Life After Food

2013, Health  -   141 Comments
514
5.79
12345678910
Ratings: 5.79/10from 121 users.
Storyline

Humanity is going to continue to grow. Everybody eats and everyone needs energy and these constraints are only going to get tighter and we're going to have to improve our understanding of the body and nutrition and design something new.

Some people are calling Soylent the "future food." We're going to meet the man who invented it and find out how it might change the way we eat. And Brian, the host of this little documentary, is going to live on Soylent alone for thirty days straight.

Soylent is a total food replacement and Brian will be living on a mixture alone just like the man who invented it. Soylent, canola oil, fish oil capsules, and water - that's Brian's entire diet for the next month and he's a little apprehensive. He can't imagine eating that for a day let alone for one month straight.

We're going to find out where Rob Rhinehart's team makes the food of the future. Rob doesn't think we're going to feed an exploding population with organic farms. We're going to need to look to the future, we are going to need to improve and optimize things and a lot of that comes from science and technology. So this idea is going to solve a lot of problems in food that we have.

Not just hunger but also the environmental impact and the poorly balanced food which leads to obesity, etc. Rob came up with this chemical cocktail called Soylent and to prove it worked he lived off of it for 30 days. He documented the experience on his blog and his quest to replace food was noticed by the media.

Soon Soylent was a bonafide online sensation. So naturally he launched a crowdfunding campaign to take his project to the next level. He raised $800,000 in less than a month and with those funds he founded a company comprised of bright young men in their twenties. A close friend of the group says they were known as the "Startup Bros" even before Soylent. And indeed this is Rob's third and most successful venture. They're clearly influenced by the culture of the Silicon Valley but instead of designing Apps they're working with food.

More great documentaries

141 Comments / User Reviews

  1. I think the idea is not new and still needs to be improved legally tested to become acessible , dont think its for every one , maybe for the morbid obese , maybe its a easy way to deal with hunger , but usually the problem about food and hunger in poor countries are because of multinational corporations that use resources and polute water cicles , so the problem with food issues will always include the problem of water scarecity and desertification.

  2. I think my adblocker is experiencing some difficulties. Why is there still a 23 minute ad? Oh wait, I see. Nice.

  3. couldn't they come up with a different freakin name? thats creepy. sounds awesome....but damn thats creepy.

  4. Your body wants fiber, enjoy your diarrhea and subpar assimilation utopian slaves

  5. this costs much more than i pay for groceries every week, so i dunno how it is supposed to be a good alternative

  6. The whole Soylent green thing is just hilarious. There is an HBO comedy spoofing the silicon valley startup scene, it's quite funny, but just doesn't really work as the reality is even crazier.
    Still, if someone gave me 200,000 USD to make cheaper, better wireless communications and I'd had nothing to show for it, I'd hope I would come up with the future of food too. They call it Pivoting.
    And they know that if people can be convinced that everybody else is doing it, then they will follow suit.
    Food - Owned.

  7. Real food costs a bit of money. Personally, I believe based on my nutritional studies that whole plant foods derived from plants such as beets, carrots, spinach, and so forth made into a powder will supply many nutrients. Add to this a bit of omega 3 oils like flax seeds or hemp seeds with a some nut/bean milk and it would be far better than these types of products.

  8. you people are missing the point this is meant for people to use if you are a collage student who has little money and has to study all night, or a software programmer who cannot always find time to eat, it is not meant to be all you eat, it is for when you just don't want to or cannot

  9. soylent is a great food replacement, it works for me

  10. I don't see this as a new concept. Products like this, (but obviously ones that have been approperatly tested, or I hope so) are used for individuals who are unable to eat orally and rely on enternal nutrition through G/GJ tubes. Only difference is they have no choice in the matter and lucky for them they don't have to taste it.

  11. This should be illegal, George Orwell would be proud of this creation. The reason why this project raised so much money is because rich oligarchs threw money at it, because it will ruin our health. These kids that make soylent should be tried for crimes against humanity. Support organic local farms, I hope these guys go bankrupt.

    1. totally agree!

    2. Except for sick people. I have a digestive disorder. I can't always eat the foods that balance my nutrient intake. Some foods that are "good for me" make me horribly sick.

      Please don't start giving me all your theories as to why. Every suddenly-i'm-a-doctor type does that and i'm really sick of it.

      Drinks like Ensure are helpful but they're not enough. You can't live on ensure. It is possible you can, at least for short periods of time, live on this.

      So, you know, i get that you insist on living by a rigid philosophy that supports self-identification and social identification. We all do and I don't have any major complaints about that. But sick people just want to live without being sick and I think this could be a potential solution for people who are unable to eat like the rest of you regular healthy folk who are REALLY smug about what the rest of us should be doing.

  12. In brief, I think both the documentary and the product are ridiculous. You can basically survive on anything with calories in it for 30 days, learning very little other than whether you can humanly bear it.

    The basic premise that this is 'better living through chemicals' is complete nonsense. Soylent's primary ingredients are oat flour and canola oil. For people living under a rock: OAT FLOUR AND CANOLA OIL ARE FOOD. They are processed, plant-based foods derived from grains. There is nothing futuristic about these foods, they're grown with soil, sun and water, heavily fertilized, pesticized, harvested and mechanically processed like any other mass-produced agricultural commodities. If Soylent is designed as an emergency energy-supplier, why not add a few more food-products (like HF corn syrup) and make it not only tastier but cheaper?

    I don't understand what Soylent's offering that's not on a million GNC shelves all over the country. There's nothing new about nutritional supplements that claim to be full spectrum.

    As far as the product itself, you want to go on a processed liquid diet of chemicals for 30 days? Try Ensure. it's marginally edible, hopefully contains fewer rat parts and just as many chemicals and GMO poisons, and is more nutritionally balanced than Soylent.

