Synthetic Foods

December 4, 1968

Report Outline
New Foods in Fight Against Hunger
Advances in the Preservation of Foods
Means of Feeding Billions in the Future

New Foods in Fight Against Hunger

Fear of Wide-Scale Famine in the Years Ahead

The people who inhabit the world of 2000 A.D. will be fed by the food factory rather than the farmer; at least, that is what many scientists think. Within the past two years, crop yields in many Asian countries have risen dramatically, due to planting of new “miracle” varieties of wheat and rice, increased use of fertilizer, and other agricultural improvements. But even the most optimistic see these developments only as a means of buying time for the hungry world. The most pessimistic, overwhelmed by the prospect of a doubling of the number of people on the globe by the end of the century, foresee a calamitous “collision between rising population and available food.”

England's C. P. Snow, lecturing on the subject at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., Nov. 12, found it impossible to believe that the rich countries of the world would make the great sacrifices needed to avert that catastrophe. “Famine,” he predicted, “will take charge in many countries,” and “We shall, in the rich countries, be surrounded by a sea of famine, involving hundreds of millions of human beings.”

It is argued that traditional methods of agriculture cannot keep pace with world population growth. Some hope for the future, however, may be drawn from promises, now constantly becoming brighter, that developments in the production of synthetic foods and the correction of diet deficiencies will provide the means of feeding many millions who otherwise would be doomed to starvation. The 34th American Assembly, held at Arden House, Harriman, N. Y., Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 1968, suggested that technology now available and continued research would make it possible, given extensive changes in developing countries and “a much larger scale of effort” all around, to feed the world's population of 2000 A.D. “better than in mankind's entire history.”

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