June 18, 2018

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

A worker shows crickets at a farm belonging to company "Little Food," which prepares and promotes food products made from crickets, in Brussels, Belgium. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

A New Animal Farm
Aspire Food Group is a team of robots and scientists raising crickets and capturing data in hopes of making the cricket rearing process automated for the most efficient yields. Crickets pack more protein than beef, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and as many fatty acids as salmon. As Earth’s population increases by billions in the coming decades, food production must double to feed everyone, and crickets can be an important factor.

Why the Blockchain Is Standardizing What It Means to Be Authentic and Sustainable
There needs to be a set of standards for sustainable foods and goods that can be widely used and trusted by consumers. A blockchain system offers in-depth, convergence capabilities. In the future, true authenticity will be rooted in this record through a secure digital identity for an object—creating a one-to-one link between the object and its identity on the blockchain.

This Farmer Turns Manure into Clean Water and It May Be the Future of Farming
Austin Allred uses a bio-filter to process cows’ byproducts that strips the manure of its 90 percent water content, separates the nutrients for later use, and also traps gases like ammonia. That manure is then clean enough for use around the farm, no longer a byproduct, but an essential contribution to the farm. Allred emphasizes, “In order for us to be successful in the long term, our practices have to be sustainable.”

A Stampede of Meatless Products Overrun Grocery Store Meat Cases
High-tech startups are building burgers from plant proteins and compounds that grill and taste more like the real thing. Other firms are using cell-culture technology to grow meat in stainless steel bioreactor tanks. Stakes are high for the roughly $200 billion US meat market. Sales of alternative meat products account for less than 1 percent of fresh meat sales in the US but are growing at an annual rate of 24.5 percent.

From Craft Breweries to Cows
When Mike Hess Brewing’s craft beer business began to boom, the team needed an efficient and responsible way to dispose of the nearly 20,000 pounds of spent grains produced each week. They found an unlikely partner in the animal agriculture industry. Now Frank Konyn Dairy's trucks pick up the grains from the breweries almost every day. They bring it back to the farm, where a nutritionist mixes it with other grains, leftover bread from local bakeries, fruit pulp from local juice companies, and alfalfa.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA