Food Security in an Insecure World | Future of Food

July 12, 2019 posted by

okay good afternoon everyone I'm Terri Garcia and I'm the chief science and exploration officer here at National Geographic and this is our first panel it's entitled food security in an insecure world and you know in a world that's buffeted by change environmental political demographic the question is how do we feed a growing population and we have four experts here who are going to tell us how so starting at the far end from me is Dan Glickman who is co-chair of how do you pronounce this is it agree or agree whatever makes you happy well I said Audrey I like the a capital G all right agree which connects leaders around the world with food and agricultural issues he's the executive director of the Aspen Institute congressional program which seeks to educate congress which i think is a good thing members he was a member of Congress for 18 years US Secretary of Agriculture and chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America so held some of the coolest jobs in Washington tjada mckenna next to Dan is deputy coordinator for developments at the US Feed the Future initiative of USAID she's also acting an assistant administrator of USAID x' bureau for food security she's held senior positions at the Gates Foundation Monsanto and the McKenzie and company Danielle Nierenberg is co-founder and president of food tank it's described as the food think tank for the seven billion who have to eat each day she is an author and co-author of a number of books that range from topics such as gender and population factory farming and the developing world and sustainable agriculture she's traveled extensively in her job some 30 plus countries sub-saharan Africa Asia Latin America and was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and then next to me is Jackson Claire who is the executive vice president of the grocery division at Walmart us he has responsive ability for Walmart's grocery merchandising at more than 4,000 stores throughout the United States he's been in the retail food business since 1982 holding senior positions at Tesco and Safeway among others so let's start with an easy question first a softball for you guys Jonathan says that it's unlikely that we can double food production so what is it going to take to meet the nutritional needs of an additional two billion people in the next 40 years given that we're not even coming close at this point so maybe I'll start with Dan first of all thanks to National Geographic can you imagine 20 or 30 years ago having this conversation food and agriculture and diet they finally made it to the level where energy and war and peace and other issues have been at the top so that's really a terrific thing and but to answer your question what's it going to take in addition to the issues that John talked about and more funding for research basic research especially but research on water on sustainability on drought on nutrition I mean we've let our funding schemes for the research budget and for agriculture and food fall rather dramatically and that's that's what's built this industry and our ability to feed the world but but let me just say two things one is I'm an old politician so politics is such a foundational issue for everything that John and Denis talked about politics and America politics worldwide I was just in Japan and Japan has got a different system of Agriculture that they're working their darndest to protect and it's a very very small scale agriculture you look at agriculture in the United States you look at agriculture in Europe and and these issues dominate the way policies are made and so if we're going to really address this these issues then the political leaders have to be part of the game and to date they really haven't been very much part of the game the second is governance in these countries if we're going to make real strides we've got to have systems of governance that allow people small holder farmers average people consumers have impact into the policies and and all so the democracies to the best extent possible can flourish so that decisions are not made just because what's the rich and powerful think or just only because what's in the best interest of the poor but for all the population as a whole so politics governance and research I've got more things to say but I think that that has as much to do with this as anything else one final thing there's an issue that hasn't been mentioned by anybody here and that's the issue of health if you believe you are what you eat and you watching the amount of non communicable diseases dramatically rise all over the world cardiovascular diabetes health related diseases in almost every context they're due to what you eat or what you don't eat so the politics of food is also related very much the politics of health yeah Jay did you want to yeah I absolutely agree with Dan and and I'd like to answer that question from a different dimension and that is the dimension of the individual farmer so in our work every day we think about the eight hundred and sixty million people that go to bed hungry every night most of them are small farmers predominately women who are working the land every day for their food so what does that mean for them they need the access to the research and the technologies that Dan mentioned they need to be able to have the better crop varieties and the other tools to get as much out of their land as possible they need access to information about nutrition and other behavioral change things so that they can get more calories from what they're eating they need a lot of small scale solutions like local storage and things that they don't waste the food that they have but they also need better safety nets and other things that help them to be more resilient and to plan and to be able to do more in in lean times whether that be crop insurance which is the thing that most American farmers take for granted or just even access to savings account and finance to buy food when when there is a lean season Danielle did you Karen I would echo a lot of what Dan and Jada said but I think we also need to start investing in the things that we already know work you know we've had this practice of agricultural abandonment for 30 or 40 years now where we completely ignored small-scale farmers we ignored agriculture and then you know food crisis of 2007 and 2008 hit you know that really hasn't gone away and we're interested in agriculture again because we're scared we see food riots we see people really suffering and who have long been ignored so investing in things like nutrient-dense crops and not the starchy staple crops that have gotten so much investment over the last three or four decades investing in the things that actually nourish people will go a long way in solving some of these problems things that you know Jada mentioned you know investing in women women make up 43 percent of the agricultural labor force and yet get very little in terms of services they don't have access to education or extension services they don't have access to financial services or credit and and they they don't get access to inputs and some of the services that male farmers do and if if we can give them those services and find ways to create that access IFA predicts that we could lift 100 to 150 million people out of hunger and poverty so those are some steps that need to be taken and Jack yeah first of all thanks to National Geographic for what they're doing it I really think it's terrific they've always National Geographic to me when I was a little boy was always a window in the world and I think putting a window in the world of this issue is a really important one so I really appreciate the fact that we've all be pulled together here when it comes to how we think about the challenge of sourcing the amount of food that Walmart we sell more food