The Future of Food

The future of food has become a hot topic among food writers and thought leaders. Accordingly, the New York Times is sponsoring an event in November called Food for Tomorrow, to which I've received an invitation and committed myself to attending. Others, who will speaking and attending, include Mark Bittman, food columnist for the The New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan, author of Cooked, In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma and Dan Barber, executive chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and author of The Third Plate.

There are a lot of dimensions to consider when thinking about the future of food. There's our own personal health. There's the health of the domestic, as well as global population and the impacts that has on our economy, from the national debt to the costs of running the health care system. There's also the impact of our food choices for the future on the environment and on climate change. All in all, I think that the food system and how we choose to eat going forward is going to have a major impact on almost everything else that we do. And we won't have many chances to get it right.

This conference is focusing in on four specific areas:

  • How do we address hunger among the poor?
  • What sort of diet will keep people healthy and be affordable?
  • What can we do to ensure food security?
  • How may climate change affect food production worldwide?
For me, there's one starting point in considering each of those four questions. And that is, the future of food must become plant-based. I don't know any other way that we can actually sustain food production in a world that is growing in population every day. And in a world in which more and more citizens of the third-world are coming to adapt middle class lifestyles. Or in a world where heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes has become so prevalent.

For each of the four topics being addressed, I believe that a whole foods, plant-based diet provides the best option going forward. This is the point that I will raise throughout the conference. However, I'm not going just to make my points heard. I'm also going to learn. Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, as well as others, have been leading thought leaders in getting us to recognize the importance of plants, the importance of sustainable farming and the importance of food on the environment. I have much that I can learn from them. And that too is part of why I'm going to this conference. It's something I'm looking forward to.