Why We Need Mass Food Production
When humans lived in small communities, foraging and small-scale agriculture were enough to support the needs of everyone. However, now that we live in compact cities with thousands of people per square kilometer, foraging and small-scale agriculture aren’t viable.
Because we have such a high density of people living together, cities don’t have enough room for the amount of food needed to feed everyone. Therefore food has to be produced outside of the cities and transported and distributed. To grow enough food, transport it while it’s still fresh, and distribute it (relatively) effectively, we need major industrialized and unified systems.
Another factor is a high degree of specialization in our livelihoods. The majority of people living in cities are highly specialized in one area where they make a living, such as business consulting, coding, or artists. Being highly specialized in one profession can be very lucrative in today’s economy, but it relies on an industrialized food system. If everyone in cities had to grow and/or forage for their own food, they wouldn’t have nearly as much time to develop their highly specialized skills.
So, unless you want to completely go off-grid and leave the “modern system” behind, we have to accept that the industrialized food system is necessary. It is important to note that some experiments are underway which may help reduce our reliance on mass-produced food, most of which involve utilizing urban landscapes such as roofs or vertical apparatus, to grow food on a small-scale level. Despite these interesting ventures, none have yet proven to be able to significantly replace the mass production food system the majority of us rely on.
Our Answer: The majority of society relies on the industrialized food system: mass production in remote locations, systemized packaging, and distribution to local markets. As world populations increase and city populations grow, there is no near-term changes to our food system.