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

Program and Schedule

The forum will provide an important and exciting opportunity for renowned researchers, policy makers, producers, and other food system leaders to address pressing issues and discuss potential solutions for feeding the world’s population using a healthy and ecologically sustainable food supply.  This event is also intended to be a forum for lively conversation and the exchange of ideas, which will help direct future efforts across many important sectors in agriculture and natural resources, both within and outside the university.

Keynote addresses will be given by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and President, Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice, and Wes Jackson, Founder and President of the Land Institute. The forum will be organized into two panels which will be moderated by Michael Specter; global issues writer for The New Yorker magazine, and award-winning author and journalist Mark Arax. The first panel will focus on the geopolitical, ethical, economic and technical challenges facing food systems from a global perspective, followed by a discussion centered on the environmental pressures that exacerbate these global challenges. The second panel will build on the discussions of the prior and question the implications, responsibilities and opportunities from a California perspective.

The university’s ability to help meet these challenges lies not only in our capacity for research and Extension, but through our ability to educate the next generation of problem solvers and leaders. The University of California will continue to play a leadership role in convening these kinds of dialogues, which will help guide the preparation of the next generation of students for careers in sustainable food production, as well as focus innovative research on finding solutions to these worldwide challenges.

Forum Schedule

9:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks — UC President Mark Yudof and Vice–President Barbara Allen-Diaz

9:15 Keynote Speaker — Mary Robinson, The Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice (MRFCJ)

9:35 Global Panel — Converging Forces in Food Systems: How to Feed 8 Billion People by 2025 and Protect the Planet's Natural Resources

11:45 Lunch with Keynote Speaker — Wes Jackson, Founder and President of The Land Institute

1:15 Global Panel continues

2:30 California Panel — Innovations and Implementation: A California Perspective on How to Launch New Ideas and new Movements to Address the Food Challenge

4:45 Summarize

Global Panel: Converging Forces in Food Systems - Key Questions

  • Will agriculture as it is now organized be able to feed the world in 2025, not just in terms of raw output but also delivery and quality?
  • What are the impediments in face of this challenge?
  • What are the opportunities for positive change, and who will provide the research and organizational structure to implement them?
  • What are the technical and resource limitations and what are the ethnical quandaries and geopolitical and gender inequalities that must be sorted out?
  • How is climate change complicating global food production? 
  • Are there limits to how much can be produced without putting excessive pressure on natural resources? 
  • Is large-scale sustainable farming compatible with the goals of the environmental movement? 
  • What are the scientific solutions that can help bring balance to the equation?
  • Are societies organized to meet this challenge?

California Panel: Innovations and Implementation - Key Questions

  • Given the discussion that has gone on all day, what are the implications, obligations, and opportunities for California agriculture?
  • Should we concentrate more on exporting knowledge or food products?
  • How do you balance the advances of science with the moral implications of their implementation?
  • How do you extend social movements beyond California’s borders?
  • What does it take to create new knowledge and apply it globally?
  • Is there a limit on what California can do?
  • Will there come a time when scientific advances can no longer overcome the effects of a growing population and a resource-constrained world?
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