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The food industry has increasingly prioritized sustainability, as eaters care more about where and how our food is produced, as well as who produces it. There is even growing interest around soil health and the potential for agriculture to regenerate the health of the planet, not just sustain the status quo. There has been far less attention, however, to the diversity of what’s being grown.

About 75 percent of the world’s food comes from just 12 plants and 5 animal species. Almost half of our plant-derived calories come from just three foods: wheat, corn and rice. While estimates vary, it is believed that there are over 30,000 edible plants, and we only eat 150 of them. Thirty percent of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction, and six breeds are being lost each month.

This concentration around just a few food sources puts our food system at risk, as evidenced by the story of the Cavendish Banana and The Irish Potato Famine. It also robs eaters of awesome, nutrient dense foods and flavor experiences.

How did we get here? Historically, the food industry prioritized commoditization, mass yield, and uniformity over flavor, nutrition, and sustainability. As a result, we are losing plant and animal species at an alarming rate, while diet-related disease, obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies are on the rise.

Now, we as an industry have a chance and a responsibility to make things right.

The Future of Food is Biodiverse: Where Flavor and Sustainability Meet

Building a food industry that promotes agrobiodiversity – the variety and variability of plants, animals, microorganisms and biocultural systems linked to agriculture and food – makes our food system more sustainable and allows us to delight eaters with new and exciting foods from a diverse set of cultures.

As an industry, agrobiodiversity ensures supply chain resiliency and food security by safeguarding the genetic material needed to ensure crops can evolve in the face of pests and disease, climate change and extreme weather. A biodiverse food system also supports economic development, enables greater dietary diversity, which leads to better health, and helps preserve cultural traditions, techniques, and flavors.

45+ Industry Leaders Explore Biodiversity in Food

Intellectually, you might agree with our premise that the future of food is biodiverse, but what does it mean in practice?

To help us understand what a biodiverse food industry looks like, we’ve partnered with The Future Market to host an editorial series from January 7-31 inviting leading CEOs, executives, farmers, investors and researchers to share insight into their thoughts and strategies for supporting biodiversity in food. Check out our interviews below. See the full list of participants here.


Lexicon of Sustainability director Douglas Gayeton talks about how the Rediscovered Food Initiative is promoting use of 25 neglected and underutilized foods.[...]
AeroFarms co-founder and CMO Marc Oshima on how indoor agriculture can allow farms to grow crops that have been lost to climate change, disease and pests.[...]
Thrive Market CEO Nick Green says Demeter Biodynamic Certification and Regenerative Organic Certifications will become more prevalent in the next 18 months. [...]
REBBL CEO Sheryl O’Loughlin on promoting biodiversity through regenerative agriculture, using ethically sourced ingredients and through consumer education. [...]
Nikiko Masumoto discusses industrial agriculture’s history of racism, slavery and patriarchy, urging us to include diversity of people in any conversation about biodiversity conver[...]
Tender Greens CEO Erik Oberholtzer on how he's incorporating rediscovered ingredients like Fonio into the chain's menus and inspiring other chefs to do the same. [...]
The Crop Trust's Marie Haga talks to us about why crop diversity is critical to to safeguarding the genetic material scientists need to develop new crops. [...]
Kuli Kuli CEO Lisa Curtis talks to us about how cultivating a diverse team is just as important as diversifying crops, animals and ecosystems.[...]
    The conversation about the future of food has exploded over the past half decade. Much ink has been spilled examining virtually every new food innovation from lab gro[...]
Impossible Foods CEO Dr. Pat Brown discusses how demand for animal protein is causing biodiversity loss, and how the plant-based company is preventing more loss[...]
Sir Kensington's Rebecca Gildiner talks about creating markets for biodiverse crops and building supply chains for unique ingredients.[...]
Charlotte Douglas, COO of Row 7 Seed Company, writes about the importance of diversifying our seed varieties and the role chefs play in shaping what we eat.[...]
Shauna Sadowski, Head of Sustainability for the Natural & Organic Operating Unit at General Mills, on why biodiversity is critical to the company's success. [...]
  The food industry has increasingly prioritized sustainability, as eaters care more about where and how our food is produced, as well as who produces it. There is even growin[...]