Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica’s story on some very cool new (actually not so new) ideas on how to distribute food in the future have us thinking about a PastyNet.
Back in the UK, where the pasty was invented by Cornish miners, the idea of underground food is being given a reboot by an amazing project called Foodtubes. In short, a multi-city underground network of pneumatic tubes is on the drawing board in a grand attempt to solve the problem that distributing food burns an incredible amount of energy. As Matthew puts it:
Much of the world’s food supply is transported via an inefficient, polluting, and dangerous system of highways and trucks. The overwhelming share of the fuel used to move food powers cumbersome vehicles, only eight percent is really needed to transport the cargoes themselves to supermarkets, according to one estimate.
So what’s the alternative? Move the whole system underground and set up a “transport industry Internet,” says the United Kingdom based Foodtubes Project, a consortium of academics, project planners, and engineers. Siphon veggies, corn flakes, and cans of baked beans about in high-speed capsules (one by two meters) traveling through dedicated pipelines lodged below our cities. And why not? That’s the way we transport water, oil, gas, and sewage, isn’t it?
“All all conditions, day or night, delivery can be guaranteed,” a Foodtubes PowerPoint presentationpromises. “Whatever the weather, FOODTUBES will deliver the goods!”