Memories of Tomorrow: An Open Letter to Myself

Ivan Savytskyy,

I believe food insecurity will continue to prevail unless each community makes the right decisions to tackle the challenge locally. In addition, precision agriculture will the primary form of food production. This means that all commercial producers will utilize the Internet of Things (IoT) to further automate food production. With most of the global population living in urban centers—and this number is only increasing—it will be important for farmers to have the most efficient technology to maximize their yields. However, I also predict that people may become even more disconnected from their diets with automation. This could have severe consequences, such as extreme climate change.

I imagine I will hold regular dinners—similarly to how Jay has held the annual Global Challenges dinners—to raise awareness in my community and hear the words of friends, mentors, and specialists. I also like the idea of growing food in space. Up above, you must be as efficient as possible, because as vast as our solar system is, there is very little room for food waste aboard a space station. I am highly interested in growing food in space, a career which requires engineering and farming expertise. I should probably get a masters in either mechanical or biochemical engineering as that expertise will allow me to create an automated and energy efficient food production technology.

There will need to be lots of food security programs in STEM fields and in business, as well as some economic incentive for food security for every community. For example: criminalizing food waste will encourage grocery store chains and local restaurants to be more efficient with their sales and waste management; rewarding young students and teachers to develop and implement food security programs in the education system will raise a smarter generation.

Knowing how to grow is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of food security, so I have been doing research on agriculture and have purchased materials to build my own fully-automated indoor farm.

I will still have the same passion for feeding nine-billion in 2050 because it has become personal. It is not a fact in a textbook or a theory developed in an online forum, it is a challenge which I face intentionally, with my heart. In my family, I am the first generation which has not had to produce food to survive, but that does not mean I should disregard farming and cooking completely.

I have learned how to interview experts and ask the most important questions to get the necessary answers. Our project evolved primarily through constant iterations, especially following a discussion with an expert. As a group, we constantly asked how the new information from interviews impacts our innovation. At first, the novelty of each piece of information had a significant impact on our project, but slowly, as we collected more information, we balanced out new information with old information much more effectively.

I want to remember that global challenges can only be solved through global cooperation. Getting involved and engaged is important. But I wonder: what am I missing when tackling food insecurity? Is there an economic or anthropological principle I haven’t considered when thinking about how to feed nine-billion? This is why engaging with the community is important—there’s bound to be someone who has considered the ideas I have not.

Good luck,

Ivan Savytskyy