than anybody else our big challenges how do we source more of that food and we think the challenge that we face are trying to buy a lot more food kind of mirrors the challenge of how do we create more food for the world and it really is I thought some of the the discussion that we had just a moment ago some of the things that you've all talked about how do we create more food more efficiently as we look at the challenge of buying a billion pounds more bananas between now and 2018 how are we going to use water more effectively how are we going to use the the resources of the planet more effectively to produce that we fundamentally believe technology plays a huge role in that the role of technology at trying to make food more efficient and more efficiently produced we think fundamentally those opportunities to use areas of the world where there is fertile land available to produce we think in the United States about the Mississippi River Delta the opportunity to produce more food in that environment and those opportunities within the local farming to within the local farming movement which are very supportive of how to create more crops closer to where we sell the food that we want to produce and the other point I think is really important is the food waste point food waste is such a kind of it's all morally bankrupt the amount of food waste that happens in the in the world and part of the issues are small issues of what happens in consumers homes there's some packaging opportunities in that as ways of of we as a consumer company making some improvement there those challenges in terms of the supply chain how do products travel such a long way in the waste that's involved in that traveling those ways of doing that more efficiently going forward and we're thinking about that and then there's some pretty big things I they had the opportunity to be in Peru last last week which is a fascinating country a real natural greenhouse where the cooling airs of the Antarctic me they're a very warm country appropriate for a lot of agriculture growth but irrigation schemes that allow the deserts to turn into blueberry fields and asparagus fields astonishing to watch but you need roads you need airports you need ports to enable some of that product to get to the cut to get to the consumer so we're getting last waste if you look to the chart there India's an amazingly fertile country it's astonishing the amount of food that's produced in India and then wasted because it just can't get to market because the infrastructure aren't there which downlinks a lot to the politics of how do we create the politics to create the infrastructure and I think USAID and some of the what you guys are doing to try and make that come alive it's going to be important going forward good good right now you're very ambitious let's maybe we stick with how do you source more food and I'd like to get your comments on this this growing phenomenon that we're seeing of rich countries buying or it's been called renting food poor ones to increase their own food supply and how big an issue is that or problem and if it is what do we do about it and I think I'll start with Jada it's done correctly it's an opportunity if it provides a market for for food from these countries and allows more income for the people that are benefiting from that trade to then be able to buy other food locally that that's appropriate where it's irresponsible is where people think of the plan grabs and that and that is something that there's a lot more transparency needed in terms of what's happening where land is going more responsible land tenure systems and there are other safeguards that we need to put in place to prevent that from you know if you were if you're from China and you're looking down the road you have 1.3 billion people and you want to keep those people happy and not marching in Beijing the Great Hall the people then you're going to kind of figure out how you're going to feed these people in the future well you're going to buy a lot from like the United States and elsewhere which they do but you're also going to try to source that as much as you possibly can and so they're out Latin America and East Africa and other places buying a lot of land and it's a problem I have to tell you it because often with those purchases do not go good farming practices good sustainability practices and democracy building activities so it's got to really be watched carefully and folks like the UN University people we need to make sure we have the data on this so people see it happening but on the other hand the fact that matter is we're telling people to eat more fruits and vegetables you know I wish we could grow them all in the United States but then let until global warming really hits us we're not going to be able to grow as as much blueberries and tangerines and citrus and avocados and other things in the United States so we're going to have to buy those elsewhere and there's a great opportunity I think as long as we're fair in our trade practices and as long as we try to build up working conditions in places where we buy because we buy coffee almost everywhere in the world and a lot of the companies are in fact doing a better job of making sure that people are treated well there is we've got to make sure as we buy these that we encourage sustainable practices in the process and if we do that then we can build up those countries and not tear them down this is an opportunity for groups like the rainforest alliance who works very closely with smallholder farmers all over the world to put those practices in place so that both the farmers are getting a fair price for what they're growing and we as eaters can feel good about it so that we don't because there's not this transparency in the food system that we would all like you know these these sorts of Fairtrade standard and certification programs are very important and the rainforest alliance really does this better than anyone so I certainly think transparency is gonna help all of us I think there that the inevitability is we are we have to source food from all over the world you go no matter how good your local program is we have to buy bananas from Costa Rica it is just the way it is and that's because and people want to buy that we'll always be standing for giving people choice to buy or anything that they want to buy and finding a way of creating availability for customers within that context we have to try and do it as efficiently as we can an efficiency often comes from sharing best practice it's really interesting when you look at things like the use of fertilizer if we could use less fertilizer I think the world will be in a better place for carbon emissions and the impact on on climate but it's quite interesting in certain parts of the world it's being used very efficiently another part of the world not being used efficiently how can I think there's opportunities for us to learn in terms of what's happening in one place and applying in other places which actually well I think strengthen food security going forward and actually hopefully bring price of food down one of the challenges that we we always think about is as we try and get to food security what is the impact on the price for the customer because the biggest threat to food security is if the price of commodity price of foods go up and people literally get dragged into hunger so the thought that the forces that try and bring the price of food down to drive efficiency is a very important force to ensure that we get the security of the food that we need can I just mention one u.s. farm policy let's bring a little bit down to earth for years and years if you were a US farmer and you wanted a subsidy from the government and you planted one of the major crops wheat corn cotton rice and soybeans you were given a crop base you could grow on that but you couldn't grow anything else