Archive for the ‘Events’ Category


UN Conference Connects Food, Agriculture, and Climate Change

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By Carol Dreibelbis

This week and next, international decision makers are meeting at COP18/CMP 8, a UN conference on climate change in Doha, Qatar. Several events taking place today consider the relationship between agriculture and climate change, including a session entitled, “Climate Change & Ensuring Sustainable, Humane, Equitable Food Systems: Views from the North & South.”

Check out today’s issue of Outreach, a magazine published in conjunction with the conference. It features further discussion on food, agriculture, and climate change, including articles such as “China, Food Security, Climate Change, and the Future” and “Livestock and Climate Change: Intensification is Not the Answer.”

What topics in food and agriculture do you hope are addressed at the conference? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Carol Dreibelbis is a research intern for the Nourishing the Planet project.


When Every Drop Counts: The Need for Conservation and Improved Water Management in Agriculture

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Check out this op-ed published in the Des Moines Register by Nourishing the Planet Director Danielle Nierenberg and Research Associate Sophie Wenzlau. The article discusses the need for smart water use on farms in Iowa and around the world.

This week in Des Moines, the World Food Prize Foundation is celebrating Dr. Daniel Hillel’s critical work in micro-irrigation in the Middle East. As Iowa and many parts of the United States suffer from prolonged and severe drought, it is quickly becoming clear that conserving water use in agriculture can play a key role in sustainable food production.

To read the entire article, click here.


Going for the Gold in Sustainability at the London Olympic Games

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By Katie Spoden

The Olympic games are known for fierce competition, great spectacle, tremendous celebration, and complete transformation for the host city. However, the London 2012 Olympic Games are trying to leave a greener legacy for future Olympic games. According to the official site of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, the 2012 Olympics will be the world’s first truly sustainable Games. Towards a One Planet 2012 was created through a partnership between the London 2012 Olympic Committee, BioRegional, and the World Wildlife Foundation. The document sets the stage for an Olympic games “guided by the principle that the world should live within its means.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the first ever truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic games. (Photo credit: London 2012 Olympics)

One major element of the sustainability initiatives is the food served at the Games. More than 14 million meals will be served at over 40 different locations. Olympic organizers acknowledged feeding Olympic and Paralympic athletes and their fans is an enormous task that can have an enormous environmental impact. In preparation for this giant undertaking, London 2012 planners created the London 2012 Food Vision back in 2009.

The Food Vision is made up of five core themes: food safety and hygiene; choice and balance; food sourcing and supply chains; environmental management, resource efficiency and waste; and skills and education. These themes will be incorporated into food venues affecting the source of the food served, how it is served, and what it is served in.

In a commitment to use environmentally responsible sources, Olympic organizers have taken measures to lower London’s carbon foot print. Food vendors and caterers will maximize the use of local and seasonal produce, encourage the use of palm oil from sustainable sources, and seek out alternatives to unsustainable fish and livestock feed. Food services will measure and report their emissions from feeding the athletes and fans to be compiled with an overall London 2012 carbon footprint.

To increase nutrition, there will be wider use of grilling and steaming, use of whole grains, and appropriate meat portion sizes to encourage responsible eating habits. Olympic food organizers have won a Good Food on the Public Plate Award and a Good Egg Award from Compassion in World Farming in support of their commitment to sustainable, nutritious food. Olympic food organizers have also been recognized by the British pig industry for sustainable action supporting livestock.

Nearly 80 percent of waste from the Olympic Games comes from food waste and packaging. To reduce waste created from packaging, food vendors and caterers are instructed to bring in the least amount of packaging possible, the packaging that can’t be avoided must be reused, and what can’t get reused must be recycled or composted.



UN Agricultural Agency Proclaims 2013 as Year of the Quinoa

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By Edyth Parker

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has declared 2013 to be the Year of the Quinoa in their annual UN observance calendar. President Evo Morales of the Plurinational State of Bolivia described the announcement as a “historic moment.”

FAO has proclaimed 2013 as the Year of the Quinoa. (Photo credit: Elements4health)

Addressing the opening of the council of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Morales thanked the council for acknowledging not only the worth of the Quinoa crop’s potential to advance food security, but also the importance of the indigenous knowledge system that has led to sustainable harvesting practice.

The observance bestowment was proposed by the Plurinational State of Bolivia and received support from the governments of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations supported the initiative and further appointed President Morales to Special Ambassador of the FAO, a fitting position for a once small-scale Quinoa farmer.

The Year-2013 observance resolution calls on governments, as well as regional and international organizations, to support the initiative. It aims to “focus world attention on the role that quinoa biodiversity can play, owing to the nutritional value of quinoa, in providing food security and nutrition and in the eradication of poverty.”



BCFN webinar: “Food waste: how to reduce it from farming to consumption”

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By Arielle Golden

On May 23rd, 2012 at 5 PM CET [11 AM EST], The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) will hold a live webinar discussing food waste.

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition will host a webinar on food waste on Wednesday. (Image credit: BCFN)

More than 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year worldwide. At the same time more than a billion people do not have enough food. Food waste happens at every step in the food chain and and impacts food security, the economy, and the environment.

Speakers in the webinar include Andrea Segrè, Chairman of Last Minute Market and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Bologna; Tristram Stuart, writer and activist, winner of the international environmental award, the Sophie Prize 2011, for his fight against food waste, and author of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet; and Jean Schwab, head of the National Food Recovery Initiative run by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).



