Although World Food Day is only 29 years old, malnutrition has plagued our planet's citizens since the dawn of mankind. Feeding billions of starving people poses a daunting challenge, and many argue that industrialization has only drained the world of its natural resources. Convinced that that's not always the case, we consulted our archives to find ways that science and technology actually worked to fight the hunger crisis.
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By the mid-20th century, we knew that clearing farmland to make more room for crops wasn't the most realistic option for dealing with dealing with hunger. Researchers had to make agriculture less vulnerable to weather patterns and the urban sprawl. Maybe if we sand-blasted clouds to induce rainfall or bred whales as cattle of the sea, the food industry wouldn't be so affected by bad soil and drought.
Since it was also around for the two World Wars, Popular Science also covered the challenge of providing aid to faraway nations, and to millions of civilians suffering from famine or food shortages. How could we make vitamin-rich food more affordable? How would we transport large amounts of perishables over vast distances while keeping them edible?
We haven't found the answer to worldwide food shortages yet, but maybe we're getting there, one experiment at a time. Click through our gallery to read about the sometimes useful, often unusual, ways that science has attempted to alleviate hunger.