5.09.16: Unnaturally Delicious, Save Room for Pie, & Fashion in the Sky

May 9, 2016

The intersection between technology and food makes a lot of people wary. Concerns over industrialized food, GMOs and big agriculture’s profit motive have sparked a foodie movement that demands whole, responsibly grown fare. On today’s show, an agricultural economist says high tech methods are crucial when it comes to confronting obesity, environmental degradation, and global hunger.

We'll also talk with humorist Roy Blount Jr. who grew up in a southern home, where butter was considered a food group, and you had to save room for pie!  Plus a look into a new airline that caters to fashion’s elite.     

Listen to the full show. 

Unnaturally Delicious

Cooking robots are one of many ways that technology is altering food production. That's a scary combination for many people who may find the idea of 3D printed cookies and lab-grown hamburgers intriguing, but doubt the profit motives and methods of big ag and industrialized food.

Jayson Lusk is downright excited. He's an agricultural economist at Oklahoma State who argues that confronting global hunger, obesity, and climate change without abusing animals or degrading the environment requires technological and biological innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. He's author of Unnaturally Delicious: How Science And Technology Are Serving Up Super Foods To Save The World.

Quince: A Path to the Past

Innovations in agriculture may be key to feeding the future, but there are still some food traditions that rely on small harvests and childhood memories to stay alive. Producer Guy Hand has the story of one such fruit - the quince.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Save Room for Pie

You probably know Roy Blount Jr. from his regular seat on the “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” panel on NPR, but you may not know that he is in love with food.

Roy grew up in the South, which means he was eating pork belly back when "butchery" was not considered glamorous, and chowing on chicken gizzards long before anyone dreamed that a chef would admit to cooking with offal -- never mind be on TV.

His new book is called: Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations.

Fashion in the Sky

Vanessa Friedman is fashion director and chief fashion critic at the New York Times - that's where she wrote about airlines embracing the fashion industry as their next big opportunity.

"Fashion Gets its First Official Airline"

Harvesting Resources From Space

The next frontier in high-end travel is space. Getting humans off planet earth is one hurdle; the other is supporting life once we leave our atmosphere. With the cost of transporting materials from earth to space currently at ten thousand dollars per pound, companies are scrambling for a cost-saving solution. Producer Audrey Quinn visited an company that's trying to find a way to support life in space by extracting water and minerals from asteroids.

This story is part of the PRX STEM Story Project, made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. You can listen to it again at PRX.org.