There are many ways of making food: hunting/gathering from the environment, traditional farming and animal rearing, industrialized farming, meat factories, culturing plants hydroponically, vat grown meats, artificial meats based on yeast, algae, or bacteria, as well as food built directly by matter compilers.
Which methods are used are both a question of technological ability, economics and culture. As long as a society is poor, the method used will always be the most efficient - be it the meat factories of the early information era or the food vats of the Solsys Era ("Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral" as Brecht put it). As societies become richer, consumers will not just demand cheap food but also higher quality, lower environmental impact of the production, ethical treatment of animals and "spiritually correct" farming. This often implies less efficient food production than could be done, but the consumers are willing to pay the extra price of food they regard as good.
In advanced post-federation societies basal food production is often done using nanofacture, although a sizable amount is actually farmed using various traditional methods. Some cultural cuisines are based on special techniques, such as the Penglaiese vat foods, the many Sophic ahimsa cuisines where no living individual organisms are killed, and the hunted meat dishes of Atlantis and other worlds where hunting is regarded as important spiritual or ideological expression.
Of course, many clades have moved beyond the need of traditional food. However, corresponding functions are often mapped to eating. Vecs have more often than not made recharging into a symbolic meal when dealing with bioids, and in Metasoft the recharging stations act as places of social interaction not unlike human coffee houses and restaurants. Nanocyborgs often imbibe raw materials together. Uploads enjoy virtual meals. Even some AIs are known to enjoy food, although more like an art form than sustenance.
- Artificial Meat Production
- Centurion Chili Cookoff
- Endurasoy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev after original by Kevin Self
Interplanetary age gengineered edible grain. A genetic blend of baseline soy and Cis-Lunar neogen plants, endurasoy is high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, and resistant to almost all known diseases and pests. Although its robustness makes it indispensable as a high yield plant, it can disrupt ecosystems on low and medium tech biospheres if not kept in check.
- Food Chain - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
The energy exchange that constitutes the sum of interactions between predators and prey in which bionts, alifes, or other organisms obtain nutrition. The chain starts with plants or other autotrophs that are eaten by herbivores, which in turn are preyed upon by carnivores. These may in turn become food for other carnivores. When the organism dies, it becomes food for scavengers, detritivores, and decomposers.
- Interactive Food
- Sapient Food
- UltiFood Competition