CONVERGING TECHNOLOGIES for SUSTAINABLE and HEALTHY FOOD
In the coming decades, there will be the need to propose a new approach to the challenge of providing, in a sustainable way, food security and healthy food to a growing population. Malnutrition is prevalent in many parts of the world and predictions are that it will get worse as the population grows. However, there are estimates that caloric production capacity today could easily meet the need in 2050 if we could only match capacity and nutritional quality to the need. Much of the mismatch is because of a wrong quantity/quality ratio, or because areas of need are separated from areas of production. Innovation has the potential to allow more capacity to be produced nearer to the areas of need, supporting local realities and variations (crops, climate, population, culture) according to specific demands. In this framework, a further challenge comes from the effects of global climate change. An interdisciplinary forward looking approach, which considers food systems and the food chains embedded within those systems, will be necessary to address these challenges. In collaboration with a group of international experts we developed the concepts of a “SmartGrid for Food Systems” and of “Diversified Adaptable Food”, which support the engagement in research and the development of technologies to address common issues, and connect food systems in order to avoid finding individual solutions for each problem.
Within the topic “Converging technologies for sustainable and healthy food” we organized two international workshops focused on “Diversified Adaptable Food” (May 2015) and “SmartGrid for Food Systems” (May 2017). Invited international experts, policy makers, politicians, and NGOs reached a consensus on the following criteria: supply and variety should match nutritional, social, and economical needs; resources use (soil, water, energy, genetic resources, human resources) needs to be optimized in terms of efficiency and sustainability; agricultural ecosystems and ecosystem services need to be supported; priority should be given to food quality and not only quantity.
Focusing on existing and emerging technologies as well as innovative processes, a SmartGrid needs to be developed to: monitor and evaluate local and regional key supply chain data; connect capacities and needs through distribution networks at various levels; connect different food systems (nodes of the SmartGrid) through monitoring and predicting response to future climatic, environmental and socioeconomic conditions; adapt production processes and technologies to resources.
The results of the workshops have been presented at several international conferences (see foresight.cnr.it/working-groups/wg-food).
The organization of a 3rd workshop in collaboration with WG Health is in progress. Aim is the identification of knowledge gaps in the relationship between health and nutrition, and the determination of priorities regarding proper technological innovation. In particular, we will focus on the development of a personalized nutrition contributing to a personalized, predictive, participatory and preventive health care.
“Smartgrid for Food Systems” at “Seeds & Chips” Monday, 8 May
WG COORDINATOR: Cecilia Bartolucci
TEL: +39 06 90672673
In collaboration with: NeutralScience, www.neutralscience.org