20 Other Things the $20 Million for Soylent Could Have Gone To: Foodie Underground


Column What if we didn’t invest in food replacements like Soylent, but real food instead?

Unless you somehow missed what Soylent is, it’s an attempt at providing people with all the nutritional elements that a healthy diet would give them in one single drink.

The brainchild behind it is a 20-something tech guy named Rob Rhinehart, who we can only assume was so busy coding that he was annoyed at the idea of having to waste time on cooking and eating. Wouldn’t it just be better if you could drink a smoothie and call it a day?

The tech world has followed suite, and Rhinehart has charmed enough people that he has managed to get a heavy amount of investment in his product. Just last week it was announced that he had secured an additional $20 million in funding.

$20 million.

In a food replacement product.

Here are 20 other things that the $20 million could have been spent on, all that have nothing to do with food replacement, and good ol’ real food instead:

1. School garden programs.

2. Farmers market matching programs, where people using food stamps to buy fresh produce double the amount they have to shop with.

3. An anti-McDonald’s advertising campaign.

4. Supporting independent food journalism.

5. Food hubs that help serve as a link between regional and small-scale farmers and the retail sector.

6. Seed banks, to help protect biodiversity and our food system.

7. An anti Monsanto campaign.

8. Figuring out how to get fresh produce sold at every single gas station in America.

9. Start-up capital for zero waste restaurants.

10. Rooftop gardens.

11. Funding every single project on FarmRaiser.

12. Cooking classes for schools.

13. Community gardening programs.

14. A couple of food documentaries.

15. Food banks.

16. Urban farms.

17. Saving honey bees.

18. Eliminating the high fructose syrup industry.

19. Research about the link between cancer and pesticides.

20. Municipal composting programs.

Related on EcoSalon

Is Soylent a Threat to Foodie Culture? Foodie Underground

10 Boring Real Foods That Should Be Trendy: Foodie Underground

Garden Tower Project: A Revolutionary Gardening and Composting Solution for Anyone

This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at www.foodieunderground.com.

Image: Dennis van Zuijlekom

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.