    1. You can fast on water only, for forty days and feel better on day thirty than the day you started the fast I have done numerous forty day fast. i am a vegan raw foodist , have done a fifty day fast on water only {Aerobic water . ultra pure water only.] This muck is genetically modified and worthless Real foods are from the life's giving organically grown plants from the organic farms or mini farms no difrence except the quality of these vegetable juices and fresh fruit juices straight from the tree cant be beaten. This is the real world of good nutrition that creates vitality and youth, Processed muck creates death. Life begets life. death begets death. Simply put choose living fruits and veggies for youthful vitality and beauty. Nothing created in any laboratory can do this. I repeat nothing. All I can say is your a smart girl, and yeah for the intelligent people who have helped inform the disinformed people of the world.

    2. Cripes... there IS actually a need for meal replacements. Because some of us SICK PEOPLE can't always eat like normal people can.

      For us, research into alternative ways of getting calories and nutrients can be life-saving.

      It's not always about smug people who feel the need to tell the world how, what and when to eat. This research can help the sick, the dying and the food-sensitive to maintain quality of life when things aren't working the way they should be.

    3. I've had to live on Ensure before due to illness and it's really not a food replacement. I am sort of hoping though that the theory behind ensure is something medicine perfects over time.. I have a lot of physical pain associated with digestion and I'd love to see the option of taking food in pill form - though I figure we're either a long way from that or it's impossible.

      I get the feeling from all this soylent stuff that maybe it might be better than Ensure? Even though you're right. I can't see exactly what makes this different from all the powders and shakes and chews and garbage i've tried before. Except that it's getting all this special attention. But that's how people are about food crazes. The new big thing always gets special attention even though it's basically the same as a lot of things we've always eaten (take kale for instance. Delicious but similar to a lot of greens i grew up on.)

  13. Some sort of backwards advertising campaign, first calling it Soylent ("It's people!"), then saying it's good enough for the poor.

  14. Why cover a product that is not fully tested or even complete. Why not call it "Food. Step 1 of 5".

  15. 30 days are nothing! Try living on it for 10 years and then come back. Still good whit other perspectives.

    1. One of the first few intelligent comments on this thread. I agree.. but i think again that this "food" is best used as a meal replacement and not as an alternative to eating. In which case, seeing how it manages the system over a 30 day period is a reasonably good start.

      Of course, this experiment should be tested on A LOT of people in a controlled environment. But again, 30 days is reasonable if you're considering marketing it as an alternative to nasty-ass ensure. Which they ought to.

  16. Life without food is not worth living.

  17. omg ... just order a pizza...

  18. cool idea, probably would want to see clinical trials 1st. theirs 2 parts that worry me from the video the part about his jaw getting sore and the social aspect. i was juice fasting for 3 days this summer and on the last night my friends were going to the bar so i figured i was done tomorrow so itll be ok if i hit up the bar lol, 2-3 beers later i was so wasted that i could hardly walk, considering on a normal night i can handle 10 pretty comfortably it was pretty awesome.

  19. google Soylent Green ....

    1. Its Made From People!!!

  20. The Soylent is made of some processed food, which is extracted from natural food anyway. In order to produce Soylent, someone still need to plant and grow the crops, and raising animals. Ordering from company or Amazon does not mean that it is not originated from agriculture. Plus, instead of consuming the food right away, they are heavily processed, which consumes lots of energy and large portion of nutrition is wasted in such process. The final mix of processed powder called Soylent cannot be really the solution for future food.

    1. Some extra information. The guy mentioned that since we know what chemicals are needed and IF we can produce this chemicals in a large industrial scale, the production Soylent of can be much more efficient. Well, this is a big IF. I would like to remind a bit of the organic chemistry: all the organic molecules that human body is made of and consumed has a defined chirality, especially the sugar and amino acids. Till now, these is no large scale chemical engineering possible to synthesize these molecules with defined chirality from simpler molecules.

  21. I wish we did not have to eat anything, period!

    1. I'm sure that is possible in some other dimenssion hehe!

    2. I'd miss chocolate too much!

  22. wow, all I can think of is Hubris with a capital H.

    tell a lie, what also springs to mind is the "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"

    his enterprise is founded on very shaky ground; believing first of all that we understand the complexities of food, and assuming that people can make food better.

    If he did more research he'd eventually find out that we can increase food yields dramatically by working with nature rather than against it, and by doing so could have nutritious and tasty organic food aplenty.

    1. This has nothing to do with replacing "food" as far as I can see? It's about an emergency air drop kind of thing until "real", food can be delivered etc.

      this kid has done something here that could save a lot of lives in a crises! all i see is a lot of envy on these post? i could be wrong?

    2. yeah, that wasn't my impression. I guess I had the sense that he considered Soylent as almost a total replacement of regular food; I mean that's his diet now.

      But yeah, maybe you're right and he was only thinking of it as an emergency thing. I don't think he ever explictly said that though.

  23. I wish those in power to use food as a weapon would stop being so artificial by telling the squalid masses that if they do things our way (which is to drop your trousers and try to touch your toes) that pie in the sky will drop into their laps.Better to take all the fully loaded hand guns confiscated by the Detroit Police Department in one year and air drop them into the poverity zones with notes that reads- a self inflected bullet to the head is a quick,painless,honorable death.And that ain,t no lie.

  24. They say canola oil is "heart healthy" and similar to olive oil. Nothing could be further from the truth. The dangers of canola oil are many check um out ,,,,

  25. The ONLY way that food aid can work is that it Must be accompanied by boots on the ground with fire power,to ensure that it will reach those to whom its intended for.If not then they will have to buy this food on the black market at unaffordable costs,And boots on the ground has never been very popular unless its only self interest.

  26. People,don,t be fooled,this crap is no panacea,but is only designed for quick profiteering that will only prolong the starvation cycle.The teaming meat eaters of the world would never except this and would sooner eat each other(to be sure).I,m a semi-vegetarian (no four legged animals)but I wouldn,t touch this stuff with a ten foot pole.

    1. There's no such thing as a semi-vegetarian.

    2. We know he means? Let it go.

    3. Technically your right.But morally there is still a big difference between a human eating a cow and a shrimp.

    4. In a crises where food destrabution was halted you'd gobble it down in a heart beat! That is what it is meant for. I can't believe the post on here? I don't care what the young mans intentions were or how much money he wanted to make. Lets not BS each other no one leaves any money on the table, PERIOD, save perhaps Mother Teresa and i have my doubts about here.

      The young man ate it for, what thirty days?, He lived and is fine.

      In a 30 or say a 60 day no food crises you have two choices, die or drink his TIHS! Your call?

      No matter what his intentions were it can be used for that!

      "He's making too much money"

      I ask all these nay say'ers What have you done lately to help in these areas of concern?

      LOL to everyone and then some!

    5. In a 30 or say 60 day food crises? Are you joking.Millions of people has died in food crises lasting decadeds.And how can you perceive to know what I would or wouldn,t do have you finally found the lord.Suppose you live on this stuff for 10 years and then report back to this thread your experience.I,m sure we would all be interested to listen to what you had to say.

    6. I can't perceive to know what you would do. You are correct and I am wrong.

  27. This is obviously rubbish and not the way to go. However, I do have a potential answer or answers.
    Please visit eco 1 solutions dottt commm. There you will see an off-the-grid living system that
    includes a toilet (UDDT) that recycles human wastes and converts them to humus (compost) which is then used to grow food (work in progress)
    A grow n recycle food system based on SFG (square foot gardening) that
    means you "never" have to buy food again. A composting of all bio-waste
    system. A water collecting and harvesting/cleaning system. A build
    system using bamboo and earth to easily build your own home. All I ask
    is that you hit like and spread the word to your friends. This
    government-centric 'system' is breaking down and we need a replacement
    (s) that that is economical, ecological and doesn't harm the planet. Please feel free to contact me via the site. thanks.
    Footnote: there are 2billion people globally and 600million in India alone who do not have a toilet and have to open defecate every day. This causes devastating ecological and human problems. I am developing a system / toilet to resolve that situation. Please click 'like' and support / share. thanks.

  28. mmmm sounds very nutritional, all that GMO Canola Oil.. And why only taking it for a month, should'nt he be on it permanently if its so wonderful,you can not beat food as Nature made it, man is useless when it comes to inventing what 'they' think the body needs and how to make it.

    1. I'd do it for $797,000. I would eat tree roots and howl at the moon.

    2. What else would you do for that much money :-) LOL

    3. I wouldn't make a documentary of it.

  29. Anyone ever see the movie Soylent Green? this rings bells

    1. Yup!

  30. Yes, but what about the fact that Canola Oil is genetically altered and your body does recognize it as a food, it stores it as fat, toxins accumulate in fat which is the environment that diseases eventually develop???

  31. Soylent really does strike a bell with me, in the notion of its potential to feed very very hungry people, relatively easily.

    Most definitely Soylent could be air droped into areas where food is scarce. However I find the real kicker may be that transporting powder will ultimately be a pound for pound, cheaper way to get food aid to those who need it.

    What is the dimensional and weight comparison of 1 weeks worth of military MRE's v.s. 1 weeks worth of Soylent? Within answering that, I find Soylent a powerhouse of potential; to change the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

    Great Doc, Great Reporting!
    +1 on the honorable transparency!
    Thx

    1. the LAST thing any military wants is a "food" that causes loss of body mass of a kilo a week when under NO physical stress.

    2. Yes, your right. However it has been said that as an emergency source of sustenance, this product can sustain an individual for months, without solid food.

      And to counter your military qualm, the transport costs saved alone would be worth while. Just think how many pallets can a C-130 drop? 50-100? With each pallet containing say +1000 weeks worth (at the very least).

      I'm sorry Harry, but I'm pretty sold on the "Aid" aspect of Soylent.

      Good point though!

    3. he lost a kilo of body mass a week. the "starving masses" you seek to feed could get similar results by gobbling sawdust, soil, or cattle feces. this stuff is the base ingredients of "cheerios", without ANY preparation. i honestly was truly hopeful to see something noteworthy in the product, but it's plain, unadulterated crap,sold at a premium price. if i was participating in a food riot, and you tossed this garbage at me, i'd toss a molotov cocktail back at you. seriously

    4. You are correct on that one, They air dropped, (choppers) us K rations in Nam when it was applicable. They can air drop K rations as well as soylent (sp) but in a full blown out thousands of hungry people this would be a good temporary fix and lot more cost effective. less weight and trash etc and so on? no little p38, can openers and tin cans again the use of soylent, (sp) is a good thirty day maybe even a sixty day temporary fix until dist. of beans and rice or regular food can be in place?

      For military use of course not as a replacement no.

      K rations are good, ww11 lima beans and ham or beef stew That's what the gave us in Nam. If one was unlucky you grabbed a powdered scrambled egg combo. cookies toilet paper and four cis's and fruit cocktail or peaches in a can.

      I woof it down in a NY second and was looking around for hand outs for seconds. LOL

    5. but what was fed to hmong CIDG and scouts? those "sleeve" rice ration packs, and dried fish. the problem in crisis is NEVER "availability", it's distribution to empty bellies.

      when haiti was sitting in devastated wreckage during their last humanitarian crisis, container loads of rice, beans, flour, and other staples sat in port rotting away, while customs inspectors waited for their bribes to clear it.

      c-130s could just as easily drop rice as "glorp base", the problem is getting the governments to ok such a plan. they usually object due to a lack of opportunity to skim for black market profiteering, potential of the staples actually feeding "undesirables", "national sovereignty" concerns, and no "political glory" for the despot from such a distribution scheme. those same ham-stringing concerns would apply to "glorp" as well as rice. in short, as mentioned by a sagacious poster below, starvation is pretty much a function of politics, not shortage.

      the ONLY advantage of "glorp" is the lack of cooking, but that is negated by the real problem of contaminated water during most crises. the very act of boiling the rice kills bacteria (though not the already existing poisons excreted during their life cycle), which wouldn't happen with "soylent", thus just trading fast starvation for various water-borne pathogens, disentary, and diarrhea.

      honestly, if i thought this stuff had ANY real benefit, i would praise it. i just fail to see any

    6. We are on the same page on this one. I wish these nay sayer's would git off this; "We have to drink this stuff forever or one gets nothing to eat period", kind of connotation?

      Its a wonderful thing for emergency's a blessing sent from heaven in a NO FOOD SITUATION, until thing can be pulled together?

      Geeeeeez!

  32. Well there's a waste of $797,000.

    1. he does appear to have used up many hours worth of the "suckers born every minute", lol

    2. How in the hell did he get $797,000? Is it that easy?

    3. lazy tech geeks embracing "pie in the sky", and having it sold to them at a 90% profit margin (with NO "middle man" involvement)... the richest family in asia are the progeny of the original maker of "cup-o-noodles", after all. though the product is complete garbage, the fundamentals are "golden", at least until some brain starved lunatic shoots up a mall or disco after 6 months of a diet of this glorp

    4. I'm fu@king gobsmacked.

    5. it is mind boggling, isn't it? cheerios, without the overhead of extrusion or baking, sold at roughly 3x the retail price direct from the "plant". incredibly clever marketing. all they need is to hire a basketball player as a "front man", and they will basically have a license to print money, lolol

    6. I'm in the wrong business.

    7. you just aren't sociopathic enough to market such a horrific waste as "food". it bodes well for your humanity, even if your banker would feel otherwise, lol

  33. 65 bucks a week per person is NOT cheap, so, so much for "feeding africa" with it. by their description of its ingredients, it's "cheerios" in liquid form. 65 bucks a week for cheerios 3 times a day is a HUGE rip-off. he lost 10 lbs in a month, while living a sedentary lifestyle (he was slowly starving). his "wandering mind" and "depression" are symptoms of a sugar starved brain (your brain ONLY burns sugars). no chewing, no chance for the enzymes in your mouth to convert that oat flour to sugar. i fail to see the "freedom from agriculture", as it is oat flour (a grain), and rice protein (a grain). so, it tastes awful, makes you stink, slowly starves you, is produced in a rodent infested garment factory, at least some is contaminated with fungi, and costs 3 times as much as it should... yep, sure sounds like "mannah from heaven" to me (masturbatory hand motion combined with eyeroll)

  34. What a stupid concept. If we truly are out of real estate enough to not be able to grow food for ourselves, much much much more catastrophic disasters will have happened by then.

  35. No one to date has ever died from starvation because of lack of food on the planet but because of politics.

    1. Famine and poverty are political issues, their treatment is humanitarian, their solution is anarchy it seems.

    2. i agree & can't believe these things (soylent!) are becoming serious issues....the bad joke behind it is beyond satire!

    3. Yes yes, your all right.
      But do think:

      If you are a starving family... what do you want.
      No food v.s. Soylent?

      Or to be fair:

      Soylent v.s. rice

      I rest my case.

    4. i would take the equivalent value of rice, ANY day. if you mixed it up, equal values of rice, and pinto beans, i could sustain life FAR longer per buck spent.

    5. Rice and beans are being distributed to the people of the Philippines right now, thank goodness!

    6. it is a staple of EVERY caribbean and south american country. you would be hard pressed to be able to consume 9 bucks a day (the daily cost of "soylent") of rice and beans without splitting a gut, at american retail prices (buying equivalent dollar value per week). you would GAIN weight, not lose a kilo a week. to champion that glorp as "food for the starving" is the height of irresponsible misrepresentation

    7. and fried cornbread

    8. cornbread would require other ingredients. cornmeal mush, rice, and beans only require water, and heat. but i do agree corn is also an inexpensive common staple far more suited to sustaining starving masses than "soylent crap"

    9. I was just making lite of the subject. Pintos and fried cornbread here in NC is caviar.

    10. cornbread is a fave of mine as well (though baked, as i'm a yankee, rofl). a puerto rican ex-girlfriend of mine taught me to make "beans the right way", and i've been a huge fan of rice and beans since (though not mofungo, where they are cooked together in a dry pasty insult to both, lol). sazon, recaito, and soffrito are truly divine spices that make the humble legume a culinary giant!

    11. hmhmmm Touche

  36. I think I will wait until the price comes down, the popularity goes up and I get caught in a food crisis.

  37. I think this will do a lot of good for people who don't have food. Along with basic dietary supplements and survival rations, something that can prevent starvation and hunger could be a huge step forward. Now the problem would become preventing overpopulation, otherwise..."it's made of people!!"

  38. I think that the only hope for the world is if some egg heads and their computers can come up with some kind of virtual food.

  39. They guy who invented Soylent should really do some research before making general claims about human nutrition and global issues like food and water crisis. His ideas are based on his narrow-minded opinions, such as the strangeness of "eating leaves", and not based on any actual knowledge, like the necessity of ingesting vitamins in their natural form vs synthetic form.

    And based on the Soylent ingredients listed in the documentary, it could be much healthier. Maybe Soylent (if the proper research is done and has been improve substantially) has a future feeding the sick, impoverished, or military when food cannot be eaten, but only as a temporary thing. Might I add that his idea is definitely not unique, and that better products exist.

    1. Eating leaves is strange and wasteful, as leaves are made of mostly cellulose, which is not digestible by humans. This is why diet plans usually recommend salads with a very light dressing, because it's filling, yet you don't get many calories from it.

    2. There are a lot of lettuces that provide much more than just cellulose and water (Iceburg is mostly cellulose, but not to discount cellulose, for fiber is a crucial part of the human diet). Collards, Kale, and Spinach to name a few, are incredibly nutrient dense and hardly wasteful..

    3. I was replying to your original post which was just "leaves" and not spinach and such. I acknowledge that, spinach for example, will give you fiber and potassium and some vitamins. However, it only gives you 7 calories per cup. These guys are trying to address how to feed a world population of 7 billion in the event of a food crisis (presumably in the absence of arable land) . You need something that packs more of a calorie punch than 7 per cup and leafy plants just won't provide that, especially if you don't have anywhere for them to grow.

