Quantum food

Quantum food is the combination of interactions, balances and cycles that sustain life on this planet.

To be any more than a mind experiment, it needs focus. The aim is to sketch out a framework that readers will be able to use and understand what urban food chains are doing at a planetary level. We need to adopt a radically different approach to what we look for in data and re-assess what we can do with the data that we have, knowing that we are very unlikely ever to have completely accurate or comprehensive data. However, the process should broaden society’s view and understanding of the biosphere. Time is running out to harness the potential for diversity and seemingly unrelated variables. It is vital to listen to our world.

With apologies to quantum economists, I should first point out that the planet is a single resource, shared by creation. While we talk of the natural world or the industrial world, this is shorthand to identify the interest group that is being discussed. A single palm oil plantation in south east Asia is simultaneously a food production business to its owner; a source of income for the work force; a food desert for the local orang utan population that once used to roam the rain forest, which has since been cleared to feed some corporate vision; a source of palm oil for European food manufacturers; a future ice cream for an eager child, the list goes on. What matters is that there is no limit to the number of facets to any location of the planet.

Like the classic economist’s market, there are a number of reset points where one point simultaneously contains two linked processes. Take the example of predation and prey: as prey is digested or absorbed, it releases nutrients to its predator(s), bearing in mind that there may be more than one species of predator, for instance big cats may make a kill that will be picked over later on by carrion specialists. In the case of plants taking up water and nutrients from the earth around it, the presence of minerals in specific proportions can promote or retard plant development.

We can quite easily identify places and contexts where humanity controls and manipulates the world. We are not as good at trying to understand what other species may need in the same location or whether, indeed, we have even recognised their presence.

Quantum food will discuss data from as many species as possible. The food industry has its own measurements to draw on: from Brix to Baume, Pasteur to Papin, the world is full of data just waiting to be evaluated with a fresh vision. Follow the links to aspects of this view of the world further down this page and build a new view of the world.

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