playlist

What's the future of food?

Scientists and entrepreneurs have been cooking up innovative ways to put food on our tables. What are they serving up next?

  1. 17:53
    Sara Menker A global food crisis may be less than a decade away

    Sara Menker quit a career in commodities trading to figure out how the global value chain of agriculture works. Her discoveries have led to some startling predictions: "We could have a tipping point in global food and agriculture if surging demand surpasses the agricultural system's structural capacity to produce food," she says. "People could starve and governments may fall." Menker's models predict that this scenario could happen in a decade — that the world could be short 214 trillion calories per year by 2027. She offers a vision of this impossible world as well as some steps we can take today to avoid it.

  2. 11:55
    Lisa Dyson A forgotten Space Age technology could change how we grow food

    We're heading for a world population of 10 billion people — but what will we all eat? Lisa Dyson rediscovered an idea developed by NASA in the 1960s for deep-space travel, and it could be a key to reinventing how we grow food.

  3. 5:04
    Matilda Ho The future of good food in China

    Fresh food free of chemicals and pesticides is hard to come by in China: in 2016, the Chinese government revealed half a million food safety violations in just nine months. In the absence of safe, sustainable food sources, TED Fellow Matilda Ho launched China's first online farmers market, instituting a zero-tolerance test towards pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in food. She shares how she's growing her platform from the ground up and bringing local, organically grown food to the families that need it.

  4. 15:34
    Pierre Thiam A forgotten ancient grain that could help Africa prosper

    Forget quinoa. Meet fonio, an ancient "miracle grain" native to Senegal that's versatile, nutritious and gluten-free. In this passionate talk, chef Pierre Thiam shares his obsession with the hardy crop and explains why he believes that its industrial-scale cultivation could transform societies in Africa.

  5. 17:49
    Pamela Ronald The case for engineering our food

    Pamela Ronald studies the genes that make plants more resistant to disease and stress. In an eye-opening talk, she describes her decade-long quest to isolate a gene that allows rice to survive prolonged flooding. She shows how the genetic improvement of seeds saved the Hawaiian papaya crop in the 1990s — and makes the case that modern genetics is sometimes the most effective method to advance sustainable agriculture and enhance food security for our planet’s growing population.