Food production has always been impacted by unpredictable external factors. Weather events like droughts, floods, early freezes, hail, and heavy rain; pests and blights; shifts in demand due to population changes and economic volatility have had often devastating effects on food systems. Technology has significantly reduced uncertainty; we have weather forecasting, techniques to boost crop resilience, and tools to accurately predict supply and demand. Yet external pressures on the food system remain, and in some ways have become more challenging.
Among the greatest pressures is resource scarcity; water, nutrients, soil, and farmland are all required by our agricultural system, but are in many cases becoming increasingly limited. The food system is also strained by climate change, which is shifting weather patterns, increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, and in many cases exacerbating resource scarcity. Meanwhile, global population growth will require our food system to feed more people than ever before.
These challenging conditions illustrate the value in thoughtfully designing efficient, regenerative systems that eliminate waste and are resilient to external shocks. Because ultimately, the question isn’t whether these pressures will persist—it’s how effectively our systems can be designed to respond.