Chicago Council: Business and Innovation in Agriculture

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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ annual symposium, Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 Summit, was underway today. Follow the discussion on Twitter with @globalagdev #globalag 

The Chicago Council Symposium outlined important next steps for global agricultural development. (Photo credit: FAO)

The symposium’s afternoon sessions more specifically addressed the roles that business and innovation will be required to play in agricultural development. “[It is] the end of the era of the handout,” said Josette Sheeran, former head of the UN WFP and current Vice-Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “But the era of hand up is also dated and we’re in the era of the handshake.” According to the World Bank, 78 percent of African countries made regulatory reforms that make it easier to conduct business in their country in the past year. Connecting African farmers with partners on all levels of the value chain is key for the future of agricultural growth.

Attracting more youth to the field of agriculture was also heavily discussed. When asked what is the most important thing he’d like to see changed, Berry Marttin, Executive Board member, Rabobank, said, “That farming becomes attractive to young people.” This is an important idea given, that 65 percent of Africans are under the age of 25. Jeff Simmons, President Elanco Animal Health, agreed, saying, “We can’t have people moving away from rural areas with all of the opportunity in the next 50 years, we need to unlock the heart of the next generation—especially those who feel convicted to work in the fight against hunger.”



In Anticipation of the Brooklyn Food Conference: An Interview with Nancy Romer

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By Laura Reynolds

Name: Nancy Romer

Affiliation: Brooklyn Food Coalition

Bio: Nancy Romer is the General Coordinator at the Brooklyn Food Coalition and a psychology professor at City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. She was instrumental in organizing the first Brooklyn Food Conference in 2009, and established the Brooklyn Food Coalition in the same year after becoming inspired to transform the way people produce, distribute, and consume food.

Nancy Romer is the General Coordinator of the Brooklyn Food Coalition. (Photo credit:

The Brooklyn Food Coalition is hosting its annual Brooklyn Food Conference this Saturday, May 12, at the Brooklyn Technical High School. Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the conference, including the prominent speakers Vandana Shiva, world-renowned environmental activist; Lucas Benitez, Co-Director of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers; and several others. Events and workshops such as “The Future of New York City Food Policy” and “Faith and Feeding the Hungry” will run from 8:30am until 6pm. The conference will also feature cooking demonstrations, film screenings, kids’ activities, and an expo of non-profit and for-profit organizations.

With community gardens and farmers markets sprouting up all over the place lately, why do we still need events like the Brooklyn Food Conference?

We need the Brooklyn Food Conference, and other events that draw together all the actors working to reform the food system, because we need to change policy. We now have a range of activities, like farmers markets in certain neighborhoods, that can improve the lives of individuals or communities—but we still need far-reaching, major changes in policy that will spread these improvements across New York and the country. It is clear that the will to change policy is not going to come from the top; we need a heavy lift from the bottom to tell policymakers what we need and demand from our food systems, and the Brooklyn Food Conference is a major step in sending that message.



Slow Food President to Address the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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By Alison Blackmore

On May 14, Slow Food President Carlo Petrini will be speaking on the right to food and food sovereignty at the 11th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). His invitation to speak is the first time an external guest has been asked to address the Forum.

Carlo Petrini speaking at the Terra Madre conference in Turin, Italy. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

The UNPFII represents global issues pertinent to Indigenous Peoples. This year, at its annual two-week session, the Forum will focus on the “Doctrine of Discovery,” where Indigenous, governmental, and UN representatives will discuss the impact foreign conquests have had on Indigenous Peoples, and how to rectify these grievances.

At the Forum, Petrini will speak on the power Indigenous Peoples hold to deal with many of our most dire societal ills – from environmental crises to global health problems. For many years, Petrini and Slow Food have been working with Indigenous communities, learning from their agricultural approaches, supporting farming initiatives, and fostering connections between farmers. Petrini argues that returning to many traditional agricultural practices that work in harmony with the earth is one of the best ways to establish a food system that guarantees access to nutritional food without sacrificing the long term health of our environment.



First Peoples Worldwide at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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First Peoples Worldwide, an Indigenous rights advocacy organization, will co-sponsor a workshop at the Eleventh Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, taking place this May 7-18 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

The UNPFII provides an opportunity to advance Indigenous rights and needs. (Photo credit: First Peoples Worldwide)

The UNPFII is a body of the UN that deals specifically with Indigenous peoples’ issues.  This year’s theme will be “The Doctrine of Discovery: its enduring impact on Indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past consequences”, which will draw on articles 28 and 37 from the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).  The Doctrine of Discovery is an internationally recognized doctrine established in 1452 by the Vatican, which allowed native-occupied lands to be claimed by foreign explorers.

This year’s Permanent Forum will also cover the rights of Indigenous peoples to food and food security; the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which will be held in 2014 by the 65th General Assembly of the UN to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of indigenous peoples’ rights; a discussion of UNDRIP;  and a dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, James Anaya, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.



State of the World to Launch in France

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We are launching the French edition of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet in Paris next week, in partnership with the GoodPlanet Foundation.

Image credit: GoodPlanet Foundation

The event will take place on Monday, December 5th at 6:30 PM at Université Paris’s Institut de Géographie. Nourishing the Planet project director Danielle Nierenberg will be at the launch where she will join local agricultural experts in a discussion highlighting agricultural innovations that are working to alleviate hunger and poverty around the world.

Please click here for more event details.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.