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Embracing New Perspectives is Essential to Achieving Food Security

Submitted by: Cami Ryan

Posted: Aug 13, 2015 – 06:00 AM EST

Series: Education for a Sustainable Future

Tags: agriculture, science, food, education

 
Camiryanj

This is the most recent article in our series "Education for a Sustainable Future". For more articles, go to http://www.csrwire.com/blog/series/86-education-for-a-sustainable-future/posts

Recently, I had the great opportunity to participate and observe the Nourishing 9 Billion SolutionLab at University of California, Davis. I enjoyed the chance to engage again with ambitious young scholars who love to brainstorm ideas on topics that I’m passionate about – agriculture and science.  

We all think about food constantly because it’s central to our society, and yet we all have different perspectives on food. How I think about food is a product of my upbringing and my life experiences. As someone who was raised in a farming community and now is a Social Sciences lead at Monsanto, I think about how our society and culture impacts people’s thoughts about food. Young people, like those who were part of the UC Davis SolutionLab, have different relationships with food based on their backgrounds and their understanding of how it’s produced.

As we look at how to produce food to nourish the estimated world population of 9 billion by 2050, we need to embrace these different perspectives. When we provide opportunities for students to engage with the issue, and work on problem solving, we’re contributing critical experiences for our future thought leaders. The SolutionLab provided a platform for the students to think, but also introduced them to food systems experts and their insights – opening both groups to new perspectives. 

The focus of the event was to discuss what social innovations we need in order to address food security. While the adoption of a full range of agricultural production approaches are required to achieve food security, the key theme that came from the student breakout sessions was that addressing the challenges of food storage and food waster are just as important. For example, participating students from third-world countries discussed ongoing issues with grain storage; an issue we have solved in developed countries. This reinforced that we need different perspectives to ensure we are looking at the whole picture from the farm gate to the consumer’s plate, and even beyond the plate to food waste.

That’s part of my role at Monsanto. I help the company think outside the typical agriculture disciplines, connect with experts in the social science research field to capture their perspectives, and see how those perspectives can help us with our goal of producing more, conserving more and improving lives. It’s similar for these students and anyone trying to tackle the issues around food security. Solutions to issues this large and varied are never simple. We need to engage perspectives from all disciplines – from students to industry leaders – so we don’t miss the opportunity to find and implement meaningful solutions to these problems. 

This is the most recent article in our series "Education for a Sustainable Future". For more articles, go to http://www.csrwire.com/blog/series/86-education-for-a-sustainable-future/posts


The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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