on that so if you wanted to grow peaches or pears or tomatoes on your weak base now this is modern America this isn't 19th century or 20th century Russia this is America you couldn't plant those crops or else you'd lose all your payments on your base of wheat corn cotton rice and soybeans so what did that mean that meant that vast areas of the country that could be planted to alternative crops in addition to the base crops couldn't because a farmer couldn't do it this farm bill changed that a little bit it also allowed for the first time to buy risk management and crop insurance on new crops so I mean it's just kind of a simple thing that you know you tried it want to bring as much flexibility into the American folk I'm just I'm an American farm world the European farm world is even far more complicated and rigid in the American farm world but just a thing that maybe that will help us realize we can grow a lot of things in this country that we haven't been growing and I think that I as the price of energy continues to rise there's more opportunities to have more local production it's really interesting in in Arkansas which used to be I'm from Arkansas you can tell from my Arkansas used to grow a lot of the nation's apples and because the soil in Washington is better and it's easier to grow up there won't arraign it but apples started to produced a huge volume and a lot of second third generation are Kansans our own Washington grown apples as the price of energy changes that bringing it across the country it's not changes not drives I think that's going to be one of the economic drivers to get more local production of crops are perfectly perfectly high-quality and can be done the right way closer to home yeah I'm at you know I think the the drought that hit the Midwest in the 2012 in 2012 and the drought that's occurring in California right now is making farmers and eaters sort of rethink production you know because the crops that they could grow you know 10 or 15 years ago aren't going there they might not be able to grow them 10 or 15 years from now and this is a real opportunity for us to learn what you know from small farmers in the developing world have been adapting to variations in weather and climate change for a while now they've they've been able to change their practices and we have a lot to learn from them it's it's not always the other way around where we have you know we can teach them something that we can also learn from them okay so Jonathan mentioned in his opening remarks that we also have to change behavior you know how and and what we eat and at the beginning of this panel we talked about the fact that we have a growing population two billion more people are going to be added but we're also seeing this other phenomenon of massive urbanization around the world where in many cases you're going to have a richer population demanding more food how is that going to impact this this dialogue that we're having now this issue we're looking at the opportunities that that creates so for one of the things that we're trying to do is keep rural environments healthy and strong and to provide good livelihoods for rural producers in the developing world so those urban markets become a source of that those are markets for those farmers so we're looking for transport solutions and storage solutions to get to them I mean the other piece of that behavior changes as we know and as Jonathan talked about as consumers get more income their diets change or they begin to think things that they might have had back in the village and a field like the indigenous vegetables that were grown there all of a sudden aren't good enough well they're great enough they're much healthier than some of the other things that they might replace those things with so I think there is this there's this continuing education and behavior change dynamic especially for the urban populations occur further away but also as the rural economies grow convincing those rule that the some of the foods that you were eating before like sorghum are these leafy green indigenous vegetables they're still great foods that you should continue to eat and that we should continue to be marketing an urban environment you know you know I've got this everybody I'm sure everybody in this room has one of these things I just came back from Guatemala and Honduras on a care sponsored trip I saw more cell towers in Guatemala than I've seen in the United States they're everywhere the the ability to access the internet it was better outside of Guatemala City than any place in Washington DC that I was at ok and so what does that mean I mean that has a powerful factor in terms of information ability to communicate understanding what's happening and giving consumers more power everywhere even poor consumers so so the democratization of the food movement is I think very consistent with new technologies and it will allow a lot more ability for the consumers to demand things that they want and I think that's a big factor in this whole area that it's somebody said I think John said it's not all bleak well part of its not bleak because people have the ability to access information everywhere but it does present a problem because if the world is rapidly urbanizing and if 70% of the water is going to feed crops how do you think the people in urban areas are going to react when they can't get water what do you think that Chinese government is going to do to try to quell let's say disturbances on the ground when people can't get water and so I do think that as we talk about this issue of urbanization and we are going to see more farmers markets more growing of crops locally somebody said they were going to be growing more crops on building roofs and all that things it's possible I hope so but it does present a enormous potential conflict of water rights and the ability of consumers in cities to have water and the ability of farmers to go crops and raise animals to have water that is an enormous challenge with regard to urbanization I think one of the things that's quite access to food is not that good in the urban markets of the United States not that far not far from where we're sitting here to know here just know does not greet access to high-quality fresh foods if you go to Chicago and Los Angeles New York it's not easy to access well priced affordable fresh fruits and that's certainly when certainly that's an important part of some of the things we're trying to do at Walmart and building some stores and in urban areas we've got to pretty close to here they've opened in the last year and part of that is how do we bring access we've been very encouraged by the the Let's Move program that Michelle Obama worked on we've been trying to support that you know in a very proactive way some of the things about changing people's diets you can only do so much people have to choose but the one thing we can do is make sure price is not a determining factor in people choosing unhealthy diets / healthy diets so simple things like high sodium soups against low sodium soups why can we not at least have them at the same price it tends to be that the low sodium versions or the the lower sugar versions are the lower fat versions tend to be more expensive than they stand and we're doing a lot of work to try and equalize so the choice that people make is based on the choice that they want to make from the diets point of view not based on price and too often there's not enough access to healthy foods fresh foods at the right prices and that's something that I think we can make a difference on and just to go back to both Dan and Jada's point about different kinds of foods and and water again for me it really gets back to this investment that needs to happen in in in different kinds of crops and nutrient dense crops and perhaps that can preserve water resources that it can enhance soils and you know it takes