Crop yields, global warming, food waste, soilless systems

Global Warming, Decreased Crop Yields, And The Food Waste Industry

Global warming, crop yields, food waste industry

Written by Daniel Cunniffe

With the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement and the proposal of the Green New Deal, concerns continue to grow over global warming and the stability of our food supply.

Will global warming affect crop yields?

Among the many impacts of global warming, the two that would likely affect crop yields the most are rising sea levels and more severe, unpredictable climate conditions. Rising sea levels would reduce the land available for farming and severe, unpredictable climate conditions such as strong tropical storms, floods, drought, altered growing regions, or even less rain during the year could decrease crop yields, change the types of crops traditionally grown on a farm, or even make that land unusable for farming.

Smaller crop yields and a smaller food waste industry

The food waste industry depends on the food industry and its crops for raw materials. A decreased crop yield means less food, less food waste, and a decreased food waste industry. One impact of a decreased food waste supply is greater competition between food waste businesses for fewer raw materials. Additionally, if crop yields decrease, the price of food increases, leading consumers to utilize more of a food’s edible potential - a secondary decrease in food waste. Bones, eggshells, and banana peels are commonly thrown away, yet all of these are edible and are more likely to be consumed under conditions of food scarcity.

Different climate conditions, different crops, different food waste industry

Traditionally, farms were handed down from father to son or daughter, where the parent would teach the children what types of crops they could grow along with all of the intricate details and tricks to growing those crops. Crops that a farm can grow is largely based on the climate conditions of the growing region they’re in, which in turn affects things like soil type, humidity level, etc - all of which are prime factors that allow for healthy crop growth. Global warming will likely shift these growing zones for certain crops. For example, say global warming turns the climate of Canada to that of Mexico, where once Canadian farmers could only grow cold weather crops, now they instead grow oranges. The idea is that a farm may experience changes in the types of crops they can grow and thus this changes the crops available to local food waste companies. Companies that use waste from a single crop, may have to move locations, ship that food waste from a distant farm, or go out of business altogether as growing zones shift. This will in turn affect the food waste supply chain in ways that the industry may not be prepared for. Growing zones are not concerned with political borders. If a company depends on a certain crop and the growing region of that crop shifts outside of the country, that company may have to ship food from outside of the country and take on additional costs, such as customs and taxes.

What can the food waste industry do about global warming?

Enter soilless systems - They can be grown indoors and protect crops from severe weather conditions like, droughts, pathogens, and pests. Additionally, companies like Re-Nuble are reducing the carbon footprint of the food supply chain through closed loop agriculture which allows us to avoid further global warming and empower farmers to increase crop yields. This will further ensure a stable food supply, healthy environment, and healthy food for our future. 

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