Today’s food system is rife with paradox. We have enough food in the world to feed every mouth, yet 821 million people go hungry every day. We lose or waste 1.3 billion metric tons of produce each year, yet half the global population does not eat a properly nutritious diet. Our food system depends on mitigating climate change, yet agriculture and land-use activities contribute about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Why?
These are the unintended consequences of our industrialized food system. Amidst structures optimized to maximize the production, movement and consumption of cheap, empty calories, we have created entrenched patterns that threaten our health and that of our planet.
Yet we are seeing the dawn of a new food system — one spurred by new types of mission-driven business models and investment. Renske Lynde, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Food System 6, is one of the dynamic pioneers driving this transition. I sat down with Renske to invite her thoughts on what this new food system might look like. In a wide-ranging discussion, she shared insights into some of the promising companies and technologies that could transform the industry, and how we can finance this transition.
Lorin Fries: You co-lead an organization called Food System 6. What are you trying to achieve?
Renske Lynde: We believe that humanity has transitioned through five food systems. Food System 5, the industrial system currently dominant in countries like the US, was designed for optimizing logistics, calories and convenience. But now many recognize that while Food System 5 delivered on the characteristics it was designed for, it carried a host of negative externalities for planetary and human health. We’re now at a point of transition: we’re designing a new food system, taking a more integrated approach to environmental, physical and social health. That’s the inspiration behind the name Food System 6.