some education and awareness about these indigenous foods that people have looked down upon because they consider them poor people's foods or weeds and you know it's very interesting when you walk into you know a market or a small grocery store in Dakar Abita John you'll you'll see very few products actually produced you know from Senegal or Cote d'Ivoire in in those markets in those grocery stores so really sort of having a program to really help people value the food that they grow up on the foods that are regional and local that are culturally over it and again nutrient-dense and diverse that can really help I think a lot in urban areas so let's move to a non-controversial topic what and I'd like to hear from each of you what's the role of genetically modified plants and and should we be seeking to improve genetic features and characteristics of crops let's watch the star question coming George saw yeah yeah um technology's got a key role to play in terms of driving efficiency and driving the economics of producing food more effectively and more to enable us to produce more food with less resources when I had a really interesting conversation with a farmer from Illinois this week it was Dana we convened a group of people together at in Bentonville and Gilad CEOs from Monsanto and PepsiCo and made some commitments very specific commitments in their in the agriculture space and how we can reduce greenhouse gases and a number of things and the conversation we had with the with a farmer a second thought generation farmer from Illinois family farm showed his picture of all his of all his children and his grandchildren and what he talked about was and he very specifically made the plea please talk please don't tell me I can't use genetically modified crops Walmart a genetic genetic Lee modified materials Walmart because my son and my grandsons are able to produce food without spraying insecticides which I had to do and I want to be able to spray I want them to be able to not have to use insecticides so the benefits of GM there are real benefits of GM it's not the panacea to any of the challenges of producing food in the world and I think some of the initiatives in smallholders and making sure we go back to some of the principles that worked really effectively in agriculture over many centuries are really important as well and it can't be a very simple solution that says GM's are all the answer and GM not the answer it's incredibly polarizing issue but I think that a middle ground that makes sense of maximising the production of food that we can get from scarce resources making the environment a better place going forward while using them effectively while not abandoning all the other sensible and creative ways that we can make food more efficient so before I leave you could could you just come in on how Walmart is addressing this in terms of educating the public for or against on the on this issue well it's it's we don't see it as a rule to educate the public we work we will stand for choice we'll put products in front of people and give them the choice and we're expanding our organic we think the best way for customers to access non-gmo products which the which a lot of them want to do is for us to provide a much broader organic assortment we've made an announcement the last two or three weeks where we're going to launch a brand called wild oats where the pricing of organic is going to be the same pricing is conventional so people can access organic food and that's I think the best way for a customer that's got a very clear view that they don't want GM in the food to enable them to access that comfortably without having to pay a premium for it anybody else on sure uh you know there's no question that that agricultural biotechnology is very interesting and sexy and it creates obviously a lot of controversy for me who's someone who has had this incredible opportunity to talk to hundreds of farmers and farmers groups all over the world for me to what it comes down to is is biotechnology and agriculture living up to its promises and in some cases I think it's not conventional yields versus organic yields versus biotech yields are pretty much the same and often organic comes out ahead and and you know again because of my experience you know my question is always is this helping improve the lives of small farmers are they getting greater income are they eating more diverse foods are they able to you know really just improve their overall livelihoods and and for me I haven't seen that I think there may be potential there but again it really comes down to investing and what we already know works the things that are sort of below hang fruit in the food system the the things that John Foley talked about a little while ago food waste is the low-hanging fruit where we're wasting or losing you know it at least thirty percent of all the food that is produced but there are very simple measures that farmers can take to prevent food loss from from field you know to market to fork very low cost inexpensive things that can be done from better drying techniques to better cooling and storage systems to very simple things like roads and so if we're going to invest in something I think it should be those things and instead of just you know looking at and again I think it's a very interesting and it could be a potential solution but we have to make these changes now we have to feed people now and we have to really find ways to do that better the US has is is home to some of the largest areas of organic production in the world as well as some of the largest areas of GMO and conventional production in the world and what that's and that's because of choice farmer small holder farmers have to be able to make the choice of what's good for their climate for their soils what kind of farming is best for them and consumers are making choices about what kind of food they want to eat genetically genetic engineering has a lot of 10 provides is an important tool and can do things to enhance the nutrient of crops it can also enhance the production of crops and so it's an important tool in the tool kit it's not a magic bullet but it's certainly one that people deserve to have access to the choice and and to have a full array of tools in front of them to decide what's the best solution for their farming system if their farmers if their consumers what's the best solution for what I want to eat well I'm a little bit like Jack I'm kind of in the middle of the road on this I recall there was an Ag Commissioner in Texas named Jim hi ter and he said the only thing in the middle of the road is a yellow stripe and a dead armadillo okay so and probably Jack and I you know I have complained to some of the seed companies that the traits that they've produced don't seem to benefit consumers I've said if you maybe make some traits that would grow hair in addition to resisting end maybe Jack and I would but here's the deal okay so I was down and I Guatemala Honduras visiting smallholder farmers I mean what they need is some fertilizer they need better seeds they don't necessarily need GMO crops right now they can double and triple their yields by just using more modern farming techniques which AI D is helping them on which extent they're building extension systems and so to large parts of the world these are not necessarily issues that relate to them as Danielle said on the other hand we you know there's an ideologue there's an ideology out there about this it's like you're either for or against GMOs kind of on your on the left or you on the right the fact the matter is is that it's why we need a supple research budget to look at all these things to examine the options now if we're facing climate change in global warming which I think we are we're going to see a lot more plant disease we're going to see a lot less water and we've got to can't just reject the options