What do the arts and literature have to contribute to urgent debates about the technization of food production? What can a play from 1605 tell us about fairer distribution of natural resources today? Equally, how might a cyber thriller from 2011 help us debate contentious issues such as gene-based technologies and utopian visions of knowledge-led society? This talk considers agri-tech and food security across a wide sweep of social and political terrain, from the Arab Spring to the European horsemeat scandal, from Shakespeare to Daniel Suarez. It argues that the arts and sciences need to cooperate to deepen understanding about, and define actions on, the big challenges facing a needy world. Finally, it suggests ways in which the arts and technology can assist us in arriving at a model of society in which resources are distributed not only more efficiently, but also more equitably.