[Stowe Boyd’s meditation on the future][wwmf], focusing on what some call “speculative design,” really ends up focusing mostly on food. 40% of the energy used in American homes is for cooking food. Cooked food is 10,000 years old and was itself a transformation of human energy usage, which had focused our ancestors for one-third of every day, chewing. Tomatoes are 90% water, and yet we insist on raising them in the California desert only to truck them to places like New York city which gets 45 inches a rain a year. (And, it turns out, 40% of the food consumed in Shanghai is grown within the city — fascinating!)
I was especially astonished to discover that only 5% of plastic grocery bags are recycled, and Boyd’s mind leaps from such facts to provocative statements like this:
> I have been following food tech for a few years, and that’s happening, but slowly. It’s growing quickly though: it’s one of those spiky, fearful futures. Can we dismantle the industrial food system before it has a Lehman moment, and the world’s dicey, massively interconnected, patchily regulated food system crashes like the housing market?
My experience among farmers is that they are an amazing resources that we completely ignore. Here I am, living and working in a state that has a fantastic agricultural base which has proven itself capable of incredible innovation — e.g., the crawfish boat — and the leaders of my state our focused on doling out tax subsidies to the entertainment industry, as if that’s our only future. This completely ignores the light manufacturing base that has grown up around the oil industry but could be focused on almost anything: these people are incredibly smart and flexible. One need look no further than the [Provost brothers][pd] who re-invented the surface drive watercraft industry.