2038. Today, two out of three earthlings live in cities. In two decades, food and its production have been radically transformed. Agriculture has become mainly urban and local.
Agritecture , or the successful combination of architecture and urban agriculture, is now the norm. Urban farms born in the early 2000s have set the trend. Today, in the major cities, large vertical and self-sufficient energy farms have been installed, often based on aquaponics, while residential buildings include several floors or terraces dedicated to growing crops. Light, temperature and humidity are skilfully controlled, water is carefully dosed and recycled, and pesticides and insecticides are banned. Smart systems oversee and optimise the crops, while adapting the quantities to the locations and the seasons. Fruits and vegetables are no longer transported in trucks, they are produced where they are bought and consumed. Avoiding transportation and limiting storage helps to reduce the carbon footprint, but also leads to much cheaper, fresher, healthier fruits and vegetables.
Even back in the 2010s, robots could pick 25,000 raspberries per day. Today, machines are used everywhere to plant, cut and harvest with precision and incomparable efficiency. Farmers wear enhanced reality goggles or contact lenses, and labour the soil using advanced scientific knowledge and techniques to coordinate the sowing operations
Usbek & Rica is a French media on a mission to explore the future through a magazine, digital content and events. SUEZ gave it a free hand to imagine two forward-looking scenarios on the future of food. Marius Robles, a futurologist, co-founder of Reimagine Food think-tank and creator of the start-up Food by Robots1, commented on both scenarios.
1 - A start-up that is aiming to speed up the use of robotics in the catering industry.
and to orchestrate the work done by the machines. But traditional agriculture is not dead yet. It still exists in many regions, where it plays a fundamental role in preserving biodiversity and living capital in the broadest sense.
What we used to call meat has also changed significantly. Meat can now be grown in vitro from animal cells, it can be synthetic, often based on plant proteins, or it can be reconstituted from a varied range of sources, including plants and insect powder. In the 2010s, several start-ups demonstrated the economic viability of meat that is produced in laboratories from animal stem cells. In 2019, this development resulted in the creation of the MPF, Innovation industrial alliance, with a view to developing the market for meat, poultry and fish produced directly from animal cells.
Agriculture and livestock farming: in cities first