that are out there to grow more food with less water and have plants that are more less susceptible to stress and disease we've got because of lack of a lot of genetic diversity we've got some crops out there like wheat that are very susceptible to a worldwide plant epidemic of disease so you're going to need some technologies new technologies and just to say no GMOs is just to close the door on science which is a terrible thing for us to do for the population this world it's going to need to eat reliably in a vastly changing world with vastly changing climate yeah let's maybe we can stay with climate because you you've mentioned one thing that we could do perhaps in response to a change in climate the the most recent report that's come out of the IPCC is not the most encouraging it indicates that greenhouse gases are increasing faster than we thought and that it is possible that we could exceed that 2 degrees centigrade ceiling that we hoped we would never passthrough what else can we do as we begin to approach this this uncertain you better change the politics of this in fact I'm involved with Chicago Council on global affairs we're going to have a symposium on this in Washington two weeks to talk about climate change and weather variability but in this country the politics divide the country almost in half whether you believe climate change is real or whether you believe it's not real and then the process we're gridlocked on these issues on issues of for example how we deal with carbon emissions and and I think most farmers out in the countryside know that something's happening weather is changing it's getting warmer and drier and the weather is more volatile than it used to be now whether this is because of the natural evolution of of weather in climate whether it's because of more carbon emission in the atmosphere whether it's man-made caused or whether it's natural it's happening so we have to deal with it and what's happening is is that the United States I think has been stuck on these issues because of the politics and the ideology of climate change and therefore we haven't been as participatory in the rest of the world it it is it's been looking at these things at the same time I think there are a lot of folks in the u.s. feel that maybe some other folks look at this from an ideological perspective and not from good science perspective but and I you know I understand that but I would hope that maybe one of the things that come come out of this conference and out of the series that National Geographic is going to do is is a kind of description of the problems of weather and climate in a way where the American people can understand it better becomes less political less ideological and a little more objective in terms of discussion back to you again Dan the the role of research I actually had a question on that you raised it you've raised it several times now what do we do about that how do we find the resources that are necessary to have a robust research and scientific paper thought that if we put all agriculture research within the Department of Defense we would get funny money you know but uh you know or the National Institutes of Health you know you know ultimately you got to get political support for this we have you know good research institutions but the level of research in agriculture and food and real dollars has been going down the company's a lot of the big companies do a lot of their own research but that does Jack and I were talking about before that doesn't deal with some of the basic issues plant genetics understanding growth patterns that we need to do so it just needs to be a higher priority within the agriculture world and the food world and one final thing in the last farm bill when we had it took three years to get this farm bill passed there was virtually no discussion of research none the discussion was almost always on what was going to be the payments to farmers under the existing programs and so as we talk about these issues today in the United States we need to kind of and I've been a big advocate of farm programs over the years and I'm from Kansas and we have been a beneficiary of a lot of this program but then agriculture itself we have to look these issues much broader and much more holistically than just how much each farmer is going to get in payments from Uncle Sam yeah under Feed the Future we have the United States government has increased its investment in research an agricultural research for the countries in which we serve dramatically and a lot of that a lot of how we're trying to get more out of our investment dollars is through collaboration so we work very intensively with the US University community we have a series of it we have 23 innovation labs that seek to leverage US innovation and expertise also in partnerships with private companies so DuPont or Monsanto may be developing drought tolerant varieties for rich farmers we as government's can work with them to also adapt those technologies for poorer farmers we also are investing a tremendous amount in working with local countries to invest their own local agricultural research institutes because we need in developing countries we need those research institutes to be doing cutting-edge science on the crops and the pests and the different things that affect their agriculture so it is really an integral part of a program and something we're really connecting scientists as well as increasing the investment we think will have huge dividends uh yeah it's not only connecting scientists which is so important but connecting scientists to farmers on the ground who are actually doing the work and that's why participatory research is so important you know and engaging those farmers and you know helping us understand what they need rather than telling them what they want in so many cases I also think it's important on the research side to recognize you know some some groups that may not be traditional scientific research institutes or universities you know the rodeo Institute who I think is here somewhere in the audience today has been doing these 30 year studies of how to really not just you know adapt to climate change and mitigate climate change but also you know really turn back climate change through some of their work on soils so I think that's important to understand and I'm sure Jerry Glover who's on the next panel will talk about the important work that the land institute has been doing for many years so it's it's important to really you know for lack of a better phrase to think outside the box when we're talking about research it's not you know just always scientists and labs it's it's a lot of the work that needs to be done in fields and kitchens all over all over the world so from from our point of view we've got a program called the future of food which is a we didn't copy National Geographic but we look at where we're gonna be five years from now in terms of what we need to source globally and it always comes back to how are we going to use our resources more effectively so if you go to a country like Israel and see how they are developing their technologies to utilize water more effectively it's it's astonishing to see the kind of drip irrigation and innovation that's coming in terms of a rootless one centimeter from the other gets more water than the other depending on what it needs from its nutrients and providing capital solutions with that kind of research so in order to fulfill our needs going forward we're signing a number of research agreements we've done it with two institutes and ezreal we're doing some working in holland how do you create the technology to make it more efficient for us to produce more but cheaper I don't pretend to understand how the politics of this'll all play out but ultimately we we think that research please the fundamental rule and the research I'm talking about one step