“I’m a ‘food and water extremist’… my views are, if you’re not thinking about the future of global food production and water supplies, you should be denied both!” 😀
“Of course I want Israel to become a leader in feeding the population and providing drinking water… … it would solve the BDS movement within a week or two!”
Terraforming areas of the planet for food production?
In a conference held by the Israel Export Institute and attended by many foreign companies, Israeli startups present their most revolutionary solutions to the increasing shortage of food, products and land as the world’s population continues to grow.
The Israel Export Institute on Monday held a conference in which the most contemporary trends in the field of food-tech and agro-tech were presented.
The conference focused on the challenges the world is expected to face in the upcoming years and the solutions Israeli startup companies have to offer.
“The State of Israel has always invested in development and innovation in light of the reality we live in,” Chairman of the Israel Export Institute Adiv Baruch said.
“In this day and age, we are witnessing a shortage of products, food and land. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach over 9.5 billion people, which means food consumption will increase by 70 percent. The only way to provide this amount of food is by employing food technology methods and Israel has become a huge food lab that operates for the good of the world,” Baruch said.
Representatives from all over the world attended the conference. “Guests from Latin America, Africa and the united States are taking part in this conference in Israel in order to learn and be exposed to the new solutions we are leading,” Baruch said.
According to the food-tech department head at the Export Institute, Sahar Yazdanpur, “Israel is a food-tech superpower, and currently has over than 300 food-tech and agro-tech startups—from companies that provide food substitutions to companies that manufacture alternative proteins and sugar-reduced products.”
Over the past 20 years, the Israel Export Institute has been the home to companies manufacturing a wide range of ingredients and local Israeli food. The institute introduced the Israeli industry to the international market by collaborating with prominent retailers, food experts and reporters from all over the world.
A Foreign Trade Administration (FTA) senior official at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Ofer Forer, said that “The global food-tech industry—especially as far as investments and technological cooperation are concerned—is becoming increasingly important in the activity of multi-national companies.”
He added that those companies—that send their representatives to Israel to scout new technologies and team up with Israeli startups—are looking for innovative solutions, which Israel, as the startup nation, can offers.
“We already have several success stories of foreign companies whose representatives came to Israel with the help of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry in cooperation with the Export Institute in order to examine possible collaboration in the field of food-tech and smart packaging solutions. Furthermore, Australia’s Visy Industries has recently invested in an Israeli food-tech startup,” Forer said.
A look at how JNF is helping Israel be at the forefront of revolutionizing how water is treated, and many countries are lapping up that knowledge
“Everything begins with water,” Abraham Tenne said while walking through the Sorek Water Desalination Plant a few kilometers outside Palmahim Beach, south of Tel Aviv.
And he would know. The independent consultant on water and wastewater treatment and former chairman of the Water Desalination Administration has traveled the world explaining how Israel has managed to do the impossible: transform an arid desert in the Middle East to one of the leading countries developing water technologies and exporting that know-how across the globe.
Jewish National Fund-USA has been a critical element in making this a reality. Through building up to 250 reservoirs responsible for raising Israel’s recycled water from 5% to 85%, rehabilitation of rivers and transforming the Beersheba Stream into an oasis in the desert, supporting educational programs such as Green Horizons to teach young children the value of water conservation and helping preserve water for Beduin in the Negev, through its Wadi Attir project and more, JNF is implementing its overarching mission of making life better for the people of Israel.
“Green Horizons not only helps save water, but also is an educational tool. Water is precious and teaching children the importance of that is absolutely critical. This is what JNF helps to accomplish,” Marc Kelman, the JNF Water Task Force chairman, said.
Kelman was part of the organization’s delegation visiting Israel to see these projects unfold firsthand. The mission, called “Israel H2O: A JNF USA Tour on the Trail of Israel’s Water Solutions,” hosted water professionals, people from arid climates and, of course, those who simply have a love for Israel in their hearts.
“Our main purpose is to expose participants to water challenges and solutions of the State of Israel. We have traveled the country from North to South, visiting prominent water sites to understand how Israel can solve not only its challenges, but also supply water to its neighbors,” explained Talia Tzour Avner, KKL-JNF chief Israel emissary, who served as the tour’s director.
“One of our goals is to brand Israel positively. Not only to create that image but to export that knowledge to the rest of the world,” she said.