    4. You are right, we would need more than salad to survive an apocalypse. However, even when growing herbivorous meat, which ancient societies have based their diet on for thousands of years. That animal MUST eat a wide variety of leaves, greens, and micro-nutrients, microorganismsm, ect. in order to give us really healthy meat. We are seeing the impact now of raising our meat like a machine, and it's very detrimental to our health, our animals health, our planets health. You guys go research Joel Salatin and Polyface Farms...he is America's favorite sustainable meat farmer and he raises his animals on native prairie grasses...just the way nature would do it.

    5. Again we are in agreement, but the number of people we need to feed (which is still growing), exceeds what natural processes can produce.

      There was a very good doc on here about this recently. It was to do with how plants control us and looked at potatoes, tulips, apples and marijuana. They explained how industrial farming techniques, along with the introduction of potatoes in Europe and the engineering of corn allowed a population explosion. Unfortunately, the side effect of this is monoculture and one variable, such as a fungus or parasite, can wipe out the entire system (like the Irish potato famine).

      We are already in up to our eyeballs and are left with the choice of spending millions and endangering health by spraying tons of pesticides, or genetically engineering crops to be resistant to bugs or fungus. Neither of these are fool proof and both have consequences.

      Our ancestors found an equilibrium with nature, but as we got smarter, we found ways to make nature bend to our will. Nature is now reminding us that she's not so easily meddled with. We face a choice. Either continue to engineer our way of life or face a massive reduction in population through starvation and lack of potable water.

    6. That documentary was based on a book written by Michael Pollan. If you get to know him further you'd realize that he is certainly not a proponant of industrial agriculture, nor does he believe that we can't feed the world without it. It is just not true that there are too many people to feed, that is simply a falacy. Biodynamic and intensive agrarian agricultural techniques done sustainably on land used well, and distributed locally would feed the world. Absolutely. There is no doubt. So, we have to move away from the illusion that we only have two choices: Industry or technology.
      That is not true. We CAN feed ourselves but it comes with a huge responsibility. It means putting people back on the land to work it, educating them about how to use the land well, and developing natural systems such as: Permaculture, Aquaculture, Biodynamics, Intensive Cultivation...ect. to produce more in the face of changing natural conditions. Do more research, read more Michael Pollan!

    7. All the things you mentioned, however, are ways of engineering more food production than you get with traditional agriculture (with the exception of biodynamics, which sounds like magical thinking). In reality we are still in agreement. We can't feed 7 billion with traditional agriculture. Our current rate of consumption and the expected increase threatens the sustainability of our current system (especially in the face of some kind of disaster). So, our only recourse is to engineer our way into more food production.

      Given the history of humans in the last 150 years, do you think we'll take the enormous responsibility or the easy way out? Also, what happens to the natural systems you mentioned in the event of ecological and/or economic changes?

    8. Biodynamics was developed by Rudolph Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf Schools, so I wouldn’t shrug it off so readily. There are a few holes in the biotech story and a few questions we haven’t asked yet. First of all:
      Is biotech actually helping to feed the world now? The obvious answer to that is no. There is no evidence to suggest that anything biotech has done has actually improved hunger conditions anywhere. In fact, because of the destructive way they farm…it actually contributes to poverty and hunger more than it alleviates it. As opposed to a monoculture acre, which only produces a handful of deficient grain and poisons the landscape and wildlife. An acre that is farmed organically and intensively, with a wide diversity of crops, also produces a wide diversity of nutrients for the farmer and those who are eating from the farm.

      Permaculture (which is an amazing new educational tool), and all the other ‘labels’ are just words for farming the land well, and doing it so that it produces a wide variety. We see how much land can produce when farmed sustainably in places like the Urban Path to Freedom Homestead in Pasadena, CA…or on a larger scale Veda La Palma in Spain and what it is doing to both produce vast amounts of food and restore wildlife refuge. Or, the Permaculture Food Forests that Geoff Lawton is putting together, or the "greening the desert" project in the middle east...

      So, let’s pretend for a moment that you are right in your assumption that we can’t feed 7 billion people with what I would view as a mix of traditional agrarian culture and innovative new sustainable agriculture. The question then is…can we afford to continue to farm industrially or with biotech? And that obvious answer to that is NO! Industrial agriculture is responsible for about a third of fossil fuel emissions on earth. Plus, it produces nutritionally deficient grain products and degrades the land while doing it. I believe we can feed the world, we have enough food on the planet to do it now, it’s just not getting to the places it needs to go. Instead, we are wasting it in the first world.

      Traditionally, farmers have always had a natural defense mechanism against ecological changes/climate changes. It’s called natural genetic variability or diversity. As an example take two farmers: one of them plants 20 varieties of broccoli and the other plants 1 variety. The weather is extraordinarily dry that year. The farmer with 20 varieties can observe which are better fit to survive draught conditions and adjust his crop to favor those varieties, and next year he can save seed from the plants that did well so he has an even better suited crop for draught. The farmer with only one variety…if it can’t hold up he’s out of luck. This is another area where industrial agriculture fails, it doesn’t respect the gigantic importance of natural diversity on farms, but instead seeks to control the conditions in which it grows only one item.

      Agriculture isn't meant to be centralized. There isn't going to be ONE big fix or one big system. That was a mistake and will always be a mistake. Agriculture should be a patchwork of urban and rural farms and homesteads, urban gardens, rooftop gardens, markets, ect...all over the world. Within your region you should have farmers producing grains, meats, dairy, veg, fruits and medicines as in all regions. Then, with those smaller things being supplemental we also need to re-wild and rebuild the wild because that needs to be a good source of food for people on Earth as it always has been. The oceans need to provide fish again, healthy fish. The forests have the potential to provide meats, greens, fungi, fruits, perennial veg like root crops just as it has always been. Imagine a city that provides at least a third of its food from within city limits from urban gardens and farms. Another third from rural farms (grains mostly) and finally another third from the forests, and rivers surrounding the metropolis. This is how every city should function it supports a network of local farmers, it maintains food sovereignty in the city and if everyone maintains a diverse crop..then it is our best defense against climate change.

