Plausible food futures harnessing technology
Equitable nutrition for culturally-diverse food practices, harnessing tech while creating a scalable economy for the human civilisation
Food futures for Hosur 2050
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Large company (over 50 employees)
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Hosur, a quaint industrial city in South India, has a total area of approximately 100 km^2
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
We are technologists and designers who have moved to Bangalore (Bengaluru) for work and now we call it our home. Hosur is a breezy industrial town next to Bangalore. A slightly offbeat place which is also known for its exotic roses. Our relationship with Hosur started with a short trip en route to Chennai for work. We had stopped by for food and took a detour to the interior of Hosur where we were mystified by the lush green paddy farms, Orchards of fruits and vegetables and Roses of various kinds. After that, we kept going back to the villages around Hosur to look at the floral beauty, to lose ourselves in conversations with the farmers which had been amusing as well as informative.
Our farmer friend, Muniyappa has a rose farm. He takes us for walks in the farms, telling tales about how the landscape had changed from the past. He keeps reminding us of the hardships he had to go through to get water, labour and the other necessary rose shoots for the next harvest. Another farmer friend of ours, Jagadish talks about the Elephants grazing over his farm produce. He also talks about the time he spends with his family savouring the Ragi Mudde (Balls made of ground Finger Millet flour) with Chicken Curry. Though he feels that growing Ragi (a variety of millet) is very laborious, the result is delicious.
Our other friend, Shruti who is an Automobile designer at TVS Motors plant finds peace at Hosur sans the hustle-bustle of Bangalore and also has access to the fresh produce of the farm vegetables at a shop around the corner of his street. These are some of the friends that we made during our short trips.
We mostly spend our lousy weekend afternoons at a small check dam at Anekal or at Muniyappa’s Rose farm near Thalli. These are places around the Hosur town where we find comfort in nature's arms. No wonder this place is called Little England by the British for the weather and the rich heritage Hosur hosts.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Woman selling vegetables and dried fishes at a Sunday market.
Our farmer friend Muniyappa in his rose farm.
Muniyappa's rose farm ready to be harvested.
Farm workers working in Ragi and Jowar farms
Newly hatched chicks being incubated to grow.
This tranquil breezy town with its striking resemblance to England earned it the tag of ‘Little England of India’ during the British colonization. Photo Credits - AJdarphynit
Hosur at an altitude of 880m boasts a tropical climate with temperatures averaging between 17˚C - 33˚C and year round pleasant weather conditions.
Photo Credits - AJdarphynit
Aerial view of Hosur, approx 100km^2 in area
It’s easy to miss that, just 45kms from the hustle and bustle of Bangalore is a quiet little town of Hosur, in Tamil Nadu. This tranquil breezy town with its striking resemblance to England earned it the tag of ‘Little England of India’ during the British occupation.
CLIMATE AND TOPOGRAPHY
Hosur at an altitude of 880m boasts a tropical climate with temperatures averaging between 17 C - 33 C and year round pleasant weather conditions. The Hosur landscape has always had long stretches of vegetable farms and rose gardens growing exquisite export quality roses.
URBANISATION OF HOSUR: AS AN INDUSTRIAL HUB
Hosur has been primarily rural or sparsely inhabited in the past. Times have changed, and the greens of Hosur are now interspersed with medium-sized enterprises as well as manufacturing units of large Indian conglomerates. Hosur is still predominantly rural however being a satellite town of Bangalore it is now well connected via trains and the town looks forward to hosting a domestic airport.
Rapid industrialisation had brought in scores of people to come and settle in Hosur and take up well paying jobs in the industries. The progress has not been without its own perils though. Eutrophication level in Hosur lakes has been a concern lately and with the decreasing magnitude of annual rainfall and groundwater potential there is marked fall in the ground water level.
SOCIAL DYNAMICS, CULTURAL TRADITIONS, LANGUAGES
India is known for its cultural diversity and towns like Hosur which are blessed with a unique advantage of having 3 diverse south Indian languages like Tamil, Kannada and Telugu spoken in one place. Migrant farmers, most of whom are Telugu speaking came and settled here as farm workers. With the division of the states and its attachment to Tamil Nadu, more and more Tamil speaking people moved into Hosur.
ROLE OF AGRICULTURE & CROPS
On a leisurely drive to Hosur, one would see crops like Ragi (Finger millet), Jowar (Sorghum) and vegetables like flat beans, local spinach and coriander growing in lush green farms. Such fresh produce is consumed by locals at homes. People of Hosur love Ragi. Our farmer friends Muniyappa and Jagadish like most of the other farmers here are either 2nd generation or 3rd generation farmers who had inherited the farm land and practices from their ancestors. The farming technology and practices have been passed on from generations together.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Jagadish is a 3rd generation farmer growing grains and vegetables on his farm. Absence of crop rotation, heavy reliance on fertilisers, pesticides and hybrid varieties led to deterioration of soil. Lack of awareness and helplessness forced him to overlook the silent damage being done to the natural ecology of the region. Climate change has been detrimental contributing to drought or offsetting the traditional growing seasons.
