Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences
University of California
Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences

UC ANR hosts Global Food Systems Forum

Last week, UC ANR hosted a one-day Global Food Systems Forum. Providing 8 billion people with quality, affordable and accessible food is the defining economic, sociopolitical and ethical issue of our time. It is a global challenge. But it is also a challenge to California, one of the world's top agricultural producers. UC was proud to provide the opportunity for discussion around this vital topic.

Former Ireland President Mary Robinson, center, with Dan Dooley, senior vice president for external relations, UC Office of the President, and another conference participant.
The keynote was offered by the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson. Robinson spoke eloquently of food as a human right, and described inequalities in the food system.  Her opinion is that climate change will increase inequalities and human suffering, and that the effects of climate change are already being felt acutely in some parts of the world. She also spoke about the role of women in food production, and the need to provide equitable educational opportunities for girls throughout the world.  

Ms. Robinson’s talk was followed by a global food panel that tackled a number of issues, including GMOs, water, poverty, food access and human health. Lunch comments were offered by sustainability leader Wes Jackson, of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, where biodiversity in agricultural production is stressed. 

California is a key player in the global food system, and the afternoon session was devoted to discussing issues relating to California. Institutions, including UC and the USDA, were represented; producers also participated. The participation of young people involved in the food justice movement added vibrancy to the discussion; theirs is the generation that will fully feel the effects of the decisions we make today. While consensus was not reached on every issue, some thoughts about California agriculture emerged. We are innovative, we are vital to the national and global food supply, and what we do here matters.

Global Food Systems Forum, April 9, 2013
The event was streamed live across the world, and several hundred people participated in the conversation via social media, under the hashtag #food2025. At one point during the afternoon, the topic trended #3 on Twitter's United States feed. The diversity of participants in the discussion reflected the diversity of issues and challenges facing all of us.

Additional information about the program and speakers is available.

The link to the broadcast is located at http://food2025.ucanr.edu/webcast.

We hope that you’ll watch the broadcast, and add to the conversation. It’s one worth having, and one in which we all have a stake.

Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11:04 AM

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