Resilient food (sometimes called alternative food,  alternate food or emergency food) and resilient food solutions are those foods, food production methods or interventions that would allow for significant food availability in the face of a global catastrophic food shock (GCFS). These solutions should be well-suited for contributing to an adequate food supply for the greatest number of people even in the worst scenarios, for example by being scalable and amenable to rapid production ramp-up.[1] 

Such food could be produced even if a global catastrophe such as a nuclear war, supervolcano eruption, or asteroid impact significantly reduces the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface by releasing large quantities of sulfate aerosols, smoke or ash into the atmosphere.[1]  Examples of resilient foods for these abrupt sunlight reduction scenarios (ASRS) include seaweed and single-cell protein grown from natural gas.[2] Other examples of ASRS-resilient food solutions could be: relocation of cool tolerant crops to more adequate climates, rapid deployment of greenhouses,[3] and systems or policies for a rapid emergency phaseout of systems with a net consumption of food such as first-generation biofuels or most animal agriculture.[1] 

Research and development of resilient foods for GCFS scenarios can reduce global catastrophic risk, increase global food security, and reduce the risk of civilizational collapse from nuclear war. One organisation that focuses mostly on resilient foods is the nonprofit ALLFED.

Further reading

Baum, Seth D., David C. Denkenberger & Joshua M. Pearce (2016) Alternative foods as a solution to global food supply catastrophes, Solutions, vol. 7, pp. 31–35.

Denkenberger, David et al. (2021) Long term cost-effectiveness of resilient foods for global catastrophes compared to artificial general intelligence safety, OSF Preprints.

Open Philanthropy (2020) Penn State University — Research on Emergency Food Resilience (Charles Anderson) (2020), Open Philanthropy.

ALLFED | asteroids | civilizational collapse | existential risk | global catastrophic risk | nuclear winter | refuges | supervolcano

  1. ^

    Alix Pham, Juan B. García Martínez, Vojtech Brynych, Ratheka Stormbjorne, Joshua M. Pearce, David C. Denkenberger (2022) Nutrition in Abrupt Sunlight Reduction Scenarios: Envisioning Feasible Balanced Diets on Resilient Foods, Nutrients, 14(3), 492.

  2. ^

    Juan B. García Martínez, Joshua M. Pearce, James Throup, Jacob Cates, Maximilian Lackner, David C. Denkenberger (2022) Methane Single Cell Protein: securing global protein supply against global catastrophic food shocks

  3. ^

    Alvarado, K.A., Mill, A., Pearce, J.M., Vocaet, A., Denkenberger, D., 2020. Scaling of greenhouse crop production in low sunlight scenarios. Sci. Total Environ. 707, 136012.