He also runs a poultry farm which faces frequent heat waves decreasing immunity of the chicks and reducing their chances of survival. Chicks subjected to antibiotics produce drug resistant bacterial strains which get into the diets of both human and animal systems.
The aspiration of Hosurites has been influenced by different food cultures and newer palates. The lure of fashionable fast food is competing with their traditional dietary habits. Unbalanced diets added onto their unhealthy lifestyle, increases the incidence of non-communicable diseases.
Shortage of farm labourers is the biggest challenge. According to Jagadish, migrant labourers are often unreliable, prefer shorter contracts and possess insufficient knowledge of local crops.
Jagadish’s neighbour, Selva had been consistently losing money due to crop failures. Exacerbated by reduced rainfall and agrochemical spends, increased financial pressures and drove him to commit suicide. Farmer debt and Government apathy adds to the ever growing financial burden of farmers.
Hosur being at the trifecta of 3 linguistic regions enjoys a multi-cultural outlook. Post-Independent India brought significant industrial establishments which led to a spike in occupational migration and cultural exchange. This also led to its inherent culture to change especially around family values, food habits and social behaviour.
Despite Hosur being a hub for engineering and manufacturing companies, the surrounding farming practices are outdated or less than ideal. Muniyappa brought up with old beliefs and practices is reluctant to adopt technology. Simply importing farming technology might not work for farmers without overhauling the ecosystem.
Farm schemes are generally politically motivated and lack understanding of impact and outcomes. Muniyappa was able to avail government subsidy only after he setup a greenhouse and a cold storage facility. Therefore only a few farmers are able to avail it due to the costs involved.
Now in 2050, As technology has become more pervasive in the daily lives of Hosurites, ensuring an ethical co-existence of people, environment and technology without unintended consequences is a challenge.
Professions that had been traditionally producing food are getting scarce. The labourers are forced to move onto specialised roles in the new system.
New species of flora and fauna had emerged with the increasing use of genetic engineering. As a consequence new divide has emerged between pure organisms and spliced life forms as well as newer diseases to tackle.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
PRESENT CHALLENGES ADDRESSED:
Roses being less dependent on fresh water is an ideal vegetable to grow considering Hosur’s low groundwater level in 2050. Government subsidised social farming practices ensure pesticide free production with minimal agro waste. A lot of Hosur homes grow their own food and there are lots of ‘Cook your own meal’ cafes to choose from.
Unhealthy food variants of the bygone era are now replaced with newer super foods like rose cabbages and termites. Printable ragi ink aestheticised in various forms and crunchy termite snacks (high in Vitamin C and cholesterol deterrent) are a staple catering to varied cultural aspirations. Some Hosurites also prefer growing crops in their personal food computers or socialise in a local food printing booth.
Dependence on autonomous farming machines meant cheap and always-working availability of labour. This also meant that most Hosurites had completely outsourced their abilities to IoT farms. Food printers are now ubiquitous in every Hosur household, which means a democratised means of aesthetically designing your own food. This has led to a new field of ‘Food design’ emerging providing an employment opportunity for Hosurities.
Technological advancements like Food Printers and Food Computers would provide the flexibility and control to the Hosurites to produce and prepare delightful meals from locally available raw materials safeguarding their inherent culture around food habits.
Blockchain based food allocation system manages to avail the control of food supply chain to the consumers and producers of the system. This decentralised system with authorised participants will let the producers/farmers to avail resources to aid their farming practices to cater to the consumer needs. Most governments around the world have now adopted virtual currencies and blockchain-based alliances to manage their systems.
FUTURE CHALLENGES ADDRESSED:
Industrial revolution led to newer forms of farming practices that were dependent on heavy machinery. In 2050, as Hosur farmers outsource most of their farming practices to intelligent machines, policies like ‘Equitable distribution of farmlands’ for social farming and ‘Controlled use of forest’ for crops growing in wild forests were game changing.
With democratisation of food farming practices, there are very few who farm the traditional way. The traditional farmers of yesteryears are now advisors to policymakers and technologists to ensure sustainable policies and technology around food preparation and consumption practices.
The fear that genetic modifications leading to unintentional consequences was controlled with policies and norms promoting sustainable genetic interventions.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
The fight for resources is one which has been plaguing humankind since millennia. Starting with cave human skirmishes to the Oil wars, the lust for supremacy over constantly diminishing resources has brought about irreparable damages to planet Earth.
Feeding 10 Billion people, both on and off the planet without overburdening our fragile environment is indeed a challenge for humanity. Just as every era has triumphed over its share of challenges, 2050 is no less a complicated canvas of the Anthropocene. Advancements in technology have always been levelers of society and attempt to construct egalitarian communities. Contemporary paradigms of the human condition continue to orchestrate moral debates and dictate the concept of nourishment
Hosur, an important spaceport on the interplanetary transport network, provides for both terrestrial nutrition demands and human-tended extraterrestrial outposts. Having witnessed massive climate change and volatile geo-political scenarios, Hosur was quick to adopt and adapt to the rapid technological and socio-economic changes considering its strategic position at the trifecta of regions, cultures and economies.
Owing to its history of being an industrial hub and agricultural research centre, Hosur effortlessly hosts a multitude of ethnicities and culinary practices. This infusion of culture, influenced the region to embrace new sources of essential nutrients. AI operated aeroponic farms cultivate a mix of native and non-native crops in a system which is extremely water efficient and devoid of agrochemicals. Autonomous drones manage and maintain farms while blockchain ensures data security and financial asset transfers. Entomophagy is widely practised, as livestock farming has shifted to a more subsistence model.
Hosur, has not only championed global food production and processing but also serves as a model for inclusive development across the solar system. India takes the lead on the fundamental right to be free of hunger.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Food System map of 2050
Food System map of 2020
Future-casting : Hosur to 2050
Genetically modified edible roses being harvested by farm-droids
Shruti preparing Rose curry
Food printer preparing food.
Visitors taking a walk in the Ragi forests while the farm-droids forage for food.
Growing food in a compact personal food computer.
Anaaj - The first of its kind blockchain alliance of foods
Growing insects for food.
Our imagination of the future with our vision realised.
ROSES ARE RED
MASTER-CHEF SANJIV WITH A NEW RECIPE
Sanjiv had a breakthrough in his career in bringing flowers into mainstream food practice, Thanks to his True-chef title, which made this popular. Sanjiv, a Hosurite himself grew up in the rose fields and this discovery of using Roses in the dishes was inspired by the local cuisines which the Hosurites have adopted in the last few decades.
A RICH COLOURFUL SAUTE OF VEGGIES
Rose had subsequently made into Shruti’s weekly list of veggies, which she buys from the shop around the corner. Genetic interventions improved the size of roses making the flower to be acceptable as a vegetable. She would slice the roses and add them onto a sauté of vegetables making it a treat for the eyes and the taste buds. Roses being rich in Vitamin C has been found to have amazing benefits which makes her feel satiated.
ROSE EXPORTS HIT A NEW HIGH
Hosur has been the lead exporter of roses in the past. Previously, Rose was grown as a cut flower crop to decorate weddings and other occasions. But, the new avatar of the rose as a vegetable made it more financially viable to farm roses and export them to International and Extraterrestrial markets.
WATER SCARCITY MEETS WATER ABUNDANCE
With the recent advancements in technology, Aeroponics is used to grow roses in greenhouse environments. Water conservation has reached a new level in Hosur due to this. Subsequent rains in the leeward facing town had made Hosur hydro-sufficient. This would have been not possible without the Governments linking the rivers and lakes thereby increasing the water tables.
Shruthi had in mind to print ‘Ragi udon noodles’, a Japanese variant that was recently introduced as a part of the food package ‘Japanese traditions with a twist’. Just as she was about to hit the ‘Prepare’ button on her food printer an advertisement popped up for ‘Ragi Mudde’, a traditional ragi preparation that was a staple in Hosur some 100’s of years ago. That set Shruthi reminiscing about the stories narrated from her grandpa times.
FOOD PRINTING BOOTHS
Food printers have become an enabler for broadening the possibilities of food design (both aesthetically & combinatorially) breaking the silos between culturally rich food preparations while minimising the wastage of food. Food printers are now ubiquitous at homes as affordable personal printers and on the market streets as social food printing booths. The food printing booths have been so well adopted in Hosur and its adjacent cities that they come with artisanal food variants where local chefs can make money by preparing new recipes and promoting them.
ThoughtWorks had worked with the local chefs consortium to prepare a platform for sharing software recipe blueprints across geographies and extra-terrains. The food printers could use these blueprints to prepare the food as per the specifications provided. Several food designers as they call themselves have created recipe blueprints and made a living out of their creativity. Rahul, a veteran food designer who had moved to Hosur from Sydney, got reminded of Pizza Moghul which Dominos had created ages ago. He had created great pizza recipes and that made him popular then.
SNAP - SAVE - PRINT
Shruti could now save a photo of her favourite dish and her home food printer could print the same dish for her anytime later. She could prepare the dishes which had been thought as difficult to be prepared, in minutes with little resources. The printer lets her configure the food to match her taste with the ingredients that she likes. The printer also suggests to her the right ingredients based on her body vitals.
