Food Routes: A Tale of Cooperation

Sophy Ramírez  | 27 de marzo de 2020  | Vistas: 96

New technologies can make the food system more efficient, but, how much technology can we tolerate in our connection and relationship with food?. During this conference, Robyn Metcalfe tells her journey through studying food and the history of the food supply chain. 

Metcalfe explains how since she was young, she was into the food industry because her grandfather was the founder of a hamburgers chain in LA. She moved to Switzerland with a cheese producer and got interested in how little procedures to get food on your plate can be massive. 

Robyn mentions other projects she has developed, such as having a farm of animal breeds that were getting extinct because they take too long to grow, and weren’t commercial. The objective of this farm was to make this species more profitable and to get restaurants interested in them. She also shares her interest in agriculture and tells a story of how cities are formed around their food systems.

You could study history from the lens of food, and particularly how cities were fed a long time ago."

The historian reveals some of her techniques to get information about the food supply chain for her book. She investigated simple foods in different cities, such as a rice bowl in Tokyo, a slice of pizza in New York, and asked the people involved in their whole supply chain to understand how it came all together. 

Then, Metcalfe describes the four key ingredients to keep our food moving, for a good operated food supply chain:

  • Reliability
  • Trust
  • Adaptability
  • Technology

After this, she shares an initiative of a competition that searches for solutions to improve these four keys and reduce the waste of food. She also mentions how different these solutions can be depending on the country they are developed. 

We have this deep connection to food, it’s basically what makes this human and we have stories to tell about it. So the question would be what happens, how much technology can we tolerate in our food system before we lose our humanity.”

To conclude, Metcalfe shows some of the people she interviewed for her book and explains the importance of their stories because often these individuals are invisible in the food chain. She also points out that the stories that food can bring are as interesting as the processes of the food chain.


Food Historian and Futurist


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín