Are you referring to human engagement with food or with each other? If you mean technology reducing human interaction with other humans, I think that’s outside the scope of this comment (lol).
But I assume you’re referring to robot gardens reducing human interactions with food, which is a fair assumption; but I would actually argue robotic gardens would lead to more interaction with your food. At that point, food production would be more “in your face” and transparent than the current system because it's in your backyard or in a basement. In fact, currently, many of the children--at least around here--just think food comes from a grocery store. Most people don’t realize how many miles each calorie has traveled. I would be willing to bet that if people had robotic gardens, they’d not only know where their food comes from but become more interested in learning about the process.
In terms of higher-level engagement with global food markets and trade, if those robotic gardens also traded those ingredients, and even earned people an income from planting permaculture forests and farming them, people would be incentivized to pay more attention to what the current market prices are and where their food came from. In general, people would also be financially incentivized to reforest major areas of land, which also means paying attention to the health of that land. I don’t know how many people currently actively monitor the health of the forests around them, but I think we need more engagement with the general health and regrowth of our forests. I think in this vision, such a system would not just financially incentivize regrowth of forests, but also the active engagement with and monitoring of their health.
As an aside--just because a robot maintains a garden, doesn't mean you can't go dip your hands in the soil (or even guerilla plant something for fun just to confuse the robot). Likewise, just because you have a robotic chef to prepare the meals from that garden, doesn't mean you can't make them do the prep work (and clean up) and you cook the main course.
These would be tools to assist in producing healthy, organic, and hyper-local food while utilizing the waste in a circular fashion.
I don’t want to get into the statistics about how business as usual isn't working, or how we’re definitely not trending towards using less technology, but I would agree that engagement with our current system does need to change, because is lower than it’s historically been; and meanwhile there are a record number of bankruptcies for those farmers getting engaged in it due to the effects of a changing climate. In general, we do have the ability to get engaged today--yet we’re not, and many of those who do get engaged don’t seem to be finding the financial compensation they probably expected.
Didn’t mean to have this comment get so long--let’s just say I too am excited to talk more next week about ways to engage people with the food production process!