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PMA Foodservice: Delivered on produce boosting immune systems, an end of human farmers

pmafoodGuava, mushrooms and a handful of other fruits and vegetables are among the top foods one should eat to boost their immune systems, according to Dr. William W. Li, a scientist, physician and author who has worked in that field for many years.

Li was one of the keynote speakers at the closing session of the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice: Delivered internet event held during the week of July 20-24. Li is best known as the CEO, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit organization disrupting disease through angiogenesis, the process the body uses to grow new blood vessels. He is also the author of “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself.” He shared the digital dais with Darlene Damm, who is a faculty member at Singularity University, focuses on helping people understand how exponential technologies are changing the world.

Li reported that the current battle with the novel coronavirus is emblematic of the ongoing “epic war between our body and our viruses.” He advocates using food as medicine to improve our immune systems. He indicated that early research appears to show some relationship between a diet high in beneficial foods can offer some immunity to COVID-19. He called out some fresh fruits and vegetables that have been proven to boost the immune system such as guava, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli sprouts, broccoli, blackberries and blueberries, pomegranates, and cranberries. He also listed tree nuts, extra virgin olive oil and green tea as in that same category.

Li said that while there have been false reports that the coronavirus can be transmitted through food, the real truth is that a good diet can be part of the strategy to guard against coronavirus.

Singularity University is not a traditional, accredited university, but rather a California-based company that offers executive educational programs, especially in the area of exponential technology. “Moore’s Law” was an observation by technology expert Gordon Moore decades ago that about every year to 18 months the power of a computer chip doubled while its physical size was cut in half and the cost of it went down. Damm believes this “law” works with anything digital and so as products and processes become digitized, the theorem will hold true.

Of course, a very easy example of this is the mobile phone, which has shrunk in size and price while its computing power has grown exponentially. She said there are six “D’s” that rule the process utilizing exponential technology: digitize, deceptive, disruptive, democratize, demonetize and dematerialize. Damm used music and phone calls as example of the process at work. Music, of course, was once made available through albums, CDs and cassettes at a relatively expensive cost. Once the music was digitized, it became virtually free with everyone now having access to literally thousands of song through their smart phone. Phone calls have also been digitized and now one can call around the world for nothing with the right app.

Damm believes this same exponential technology process can be used in our food supply system to solve hunger around the world. She said the use of robotics, drones and driverless tractors can create food supply systems that are much more efficient and cheaper than the current way of producing and distributing food. Technology to change those processes is expensive now but she believes Moore’s Law will do the same for farming as it has done to the smart phone — reducing the cost of the components as their ability to perform increases exponentially. Damm pointed to the process of creating the “Impossible Burger.” Initially this meat substitute built in a lab cost $11 per hamburger patty, she says it is now down to $2 per patty, and Damm believes it will continue to decrease. She predicted that we will be the “last generation to see human farmers.”

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