removed from the research that I think needs to go on to really truly get us agriculture where it needs to be going forward because it's always been if you think about something at Norland norman borlaug one of the great americans who transformed agriculture from what he did we need that kind of fieldwork that went on behind that and the combination of the science and technology that goes to make that work more effectively and anything we can do to encourage on anything all of you can do can encourage that I think will make a significant difference to the US and to the capacity for the planet to feed its population great ok now for the hard part of the day we're going to take questions from the audience we've been trying to warm them up and give them time to think about what they want to ask we have time for a few questions and somebody has a microphone that they'll be bringing around I see someone right down here thank you David Lambert great panel I get the sense from what I've read recently and what I've heard today that the political alliance is on climate change you're about to change really dramatically when Walmart has trouble sourcing food and Nike can't source cotton and coca-cola can't source water and citrus is industry our company is beginning to think we may be on the wrong side of this fight and will that help raise awareness in Congress about climate change well my judgment is if you ask me what most who is the most important force in the world today on agriculture I point to Walmart not the United States government not the United Nations and Walmart and others not just you know pressure because their ability to listen to their consumers and then to source product based upon what they think is in their interest which is becoming more sustainability better working conditions better water better treatment of growers and climate they can have this powerful impact they and others like them and I think it's happening now and the US government and others may be following behind not leading in this regard I think it's important that the corporation's I think the thing I said surely we convene well must get the power of convening we don't do anything else but buy things and sell things but we've got a power of convening and the opportunity that we had this week in bentonville with coca-cola and Monsanto and Cargill and the dairy farmers of america and a number of other people to say what are the key issues and agricultural inputs are one of the key issues facing all of us the scarcity of that and the impact that using it in a button with over-indulgence the impact that's having on climate change and then the impact that's having the opportunity made a number all made a number of commitments behind that I think they all play a key role within it but I do think the government's got a big role to play in terms of how you can support the whole industry and add that back to this research and the science and supporting science I don't again I don't pretend to understand the politics of it and I think it is too polarizing but it seems to me that primary research has got a really key role to help organizations like coca-cola and PepsiCo and Walmart be more effective of what we do as well so do we have time for another couple of questions yeah yeah okay anyone else oh there's somebody with a hand up right there hi thank you for this wonderful forum my name is helen damballa I am with the National Farm to School Network and we're talking a lot about the future of food and part of the future is our children so farm to school is not just about getting local farm-fresh products into schools which you know reduces food miles gives farmers a bigger share of the dollar supports Community Economic Development but it's also about school gardens and educational curriculum so it's not trying to teach every kid to want to be a farmer granted we do have an aging population of farmers in this country almost 58 years old so we do need some kids to want to be farmers but it's knowing that the future generation are our future eaters our future researchers so I'm curious if any of you are looking at that that younger generation and considering the importance of educating children in the work that all of you do or it perhaps if that's part of what National Geographic is looking at thank you anybody care done absolutely it's a really important part of three tanks work we want to cultivate the next generation of agricultural leaders and as you said that's not just farmers it's well-informed eaters it's food scientists and researchers which you know especially women and girls we want to encourage them to partake more in that that sort of work we want to help entrepreneurs in the food system really get the the resources and the tools they need to be good at for businesses small and large and so I think without that as you said you know the the average age of farmers according to the latest AG census is fifty eight point three years old in the United States it's gone up since the last one in sub-saharan Africa it's roughly 57 years old so we have this aging population of people who are providing food for all of us and so how do we you know how do we capitalize on programs like yours where you're teaching kids to appreciate food you're teaching them how to grow it you're probably teaching them how to cook it you're teaching them how to share it these are all important things for really the future food for us all and I'd say 4-h does an amazing job and now more and more in urban areas get your local school districts all over the country to really get involved in this I think the transparency of food and making making us all passionate about how foods grown and how foods produced and inspiring children can inspire all of us in terms of the real passion for that when they get involved in it and I think there's a lot more we can all do and I think the food industry needs to become much more transparent about how it things and what it does things and be very comfortable with letting people in our farms and letting people on our farm you know see how things are grow and see how animals are raised and and there's some there's some real opportunities I think for all of us to get banged that this is a question from Twitter user modern farmer he asks how do we make sure that relevant technologies reach rural farmers for increased in quality production if I understand the question correctly that's historically been a big in the u.s. it's been a big role of extension through the land-grant college movement to get education on modern techniques and agriculture food production nutrition to farmers and to local folks more urban and rural and I know that AI D is very actively involved in this whole concept of extension and using this model this amazing model that was developed during the administration of Abraham Lincoln that changed America profoundly and some of those same techniques are just applicable all over the world yeah exactly so and we're looking at a variety of extension so there's there's a lot of private company extension there's still government extension agencies that we need to beef up as well as like using your people's cell phones as extension tools radio is extension to lots of ways to promote and disseminate technologies more a corollary to that that's actually also very important is making sure there's equitable access to those technologies so those technologies are available to women in those rural committee communities that the women's use of those technologies is thought of when those technologies are designed so we promote them and we think about ways to disseminate them but also making sure that they are available to women and that accessible to women is a big part of adoption and really getting it out there yeah okay I'm afraid that's gonna be the last word I want to thank this panel you guys did a great job give them a hand you


