons of water. Knowing this, it poses an individual challenge. On my next trip to California should I eat a local tomato? Even more troubling, should a west coast company grow tomatoes and ship them to New York or China?