Where does our food come from? Who grows it? What is its impact on the environment? How can we feed the world's growing population? What effect will global warming have on food security?

These are the big questions, and the answers are not encouraging. By 2050, there will be as many as 10 billion mouths to feed, up from 7.7 billion today. Climate change is fast affecting the land available for cultivation, while food production and the resulting habitat loss is destroying wildlife and biodiversity across the globe. The oceans have been over-fished and polluted. The global food system is the problem, not the solution. And for Japan, which has a self-sufficiency rate of under 40 percent, that spells increasing vulnerability to changes in global food production.

These daunting issues are being discussed in forums across the world. The driving force behind a bold new initiative in Brazil is chef Alex Atala, whose Sao Paulo restaurant, D.O.M., consistently ranks among the best in the world. The chef has long championed alternatives to big agribusiness, speaking up for sustainable farming and the vast possibilities of the edible plants and wildlife of the Amazon basin.