30 Replies to “Food Security in an Insecure World | Future of Food”

  1. Bladys Soler says:

    This is America

  2. Krishna Garu says:

    I support that politics related to food directly affects the politic related to health
    and what we digest gonna is obviously affect the health.

  3. Thjeok Thjeok says:

    Slow down populations , problem fixed , economists might disagree but they are only concerned with money . I live in Australia where these kind of people are getting us to take on so many immigrants – in one of the driest countries in the world – its unsustainable . Sustainability should be priority .I now support small farms .

  4. Vinod Waghmare says:

    Suggest me measuring parameters or survey of food security only for BPL people

  5. Gu Guss says:

    no to greedy corporations.

  6. Levon Guyumjian says:

    This is unbelievable someone working for US government like Dan Glickman he is totally retarded. He said " when global warming hits US will buy more food from other countries"? No wonder scientists non stop destroying the nature because people like Dan working for US government, this guys tempering with nature without of even knowing where is going to take the mess they are creating. This planet has enough fertile land to feed 20 billion people, however it doesn't mean US still will to do business as usual just for them nothing for others policies, than calling rest of humanity useless eaters few parasites the ones sucking the blood out of humanity, making decisions who have the right to live and who deserve to die. Creating meaningless wars just to take innocent life's because they disagree with their way of doing business. If photons pick up the heat strength again out of sudden people will understand, what is falling from the sky is going to destroy them. Imagine photons coming down like rain from sky but lot smaller than rain droplets and lot denser than rain droplets, they are about size of atoms, temperature on the surface of the earth depends on this photons if they don't reach all the way to the ground earth never will heat up, just like the mountain tops. All the difference makes heat density of the photons, if photons are extremely hot deeper they will penetrate into top soil more it will radiate back into the space, less density heat they have less heat will radiate back to space, even though atmosphere rob so much of it before photons reach to the surface.

  7. Debanie says:

    How is whether Global Warming is real or not, still even a question!?

  8. Camcrazy530 says:

    This was an remarkably ineffective forum. Dan Glickman and Danielle Nirenberg are the only two who provided any hands on information, and the rest of the discussion was in lofty abstracts that those in the World Bank or Monsanto speak in… Abstract, vague goals, cellphones to improve food sovereignty? Empowering women with more education? absolutely, but doing this through the conventional manner of food aid and fertilizer subsides? How does that help the collapsing of our river and ocean systems that billions depend on due to fertilizer runoff?
    And I'm sorry, but how do the panelists keep a straight face when Wal-Mart's rep is tooting the horn that Wal Mart is helping small farmers and businesses? Scottish irony I suppose

  9. Mhm Als says:

    everybody responsible about inviromaent

  10. Mhm Als says:

    all farmers in our country they haven't any respect by goverment

  11. Mhm Als says:

    it's not solve by make conversation it's solve by worked hard

  12. Alana Chriest says:

    The answer to global food security is giving everyone cell phones? How far has society abstracted food as a market commodity from the real world? The only two who have anything substantial to say are the women panelists, and between the two the one with world travels and ground level experience has the most pertinent thoughts.

  13. Bapak Dian says:

    hey all, the very best success that I have ever had was with Adams fat code (i found it on google). Definitely the most workable diet that I have tried.

  14. Tigist Gebrehiwot says:

    world wide disorder when it comes to food. those who lack food tend to swarm in and use violence to obtain it, why all this silent…on food

  15. Jamie Hume says:

    The answer to feeding everyone and how to do it, depends on what paradigm you believe in.

  16. XT21 says:

    Dont even want to hear it, one of them work with Monsanto and Walmart makes profit from food, why listen to them..most of them are untrustworthy fuck

  17. Shi Junhong says:

    It is a very important world problem, and it need all of countries to work hard

  18. Charles Barnes says:

    They are just talking heads; they contradict themselves all the time' very concerned with how important they are, but most of all state the obvious as to the problems with a fairy wish list of solutions.

  19. vodkaplayer says:

    hey USA! Do you realise that the whole world hate you ???

  20. Anna Stepanyan says:

    Great video by the way, here is another way of helping planet earth from over exhaustion…. STOP HAVING MANY CHILDERN! I myself don't have any and I'm not planning to… I admire with couples who have got 1 child and can provide her/him with food, education and care, it's just harder to do these things righteously if there are many of your copies in this life.

