In this weeks blog, I'm picking on plant-based foods, specifically, Impossible Foods, who've been very bold about their large-scale mission...
With a goal of eradicating animal meat consumption by 2035, Impossible has set out to do the audacious, or the impossible. Kudos to them for seeing a problem and being brave enough to set out to do something about it. Impossible Food’s “mission impossible” is based on the theory that man can concoct better food in a lab than nature has the capacity to by taking readily available plants and adding vitamins and minerals to round out a “complete and nutritious meal”. And doing it all in a “more efficient, responsible fashion which creates a more scalable, faster-reacting food chain, cuts food cost, and will eventually taste better as they continue to hone the craft of manufacturing taste and texture…” Impossible Meats has taken much of the animal protein market by storm since it began 9 years ago, and for good reason. Animals are not harmed, the products taste good, the nutritional panel checks out, it’s cheap, and eating plant-based is trendy.
While the recognition that factory farming the way agriculture has largely done it for decades now isn’t sustainable or profitable for the earth is highly commendable, here’s what I see: A fabricated, sterilized, isolated food system with some deep, dark corners that are overshadowed by the surface-level feel-good points.
Engineered food is NOT the answer to a healthier planet. The earth does not function without animals. Food grown unnaturally(with implements & chemicals) is not only less nutritious, it is 100%unsustainable. Grass, legumes, forbs, and woody browse grow naturally with zero human coddling. Animals naturally thrive and proliferate in great diversity on these diets without any human intervention. Take a drive through a monoculture farm field and then swing into Yellowstone or Yosemite and cast your vote for what feels natural and sustainable. Animals are the most sustainable, most nutritious food source on planet earth(even more so than plants because plants rely heavily on animals to thrive). Instead, we blame man’s management mistakes on animals and pluck them from the landscape as if they’re a scourge.
Scalability increases efficiency only to a certain point(far smaller than Impossible or Walmart are today). Beyond that, it’s more about market share pride & greed. The answer to food chain sustainability is decentralization. More small producers and processors feeding smaller, more local communities of people. A consumer-direct model cuts more cost than mass-scale efficiency ever could.
If we raise animals in truly sustainable environments, as nature intended, and honorably field harvest on a small scale with respect, we’d have a nearly infallible system that we as a human race could feel truly good about. Granted, due to cheap food and mass marketing dollars, a 100% regeneratively produced free-market society seems impossible also.
“Better” is often complex but not in the way of technology.
(Though we can learn a lot about how well nature is designed through technology)
In these modern times, a 100% regenerative food system may feel impossible, but that won’t keep us, alongside others, from pedaling away in our little corner of the prairie.