And exporting knowledge is what the Start-Up Nation is doing best.
While Israel did not invent the concept of drip irrigation, it perfected the modern-day version of the innovative process, and since 1959, has taken it to the next level, so much so that other countries, both developed and developing, want a piece of the action.
From a 2016 Obama administration initiative which called on Israeli firms to find solutions to California’s water crisis to JNF’s own Arava International Center for Agricultural Training, which trains farmers in developing nations like Vietnam how to use Israeli agricultural methods, Israeli cleantech know-how is spanning the globe.
Tenne believes water should be a nonpartisan issue, and it is politics that is preventing California – and America in general – from realizing its water conservation potential.
According to a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, nearly one million Californians are exposed to contaminated water, with mostly rural areas affected. A Dateline edition earlier this year interviewed residents outside Los Angeles who bemoaned a lack of water and even at one point saw “sand coming out of the faucets.”
“There are political and bureaucratic challenges. We have these problems in Israel too, of course, but before 1999 we reached a consensus because we were in a time of crisis,” he said.
“The US doesn’t have that consensus yet; they don’t have a master plan,” he explained, adding that the situation in America is further complicated by the many different utility companies that own the country’s water supply.
And visiting delegations are, in his view, not enough to solve America’s water crisis.
“Yes, we have delegations back and forth, but if politicians don’t make a decision, nothing will happen,” he said, recalling his experience with California state staffers in Sacramento two years ago, who listened intently to his ideas – but no progress was made since his visit.
Even though Israel recycles about 87% of its water, that is not to say Israel is itself out of the woods when it comes to supplying its citizens. With rainfall decreasing 50% in the past years, and the population set to double by 2050, Israel needs to drastically increase its water resources soon.
“JNF’s vision is to bring 500,000 people to the Negev and a further 300,000 to the North. That means more new residents need water in the years to come. This is an initiative that needs widespread support,” Tzour Avner said.
Dr. Rodney Glassman, a JNF board member and attorney who holds a PhD in arid land resources sciences, believes Israel’s water achievements are analogous to how JNF itself has grown over the past decades.
“This trip highlights the evolution of JNF. It used to be that every Jewish kid’s favorite bar mitzva present was a tree certificate from their Aunt Barbara in Baltimore. Today JNF’s capabilities are evolving with the needs of Israelis. Israel is now a country that is the best of the best. Who does America call now for creative solutions? Israel. Investing in Israel’s water future through trees, reservoirs and technology is really about investing in the survival of Israel,” he added.
The trip was an emotional one for Glassman, who arrived with his younger brother and 76-year-old father.
Witnessing the modern-day miracles Israel is accomplishing every day captivated the delegation. In Sorek, for example, 26,000 cubic meters of water an hour are blasted into massive filters in an energy efficient way and supplies 20% of Israel’s water demand.
At Shafdan’s Wastewater Treatment System, even the slight smell of sewage wasn’t enough to distract the group when they toured the facility and saw how it transforms sludge into water suitable for agriculture.
But for Robert Glassman, a Jewish farmer who has been leveraging technologies perfected in Israel while farming for over four decades in Central California, the water innovations paled in comparison to spending time in Israel with his sons.
While pleased with JNF’s contribution to Israel’s water future, spending a week with his sons in the Holy Land resonated with the elder Glassman the most. “I just wanted to come to Israel one last time with my boys,” he said.
And perhaps that is really the overarching story about Israel itself. Despite its technological prowess or innovation, at its core, its beckoning call to Jews can be hard to ignore.
Pile on the vegetables, nuts and fruit! Your eating habits could help save the planet.
By Alessandro R Demaio, Jessica Fanzo, Mario Herrero
Source: The Conversation
If we’re serious about feeding the world’s growing population healthy food, and not ruining the planet, we need to get used to a new style of eating. This includes cutting our Western meat and sugar intakes by around 50 per cent, and doubling the amount of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes we consume.
These are the findings our the EAT-Lancet Commission, released today. The Commission brought together 37 leading experts in nutrition, agriculture, ecology, political sciences and environmental sustainability, from 16 countries.
I’VE BEEN SAYING FOR YEARS… WHY NOT FEED THE PLANET ON INSECTS!
(looks like we’re killing them off as well though, sooooo…. )
They’re high in protein, low in cost, eco-friendly and tasty. And only in the West have we resisted them.