  21. jerry drake says:

    Aquaponics is a food revolution in the making.  It is a closed water system – there is very little water needed to produce crops and animal protein – that rears fish in a tank in the lower part of the system and the fish produce waste product that supplies organic fertilization for vegetable crops in the upper levels.  This system provides the opportunity to sunny arid water restricted climates like Africa to produce vegetables and animal protein in very productive farm where they were not able to do before.  It also provides the opportunity for developed nations to provide sustainable local food production varying from home production to commercial supply.  

  22. SEAN PAN says:

    Emulate China's one child policy, until real decline of population is achieved. It may take 50 years.

  23. 馮健 says:

    Watched in 2X speed. Still feel my time wasted. 

  24. Grid Bandit says:

    Take a really close look at supercycles, and the Elliott Wave Principle. We learn by trial and error, again and again, but we are maintaining more steps forward than we take backwards. Human history is filled with huge setbacks that end up resulting in huge leaps in mousetrap engineering! This is a great time to be alive, we are potentially going to inhabit the cosmos! We have to face these challenges with exponential advancement, we have only had airplanes for a little over a century! The real challenge is keeping the setting of our future agendas somewhat democratic, corporations and bankers and politicians have to be tempered, possibly in increasingly exponential ways by society as a whole, Try and develop knowledge of what 'antifragility' is in nature, and how we as humans need to integrate more of it into our abilities to deal with cycles and supercycles, that we really can't live without, but we will survive if we continue to evolve in our reactions to them!  

  25. J.C Quiñones says:

    "Insecure World", "Food Security",???

  26. Camila Johnson says:


  27. Camila Johnson says:

    Around 22:20 the gentleman starts talking about the need to offer affordable food of high quality, and how price shouldn't be what determines if one makes the choice to eat healthy or unhealthy. My question is: How can a not so well educated person with a low lifestyle and low criteria for satisfaction and happiness have the knowledge and awareness when it comes to making informed choices? How can the above-mentioned individual know what the difference between high-sodium and low-sodium soup is, and how significant it is?!? What about all the marketing catchy phrases on the pretty cute boxes full of poison? What percentage of the population know what those labels mean and what all chemicals included in the ingredient list mean?? "Cholesterol free", "Healthy for the heart", "Sugar free", "Gluten free", "Fat free", "Natural" .. this is what the average buyer pays attention to: all the useless words made up by the marketing department to make the box more appealing. The sad part is that the stores that sell these poisonous products are completely aware of it; the agencies that set the restrictions for what is allowed to go in the food people consume are aware of it; everybody who is capable of making an educated and informed choice makes the choice to allow, market, and sell food I wouldn't want to give to my pet but, unfortunately, like millions of other people, I am forced to consume it due to it being cheaper. A small box of blueberries at Giant Eagle is about $4 in Ohio. Most people make around $9-10 an hour. You do the math. What's bad is, this is not even the organic version! So instead of buying those blueberries, people will just go get a doughnut for 80 cents and move on. At the end of the day all the unsold and spoiled blueberries will be thrown away. But what matters here is profit, right? However, WalMart is significantly cheaper, so I give them that.

    As to GMOs, the theory that people should be given the opportunity to choose between organic and GMO is so absurd to me. Do you even know how many people don't know what GMO means?? On top of that, who would pay premium for organic produce when there are cheaper options in front of you? Even if I want to avoid GMO how am I going to do so when THE PRODUCERS OF GMO ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ANNOUNCE THIS ON THE PACKAGING?!?!? If you don't know what the side effects of GMOs are, simply read this article: I can't believe that so experienced people with so many pompous titles and what not could actually support and tolerate the idea of GMOs!!! Very disappointed! GMOs could cause abnormalities, organ damages, and so on. So I guess we should not try to control the population growth, but instead, encourage and support it, regardless of the fact that people are going to look like cartoon characters in the near future!

    To conclude, listening to the answers of these important people whose decisions really could make a change only made me feel more desperate about the situation we're in. Yes, they can speak articulately and persuasively, know how to combine big words in phrases and sentences, but I don't see how that could contribute to anything. There was absolutely no passion or care whatsoever. Probably the only positive thing I heard was that WalMart are trying to have the same price for organic and non-organic. Can't wait to see that!

  28. titaniumcreed says:

    Why don't we focus on ways of encouraging people from every nation to have less children? It makes absolutely no sense, in fact, I'd say it's borderline insanity to actively encourage population explosions whereby everyone born in to this world becomes a person that expects a home, a car and the the 'must-have' accessory of the fleeting moment. It's just not possible. What we need is less people but of better quality in regards to education, morality and understanding. Consumerism will be the undoing of mankind.

  29. Rand Huso says:

    Why do you want more people in the world? If you provide more food there will be more people, and the problem just gets pushed into the near future. Time to reread Rev. Thomas Malthus.

  30. Levon Guyumjian says:

    What I hear lots of ball shit talk no real solution, do you what to feed the world, educate people is so simple. 70% of the world people doesn't have basic education, even here in US some country side or gang infested areas people they have only elementary education. Stop the global warming cycle now, not 20 years from today when it will be too late. Global warming will destroy all the hope to grow any food very soon. You don't fucking understand each increase of CO2 in PPM it will destroy all good bacteria in the soil, things can change very rapid when we reach to the peak.  

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