At present, food production is responsible for one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Oxford University’s Our World In Data project. In addition, 70 percent of all freshwater is used for farming. Agriculture and aquaculture are also enormous contributors to biodiversity loss.
“We need to build a sustainable food system where the growing, eating and disposal of food creates net benefits for the economy, people and the environment itself“, Shalev demands.
“Consumer focus needs to be on purchasing food with minimum environmental impact”, he argues, adding that this should not come at a premium. “Sustainably grown foods have to be universally affordable to everybody. Retailers have to be incentivize to stock eco friendly foods.”
Shalev’s own company shows how agriculture can become part of the solution. SimpliiGood grows spirulina, a micro algae that is highly nutritous and can be farmed with minimal impact on the environment.
With spirulina, “we have probably the best and most efficient converter of sun to protein”, Shalev explains. “We grow in the desert and use the same land to grow food and actually double our biomass every 24 hours.”
By working in closed-water pools, “we don’t harm the land in the process”, he emphasizes, and “98 percent of our water is recycled back into the system. Now that’s circular economy.”