Insects could be a game changer in the race to combat food insecurity and achieve zero hunger – the theme of this year’s World Food Day.
Eating insects can help fight hunger and food insecurity. They are a fantastic source of nutrients – like protein – and food at times when the production of commonly eaten staple African food crops, like maize, fails due to the changing climate, droughts, or insect pest damage.
Eating insects is an ancient practice which is still prevalent today. About two billion people, more than a quarter of the world’s population, eat insects. Most live in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Insects should be tapped into as an excellent tool to fight hunger and malnutrition because they are abundant, healthy, have less of a carbon footprint to produce and can offer a range of business opportunities.
Why eat insects
Abundant: Insects are abundant in Africa. The continent is home to over 1900 edible insect species – mostly beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, wasps and ants.
And insects reproduce quickly and have high growth rates. Insects can attain maturity in less than a month. Most insects take three weeks or less to complete their life cycle. At the same time, farming insects doesn’t require much land and water as traditional agriculture does.
Insect farming is already happening in Africa. In Kenya, for example, crickets are produced in buckets and crates where female adults lay fertilised eggs under a wet cotton wool. After a month, the eggs hatch into nymphs that feed on vegetables, soy flour and water. It takes three months for crickets to mature into adult stage. In Zimbabwe, Mopane Worm Enterprises grow trees on to which the moth lays its eggs. These then hatch and the larvae feed on the leaves. It’s at this stage that the Mopane worm is harvested.
Healthy : Insects can serve as sustainable alternative sources of proteins and other nutrients. Insects are rich in essential amino acids and protein. They are sometimes superior per ounce, to traditional protein sources including beef, chicken, goats and sheep. Nutritional benefits can vary from one insect species to another. For example, the Orthoptera group of insects, that contains grasshoppers, yields the highest protein content.
Better for environment: Agriculture and livestock, are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike agriculture, insects produce far fewer greenhouse gases: one-tenth the methane and one-three-hundredth of nitrous oxide.
Money makers: Insects, provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to think outside the box. Millions of Africans are already eating them and new businesses could be developed. They can be eaten as they are, or processed – for instance into protein powders to serve as supplements. Several start-up businesses have been launched focusing solely on producing insects for human food and animal feed. These range from countries like Netherlands to South Africa and Kenya.
Insect eating is widespread in Africa.
In Cote d’Ivoire, a recent survey reported that over 59% of the surveyed respondents were eating insects. Similarly, in Zimbabwe, a recent survey reported most of the people surveyed had eaten insects. Consumption happens mainly in rural areas, rather than in the cities.
In South Africa, insect eating is normal. Topping the list is the Mopane caterpillar – a delicacy that’s eaten in other African countries too, such as Zimbabwe and Namibia.
In Kenya, farmers and entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to eating insects to fight hunger. Termites, for instance, are being eaten by small-holder farming families to supplement meals due to failed harvests. Farmers are also rearing insects to sell in local markets. A recent survey in Kenya, showed that over 80% of respondents said they ate insects, with termites, and lake flies topping the list. Others eaten include grasshoppers, locusts, ants and crickets.
Rolling it out
Tapping into insects to fight hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition doesn’t come without some challenges.
As an entomologist – that has maintained insect colonies in the laboratory—I know firsthand about what these are. Managing insects needs careful attention and management. This includes regulating temperature, humidity and observing high hygiene standards, since insects are highly susceptible to microbial and bacterial infections. At the moment there aren’t any laws governing this. New legislation must also be put in place to ensure that entrepreneurs that decide to venture into insect farming maintain proper food and hygiene standards.
As challenges, like droughts linked to climate challenge, continue to exacerbate food security challenges, insects provide an opportunity for innovation.
Esther Ndumi Ngumbi, Distinguished Post Doctoral Researcher, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Considering we’re killing off the insect species and causing irreversible soil erosion at an alarming rate… I’m thinking we’re heading full speed towards a Handmaids Tale scenario! 😀
I have a solution… eat a fat stupid American! Yeah like Jeffrey Darma… kill, dismember and freeze the fattest, stupidest and most environmentally ignorant American (European) you can find! 😀 The meat will provide enough protein, sustenance and nutrients for over a year, and you’ll be helping to save the planet!
The Danny Hurley Eco-friendly fat stupid American diet!