Please keep your WholeFoods Heirloom tomatoes for the end of the article.
The World is facing a great challenge. We need to reduce our carbon footprint, but at the same time keep producing the same or more amount of food, and distributing it around the world. Globalization and the Internet make us know each other (the good and the bad) and trade our food without any consequences. Mostly because we were eating petroleum subsidized food. Unfortunately, the liquid dinosaur bone is not renewable and a big pollutant.
So, people now are trying to figure out how to replace the petro-based-food-system with an alternative that provides enough or more access, and control of the daily apple.
My hunch is that we will see a rise in two technologies that will unbundle a big part of the agricultural production world wide. Robots and Biological Products. This two together will unleash a great untapped principal in the agro-industry: exponential growth. Nature, if leave by itself, will do their best to keep growing, to expand, to do more from less. Biological based practices, like regenerative agriculture, and Biological based technologies, like BioProducts (Inputs) and BioSolutions (On Season analysis), not only will extend the cropland lifetime but also will allow the fields to diversify into multiple crop types. This will change the landscapes all over the world.
Robotics, as a partner in this ecosystem, is a clear path for replacement of labor and improvement in efficiency. The labor of the fields will be delegated to science and art. Robots, as the cost go down, will enable that fields produce in an automated way, with more precision and continuous improvement. We could produce food everywhere.
Most of the current problems of food access are related to impoverished communities that have no access to technologies that enable them to produce more. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, when technology arrives to the fields, the farmers want to leave. Technology liberates them from the toil, and the empty space becomes harder and harder to fill in. And so far, we have been using chemical fertilizers and crop protection inputs, and ilegal low paid immigrants, to outset that trend but that would not be the case in 30-50 years. Robots made of reusable materials, easy assembly and high reliability will be the norm and with the biological solutions and inputs, it will move the humanity to the next step. The abundance of the distributed agriculture system. At that point, hopefully we have started to reverse Climate Change and no asteroid had hit us, otherwise, we will have to start to think of new problems to solve, as we have been for the last couple millions of years.