That time a puzzled engineer wanted to solve hunger

After my fourth spacecraft had launched, I felt guilty. My next mission was to create technology to visit Mars yet hunger was still a problem on a degrading Earth. Why didn’t we solve hunger instead? Was I being ungrateful or rightfully puzzled? I understand it is a privilege to contribute directly to the space program. And spacecraft number four was on a mission to measure precipitation, which eventually predicted hurricanes and saved lives. I do not know if that is enough of a contribution to humanity. I know I felt compelled to start a food security organization to obliterate hunger.

I began asking new questions I need help answering. Let’s assume zero hunger – on any planet – is achieved in fifty years: what are the tools to get there? Which ones should we work on now? What if we have all the tools we need? If we grow our own vegetables, will grocery stores stop offering mass-produced spinach? Is the power of collective action an effective strategy for food security? What if we lived in a world where Americans, North Koreans and Venezuelans all had access to clean food? Who benefits? What if food was not an avenue for oppression? If we asked ten different people with ten different philosophies what a perfect world looks like: doesn’t it include greenery and nutritious food to exercise our molars and satisfy our stomachs? Lastly, am I asking the right questions and focused on the right problem? After all, I have always been well-fed.

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