Ragi once used to be the poor man’s staple, until its emergence amongst the urban consumers for its nutritious values. Now In 2050, Ragi has reached yet another height with advances in agricultural biotechnology. Ragi is now a single source of all nutrients that is required for a human-being. Tailored diet plans advocates consumers how much Ragi to intake based on factors like their age, profession, body conditions etc. Diet plans also ensure consumers consume only what is necessary, thus reducing wastage.
Since ragi is consumed daily, in order to prevent boredom there are artefacts that help in its aestheticisation making it exciting. Inks for different colours, olfactory essences for smell and customisation of form and shape using food printers. Aestheticisation and customisation also allows people to make something special and gift someone, or make something special for special occasions.
Hosur Municipal Corporation had created special ragi economic zones to produce ragi in large quantities to feed the population. Since, Ragi consumes less water and nutrients. It has become the favourite crop of the masses to counter the water shortage of the area. Also, with the introduction of farm-droids, it has become easy to maintain Ragi farms which was considered the most labor intensive crop. The Farm-droids manage the farms and forage when the crops are ready for harvest.
PERSONAL FOOD COMPUTERS
Now in 2050, you can produce your own food requirements through personal food computers. Install a digital farm in your home and operate from anywhere in the world. When you come back home, you could enjoy a fresh and hearty meal from your own garden. The size of food computers restricts people from growing in abundance or hoarding.
Now that every urban home has a food computer enabled micro farm, the failed terrace garden stories back in the days is just a faint memory. These open source food computers are transparent, low cost to procure & install, gives complete control to the user with its custom DIY settings to come up with your own little farm. This reduces pressure on the environment, is faster and fail-proof.
BLOCKCHAIN FOR FOOD ALLOCATION
ANAAJ - THE BLOCKCHAIN
Recent policy changes in India have brought in major reinforcements for food security. The policy changes took into account the four pillars of food security : Availability, Accessibility, Utilisation, Stability. The food security act 2050, introduced ‘Anaaj’ the first of its kind blockchain alliance for food allocation. This gradually reduced the cost of supply of food by reducing the damages and the leakages and the decentralisation of procurement.
With food being allocated in right quantities, wastage of resources became minimal thereby reducing the pressure on the environment. By suggesting the right crops that are needed to replenish the system, there was reduced dependency on fertilisers. Also, Storage of food grains has improved with the maximal utilisation.
Today Hosur, the neo-city in the south of India has been rated the best of all local distribution systems. The local government has been working hard for years together to ensure each of their citizens get the adequate food and so as the farmers get the right price for their produce. Successful execution of required policies along with the implementation of Anaaj had guaranteed the IT-enabled delivery to be fair and transparent.
Blockchain-based food supply chain has authorised participants including producers and consumers reducing the risk of inefficiencies, errors, and fraud in the process. Blockchain-based food tracking has been contributing towards certification of food sources effectively.
The overall health of the society has improved with malnourishment reduced to an all time low. It has enabled the poor to get educated and take better jobs as they need not struggle for food supply. There is co-existence and harmony between people and their natural environment.
Hosur had been known to have a history of eating insects in the past. Insects have become an integral part of its residents’ protein source leading to a brighter and more sustainable lifestyle. A lot of edible insect innovations have contributed towards making insects an important nutrition source for protein, vitamins and minerals. Thereby reducing the dependency on proteins from their four-legged counterparts which had been known to emit more greenhouse gas. This has also reduced the risk of transmission of zoonotic diseases.
Winged termites (local name: Eesal) have been known to be eaten for ages. Farming winged termites require less resources and less water which has solved the issue of “high prices of essential commodities, and low returns for farmers”. Today many strains of the winged termites are consumed by the locals as part of their daily meal. The abdomen of the insect is the most delicious of all, it is eaten as poriyal (sauté) on the side or as kulambu (curry) accompanied by Rice or Ragi balls. McPeters in Hosur had introduced winged termite topped chicken burger which has become a hit within a week of its introduction.
Following the winged termite revolution of taking over the main stage on the food arena, Silkworms have crawled their way as growing food source among the Hosurites. A large number of exotic silk worm cafes have sprouted across the city. Hosur has been a centre for silk production in the past. But, not until the migration of Koreans, the moth which was used solely for silk production had an edible side. Koreans who came to this industrial city to transfer their technology know-how brought their cuisines as well.
With the increasing appetite for insect based food, Hosurites have started farming winged termites and silkworms. For its innate advantage of having less carbon - footprint as compared to meat, the government has boosted the farming of these insects in a big way by providing subsidies and loans for setting up the farms. The youth are showing great interest in farming these insects which has now become a part of the local diet.
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