    9. here is also no reason that we cannot have a large, thriving civilization of vegetarians. India did it for a long long time, however tropical and productive their land-base is. The reality of our world is that we are products of our environment, and so each culture of human should be adapted to 'fit' it's surrounding ecosystems. Early in human development we saw this but globalization has destroyed any diversification and now, industrial agriculture seeks to halt botanical diversification, which would most certainly halt evolutionary growth. We need diversity, we need groups of people living in a place they call home and forming participatory relationships with the plants and animals of those ecosystems. This is the only way that we maintain a healthy, diversified and 'fit' genetic base.

    10. I agree with you. However, the industrial revolution has done more than seek to destroy botanical diversification. It's already gone and monocultures have replaced it (potatoes, corn, apples, etc.) We are well past the population that traditional agriculture can support and we must now deal with it. GMO is an attempt to deal with it, but it also has it's consequences (and not just the oft lamented carcinogen claim).

    11. Um, you eat leaves every time you eat: Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Collards, herbs, artichoke, ect. Leaves are a very fine food. What she means, I think, is that a wide variety of nutrients and micronutrients (many of which scientists haven't even discovered yet) are necessary for humans to ingest in order to maintain good health. We are not machines, we are a part of a larger ecosystem. You cannot treat ecosystems like machines, you cannot interchange parts for other parts and expect them to work in the same way.

  40. Great, so when the riots really get on there way, the govt can just start throwing bags and bags of SOLENT at them to fix the problem.

  41. Ok, this is fine. Good for storage and long term shelf life. BUT, what about Vertical Farms? What about Variety?

    See what SUPER POOR well educated, but economy so bad ca not find a job does to people? Makes PHD students struggle to come up with a food/drink to survive.

    The real issue is money and how that is our value system. But, non-the-less you can drink this crap all day for all I care. I bet it gives you the shits all day too.

    Plus, who knows what the 'OTHER' ingredients are.. Are there any GMOs in there to give you cancer?

  42. You can live indefinitlly on coconut and guiness, although I should add that the nutritionist that told me this was very very drunk.

  43. I don't see what makes this special. There was no indication that it is any different from SlimFast and the like, except that it didn't make any weight-loss claims.

    I would like to see Human Chow, a bag of crunchy stuff with different flavors and textures that would be a reasonable meal substitute for when it just seems too much to prepare a meal. Everyone has those days. If it can be kept on your shelf and you can do different things to it, like heat it and/or moisten it easily - great!

    This isn't it. It is SlimFast without even a pretense of good taste or weight-loss, which is what people will be thinking when they buy it, marketed as such, or not. Con job, IMO.

    1. pretty sure we already have "human chow", only it's marketed as "cap'n crunch", lolol

  44. I don't see it becoming something on tap, but I can certainly see it becoming a staple food supplement and an absolute boon in disaster relief efforts. Its obvious it can sustain a person well enough for an entire month which is probably enough time for traditional food supplies to be organized. Vacuum packing the product would likely help shelf life and reduce the chances of molding and take up less space.
    If enough people test it out critically, under medical supervision and submit results then the formula can be refined.

  45. And why should there be so many constraints on us humans that we have no more time to eat normal food? Do we really want to sacrifice our health and wellbeing in favour of money? I could see how this would be a great invention for say.. astronauts or to feed the starving people of world (should this guy want to give it to them for free - doubt it?)
    But i reckon it would be a bit extreme to have a diet consisting only of this and some fish oil pills for the rest of ones life. Personally i would get sick of it after a week or less no matter how nice it tasted. Like, imagine eating a protein shake for all your meals every day? Not to mention the human body needs the raw fruits and vege and a diet variety in order to function properly in the long run. Yeah one could do short courses on this but imagine living on it for the rest of your life - they should do an experiment where someone lives only on this (no cheat days!) for longer than 10 years and see if that person is stll alive and well after.

    1. You bring up some good points, but in the end, what you eat is broken down into base chemical components. If all these components can be isolated and provided in a supplement then it can indeed be healthier than eating normal food. Thats where clinical trials and product refinement come in.
      The time constraint is crushing in on us already with a global average of 2 to 4 hours less sleep overall, (not very healthy in itself), and a significant dependence on fast food. Family life has gone from a stable single income to an almost required dual income that can barely make ends meet. Wherever we can squeeze time is of great benefit.

      As for feeding the hungry, nobody on the supply line does this for free, with rare exceptions. Unless you want to destroy your sources, free cannot be expected. In this case, his product is a food alternative and could probably be made cheap enough to be afforded by nonprofits on a larger scale than what is done now.

    2. Paul, you have a mechanical mind but unfortunately it does not serve you well when it comes to biology. Biology is much more complex than a machine that can be reduced to parts and mechanisms. We are just now discovering the important role of the human microbiome in human health. This is the role that microorganisms, living bacteria and fungi, probiotics, and micronutrients play in our wellbeing and IT IS HUGE!!! Look up the human microbiome project.

      What it means, is that there are many many more elements which play a role in our biological systems; in and outside our bodies (our ecosystems) than we previously thought. It means that all our current problems with immune disorder could be linked to our sterilization of our food products because we've been killing the life inside our milk, yogurt, pickles ect. for so long, we've been killing the vast network of organisms that must live in our gut to keep us healthy and it's taking it's tole. Don't underestimate the power of an interconnected ecosystem and NEVER forget that Nature isn't somewhere OUT THERE! You ARE part of nature, you are an animal and you are dependent on the worlds ecosystems like a baby to nipple.

