Global Food Systems Forum
Global Food Systems Forum
Global Food Systems Forum
University of California
Global Food Systems Forum


The Challenge

The world is changing at a rapidly accelerating pace. Economies, political structures, ecological systems, technologies, population and demographics are transforming the world in profound ways, constantly changing the demands of our populace and on our environment. Perhaps the most pressing global issue relates to our capacity to develop sustainable agricultural practices that will feed a rapidly growing world population.  

The International Food Policy Research Institution indicates (2002) that “By 2025, [the] global population will likely increase to 8 billion, more than 80 percent of whom will live in developing countries and 58 percent in rapidly growing urban areas. In response to population growth and rising incomes, worldwide cereal demand will grow by a projected 46 percent between 1995 and 2025, and in developing countries by 65 percent; meat demand is projected to grow by 56 percent worldwide and more than double in the developing world; and calorie requirements and dietary trends will translate to even greater water demand if the food produced is to supply adequate nutrition.” 

A 2008 assessment by the U.S. National Intelligence Council, “Global Trends 2025: A Transforming World,” states that “between now and 2025, the world will have to juggle competing and conflicting energy security and food security concerns, yielding a tangle of difficult to manage consequences.” Among the rising forces, the NIC projected, will be ever greater portions of land and water devoted to crops grown for biofuels and, at the same time, expanding middle classes worldwide that will demand ever more proteins in their diets.

Our roots are in California, but our work has global impact.  As a major agricultural producer, California will play a vital role in answering the question, “How do we sustainably feed 8 billion people by 2025?”  What can we do to meet these challenges?

For further information, read the FAO Report on "Feeding the World by 2050."

Top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture

"The goal for the agricultural sector is no longer simply to maximize productivity, but to optimize across a far more complex landscape of production, rural development, environmental, social justice and food consumption outcomes. However, there remain significant challenges to developing national and international policies that support the wide emergence of more sustainable forms of land use and efficient agricultural production. The lack of information flow between scientists, practitioners and policy makers is known to exacerbate the difficulties, despite increased emphasis upon evidence-based policy.”

From Top 100 Questions IJAS 2010 (Pretty, et al.)

What the experts are saying...

"Between now and 2025, the world will have to juggle competing and conflicting energy and food security concerns, yielding a tangle of difficult-to-manage consequences."

National Intelligence Council

“We’re going to have to produce more food in the next 40 years than we have the last 10,000. Some people say we’ll just add more land or more water. But we’re not going to (be able to) do much of either.”

William Lesher, former USDA chief economist

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