Is all the food organic/regenerative? It will be if that is what the educated consumers request or require. If non-organic/non-regenerative foods remain at all in the market, consumers will have the ability to make those informed decisions on their own.
Where do the seeds inputs come from? The short answer is the market. Organic/regenerative or other qualities that may become important in 2050 will be fully disclosed through smart labels including information about the vitability index. Ideally, consumer demand in a transparent market will align producers with consumer desires.
I have some first hand experience with a Colombian coffee grower of specialty coffees. This grower was producing specialty coffees for local consumption. One day, the grower discovered that those coffees could be exported at a premium price. Based on the outstanding quality of those coffees, other foreign consumers started to ask if they had available other varieties. The grower found a way for obtaining heirloom seeds that would provide additional varieties. They also transitioned more land into organic production, and improved their production methods to address the expanding markets willing to pay a premium for better quality and unique sensory experiences. This is a clear example of how the market drove organic farming or heirloom varieties of coffee.
Thank you very much for reading our proposal and asking some questions about it.
TODAY 2020: Less than 1% of the food consumed in Austin is local (Travis county). 9.3 acres of farmland are lost each day; over the last 11 years, Travis County has lost 25 percent of its farmland. Below some of the numbers that compose that 1%: • 67 community gardens in Austin. • 23 community gardens on City-owned land. • 34 urban farms in Austin. The rest of the food (99%) is, based on information we could collect, sourced from, • Vegetables: Mainly Mexico with a very large participation of conventional agriculture. • Meat: Nebraska and the western Cornbelt. • Fruits: California. It is also easy to spot fruits from Chile. Additionally, most of the organic produce sold in Austin comes from California. • Poultry and eggs: Commercial producers out of the state.
Who are the farmers that will supply food in 2050 to Austin? The answer to this question is not very straight forward because I need to offer the context for that.
Our proposal is based on the idea of developing and promoting vitable systems. A Vitable System is a human dynamic adaptable system that is able to survive without losing its identity in unforeseen dramatic changes in the conditions of its operation while respecting the cycles of life in balanced conditions. The characteristics of a vitable system pertaining to your question are, a. It is Planet aware, making decisions that benefit Earth rather than hurt it. b. It is sustainable, and 3. It is regenerative. A complete definition of vitability is included as an attachment to the submission. Vitability is a concept developed by Nutripromise.
In 2050, Austin will be part of the HASA (Houston, San Antonio, Austin) megacity. Agricultural areas in close proximity to Austin will not be available unless they are protected by what we call the Vitable Food Production districts. We also call for urban farmers within the urban perimeters. For them, we envision virtual farmer markets and grocery stores that will facilitate their commercial activities supported by clean transportation.
On our vision, farmers in Austin, like Peter – our vitable food entrepreneur in 2050 -, are individuals who are formally trained to produce food under very unpredictable weather conditions, how to use technology that support their business, including traceability of their foods, the Vitability food index, and commercialization. As Peter, farmers of 2050, find that technology is an essential component in their efforts to offer their products to a larger global market by taking advantage of very cost-effective transportation methods.
Let’s use Peter’s words to describe how those farmers will supply food to Austin in 2050: “In Austin, we work with open markets and highly educated consumers that compel producers to provide goods and services in a vitable fashion that benefit the City, and by extension Texas and the nation. The tool that drove and continues driving those efforts is the vitability index, that is of voluntary participation. The vitability index allows consumers to know what the best foods for them and the environment are. … By applying Vitability, Austin has found a straightforward, consumer focused solution to the problems we are now facing. Foods with a smart label showing a Vitability index are available next to non-vitable food. Educated consumers get to decide what they want. Fierce competition between producers has led to innovative ideas such as Local Vertical Farming 2.0 and the exclusive use of renewable energy resources. Food waste has been reduced as food that is grown, manufactured, and transported, but not consumed has a strong negative impact on the overall Vitability score. Most importantly, the food system we have today is not static. Clear lines of communication between consumers and all those involved in the food value chain ensure that as consumer preferences change, all producers will have the same opportunity to meet that new demand.”
How many do you need to meet the demands of what your vision is suggesting?
The model works with open markets, so it will be the forces of supply and demand the determinant of the number of farmers needed to support Austin, and by extension, the very interconnected Food Value Chain of the future. However, we anticipate that at least 20% of the food consumed in Austin 2050 will be produced locally in the vitable food production districts in Travis county. We include a description of those Vitable districts as part of the full vision under the Environment section.
The vitability index is a very sophisticated tool that promotes transparency in the food value chain. Through the market forces, consumers become active participants in the solution by demanding products they want. This is what happens with the increasing tendency for organic production in response to a growing market. The market is the driver.