I was handed an article recently that talked about Rob Rhinehart, the creator of a new food product call Soylent. This new product makes claims to feed the world, save you money, remove the boredom from cooking meals each day. Are you ready for a nice steaming pile of chemicals to replace your food?
I must admit, part of me understands Rob’s quest. The new product has no resemblance to the Soylent Green product depicted in a 1973 science fiction movie, made from the cannibalized parts of your friends and neighbors. Rob wanted to create a simple food product that could provide his basic daily need for sustenance. Rob does not consider this a joke, he states “Many will dismiss Soylent as a joke, a toy, or judge the book by its cover, but in time people will wonder how we ever got along without engineered foodstuffs.” Apparently many people share Rob’s vision with 1.5 million dollars in seed capitol and an additional 1.5 million supplied in crowd funding. But why did Rob even start this project?
Boredom is the main reason, Rob is tired of wasting his time cooking just like he is tired of wasting his time shopping, and cleaning the dishes that he should not have to do. His optimistic view is puzzled by people that believe the world is worse off than years ago, “In reality, our ancestors were starving, miserable, and ignorant and today we have abundant food and warmth and the sum total of human knowledge at our fingertips.”
Although I share Rob’s desire for food that fixes itself along with dishes that are always clean, I do not share his love for liquid meals in the quantity that he relishes, nor do I see such a finite value on food derived from plants. I see plants as vital to our survival as a species, providing nutrition but oh so much more than just that. Plants provide a unique balance for many of our ecosystems, pollination, purification, soil remediation, and so much more. I enjoy the tomatoness of the tomato, the grapeness of the grape. The smell of the harvest, the sounds of the pollinators, the laughing of children when eating a watermelon during the summer months, without them maybe we are closer to the Soylent Green movie than I first thought. With personal and professional regards – Vince