      Interesting that your mechanical mind also recognizes a society that is overworked. Why do you think we feel that way? because industry is a giant monster that seeks to eat organic life until it has run out of it, then it will eat itself. Please pick up a copy of "Bringing it to the Table" by Wendell Berry, or ANYTHING by Wendell Berry for that matter. Or, Michael Pollan, or Joel Salatin, or Vandana Shiva and learn about how our industrial minds have created a world in which humanity cannot function as we were meant to. Humanity isn't the problem here, we are supposed to live on Earth and do what we do on the planet. The problem is a Frankenstein called industry that we have birthed, but can no longer feed.

      One more thing, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Your right, but there's no reason that half a world of impoverished, third-world nations should slave away to feed the rest of us. Nature gave us our duty, to work the land, and that is all of our charge. There is no "graduating" from the agrarian society into something "better." There is only a continuation of tradition in agriculture and that backbone needs to be re-aligned for our farmers today.

    3. Yes I agree with you that scientifically it is the same. However on a personal level I would still prefer to eat normal food and have more free time instead of working overtime to make tons of money for whichever corporation I'd be working for. It would be more beneficial for the health overall :-)

    4. If one had nothing to eat this would be a blessing. Of course things have to be tweaked etc and so on. He's been given a hefty grant the govt. of someone must have checked it out?

    5. in haiti, half the population eats at least 3 meals a week of "mud cookies". enterprising low level capitalists make a living bringing "good mud" from certain parts of the nation to the ghetto dwellers. the human machine will run on almost anything.

    6. OMG. The world really has gone mad.
      Say it ain't so, Joe.
      They are human beings!!!

    7. the sad facts go a LONG way toward explaining why haitians would brave crossing a few hundred miles of ocean in an overloaded small boat to find themselves on my local shoreline, even if doing so would probably end in deportation (or death on the sea). that little nation is the truest tragedy of the western hemisphere. i begrudge not a single one of them their "illegal" status in this country.

    8. Very nice thoughts! Ironically i just finished watching the Kontiki, were a group of men crossed the pacific from South America to the Polynesian Islands on a balsa wood raft in 1947. (netflix)

      Speaking of Haiti when I was in basic training in the Army, Ft Jackson SC The son of the ambassador of Haiti served with me. He had his father put the electric bill for the embassy in his name so he could get out of the Army on a hardship discharge. For Real!

    9. thor hayerdal (sp?) was one of my childhood heroes for that adventure (along with john brown, and our astronauts, lol).
      i find nothing surprising about that tale of the ambassadors son, no doubt he was expecting to be treated like a royal when he was inducted, lol. i really find our policies related to haiti to be a national shame, if ANYBODY deserves the "wet foot/dry foot" status we give the cubans, it is the common folk of haiti. if ever i win some huge "powerball" jackpot, i have vowed to myself to invest some in that country, and at least bring some positive result to a few lives there. have you watched the doc on toussaint l'oveture here on TDF? it gives great insight into the beginnings of their independence, and the exploitation and corruption they face at the hands of their leaders

    10. No but ill watch it right now.

    11. I'm Haitian, have been and lived here for 25 years, and I've traveled around the country. The "in haiti, half the population eats at least 3 meals a week of "mud cookies". " statement demonstrates pure ignorance of the Haitian culture and life-style, and attention seeker disorder from you, Harry Nutzack. If I'm judged wrong, I would love to see the data behind such statement. And please, people, STOP BEING SO BLUNTLY GULLIBLE.

    12. he was initially funded by "crowd funding" (micro-investment over the internet), at the end, it was stated he had a recent influx of "venture capital". NO grants. he markets it as a "supplement", so there is NO oversight of ingredients, production techniques and facilities, or ANY kind of testing. he "beta-tested" it on himself, and his partners. at 65 bucks for 21 meals, it is in NO way inexpensive enough for "feeding starving masses". it's the cheapest of breakfast cereals (without the production, or marketing overhead of such products) being sold directly to the "sucker", at what would appear to be a 90% profit margin on the sale price. pretty easy to see why such a scheme would attract "venture capital", but that in no way demonstrates this crap as "safe", good" or "wholesome"

    13. I am intrigued by your mention of you and the mother of your children's brain conditions.
      I don't mean to be nosy but could you please elaborate on these conditions?

    14. Funny - I'm a visual Artist and she is an administrator and works with five doctors and a support staff. We haven't been married for many years now but we are close friends, it took a while for that to evolve.

      Art has me where the hair grows short and i have never been able to leave it.

    15. Stupid me! I thought you had meant it literally!
      Don't mind me.

    16. No he is probably not going to give it away free. In cases of disaster relief i would think the govt. would purchase it and distribute it.

      Sometimes things happen in this world in preparation for things to come. I have two right sides of the brain and no left and because of this i feel the pressure all around me to take action concerning food!

      My children's mother, (she has a good income and two left sides of the brain), two years ago purchased a foreclosure deal, one acre plus of rich soil right on a good running creek.

      The first year she purchased a good tiller and I plowed up 100' x 100' I put together a good size garden, a yummy one. Now that I have learned to control pest and fertilize properly, (all organic), well expand, as the new buzz word states, exponentially. We have a brick load of Ball Mason jars ready.

      I am not a country boy I was raised in Washington DC proper, Hells Headquarters.

      I guess what i'm saying Angellinegirl, get out your ho ho and start hoen :-)

    17. You sound like a nice person but i haven't heard this expression before - can you please let me know what it means? "get out your ho ho and start hoen" lol... Sounds interesting but i am not familiar with it :-)

    18. a "hoe" is a farm implement. a blade of roughly 15x10 cm attached perpendicular to the linear axis of a pole, with the edge of the blade projecting radially to the same axis (thus forming an offset "t" below the far end of the pole). it is used for weeding and such. basically, 1concept1 was telling you to "go forth and participate in small scale agriculture" in a tongue in cheek play on words. "to hoe" is the verb form of using "a hoe" (the noun). "ho" is also an american "ghetto pop culture" word for girl, or woman. thus, "get out your farm implement, girl, and start farming" is a possible translation, though it could just as easily be the simpler "get out your farm implement, and start farming" with a lyrical repetition for no other purpose, lol

    19. Ah oki i get it now haha... thanks for the detailed explanation it really helps as English is not my first language :)
      I used to do a lot of gardening when i was living with my parents as they had a large vege garden - would love to get back into it :)

    20. I am a nice person and you seem like a very informed, perceptive and wise young attractive lady ()))(()(()))(-----X-----X------X

      and from now on i am following your comments

      This way i get the best of both worlds :-)

    21. I totally agree with your post.
      Food, really delicious healthy food, is something I hope I will never have to give up. Its one of life's pleasures, for us, the fortunate ones.

    22. thanks and well said! :-)

  46. GMO food, how sad.

    1. Does this have to enter the discussion ? GMO isn't the problem, we've been modifying our food ever since we invented agriculture and animal husbandry. What is problematic is the patenting of life and seed stock as well as tailored modifications that support monopolies aka roundup.

    2. Its just over hyped supplements being sold by a bunch of kids who don't have a clue about nutrition, global politics, ecology, biology and OH Yeah LIFE!! Look at these i*iots and what they believe; they will save the world by reselling and repackaging wholesale vitamins and supplements , its really funny. A perfect commercial for VICE to make.
      Lastly judging from you stance Paul your favorite meal must be mac and cheese... you good little slave you.

    3. What's wrong with mac and cheese? I'd call it one of my favorite foods. It gives me warm fuzzies.

    4. "experts" (especially the self appointed variety) often speak most eloquently from their "anal vent". my diet would make most "experts" shudder, and usually inspires loud declarations of "doom" in my future. aside from the unavoidable effects of skeletal injuries sustained in my half century of wandering through life, i am healthy as a horse, and MUCH healthier than any of my sibs that "eat right". no, i won't live forever, but i never had any intention to. mac n cheese is awesome (cheapest varieties ranking highest in my eyes), and is second only to "sweet life giving sugar" (which i consume by the ton, annually) in my eyes. toss in some blood rare beef, and fries, and i'm a happy chimp. i'll eat almost anything (except zuchinni and cauliflower, due to childhood "gastronomic trauma"), but will always have room for "garbage". bags of candy corn tremble in fear at my presence, rofl

    5. Everyone's different in their ability to handle "bad" foods. My employer makes Mac & Cheese bites, which are shaped like a small wedge of cheese, battered and breaded, and then deep-fried. I wouldn't attempt to live on them, but yum!

      I developed a taste for sweets when I quit smoking, but my glucose is now measuring 108, so the doc says watch it. Okay, a bit. No more of the 3 meals a day made up of doughnuts and cheese danish.

    6. i agree 100%. we are all different in our dietary "needs". i certainly would never suggest my choice of diet to a diabetic, as but a single example. i would never suggest anybody prone to hypertension try to ape my salt intake ( i work in a non climate controlled environment where daytime temps often top over 110 f, and sometimes spend the day wandering in and out of a 400 f oven you could park a school bus in, i once counted 178 trips in a shift, so stopped counting, lol). i often end my day encrusted in the salts i have perspired. no donuts or cheese danish, but pounds of tootsie rolls, snickers bars, and hard candies (washed down with black coffee, lol). yet, unless im beer binging or chugging half and half (to counter solvent exposure), i'm hard pressed to top out over 170 lbs at 6 ft tall. co-workers have gained 10 lbs just watching me eat, on the other hand, lol. but i do also smoke like an industrial revolution era steel plant, and have since the age of 11 (locomotive breath was my high school nickname, because NOBODY EVER saw me without a cig hanging out of my gob)

    7. Ah hah! You smoke! You're so intelligent so this is such a shock!!!
      (so do I). I'm so mad at myself because I just don't want to quit, despite it making me a social pariah.
      You cannot smoke ANYWHERE where I live.

    8. here it is much the same, though my work allows smoking in the shop, because it is "open air", and our smoke is probably the least toxic "fume" we are exposed to at "bob's house of fab and finish horror". when you spend your day covered in acids, lacquer thinner, and aircraft stripper, while breathing the outgas products of various finishes, cleaning agents, and cutting lubricants, it would be the height of hypocrisy for our boss to say "no smoking, it's bad for you". my habit (addiction) just celebrated it's 40th anniversary, and most likely will continue til the day i shuck off this mortal coil, lol. i'm glad i live close to a drive in movie theater, or i'd never go see any films (a couple of leisure hours without tobacco or weed would have me climbing the walls, lolol)

    9. Mac and cheese was a college staple actually right along side delissio pizza and puritan canned stews, I don't eat it all that often anymore though.

      They may be 'just repackaging wholesale vitamins and supplements' but they are doing the work of researching and bringing the ingredients together into a product that can actually sustain a person for an entire month without any serious deficiencies. They've even done their homework and formulated for both male and female nutritional requirements and taken into account that not all supplements on the market are readily bioavailable and made efforts to include ingredients that are.

    10. There is a very large difference between plant breeding and genetic modification. You are right, we've been altering our plants for thousands of years whether we knew it or not and recently we've created hybrids of plants. However, this is all working laterally on the genetic playing field: meaning that we are working from natural genetic bases, like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower...these are all from the cabbage plant therefore they share the same genetic base. Genetic Engineering, however, plays horizontally across the genetic field. We are, as we have NEVER BEFORE DONE, crossing species barriers. AND, we're not doing it very smart. Basically we can shoot any genetic material into anything we want, which doesn't expand that plants genetic base, it actually destroys is because they become sterile. G.E. IS the biggest threat that our agricultural sovereignty faces and it's important to know the difference between GE (or GM) and traditional plant breeding. The largest risk is that these sterile, and genetically stripped plants could mix with our wild populations (corrections, already have mixed) and then destroy what natural genetic diversity we have in Nature. It's a scary, scary reality and you are right: the corporations are behind all of this because of greed.
      And, it may be possible to take G.E. science in a more productive direction but we need generations of testing before we're ready to introduce that into the world.