Can we produce our way out of food system problems?
April 4th, 2019
The global food system is one of the biggest drivers of global environmental degradation. This will only worsen if increasing population and consumption generates increased production in the future. Solutions to this challenge often focus on increasing production through ‘sustainable intensification’, and commonly include closing yield gaps, genetic engineering, or expanding organic and/or urban agriculture. However, an assessment of existing studies suggest that such “hard path” solutions, from the supply side, will be insufficient to meet our food and environmental goals of the future. On the contrary, “soft path” solutions, such as reducing waste and shifting diets, are needed to deal with the magnitude of the problem. Soft path solutions, focused on improving efficiencies and reducing demand, have huge leverage, such that even small changes can have large impacts. The open question is how we can achieve such shifts.