Thursday the U.S. dairy industry became part of a national conference on roles and responsibilities in addressing food insecurity. Co-hosted by The Washington Post and Slate, The Future of Food, Food Security in the 21st Century, was hosted live in the nation’s capital, and Jenni Purcell with Milk Promotion Services of Indiana says the 6-hour event also trended number one worldwide on Twitter.
“That’s pretty difficult to do so a lot of people are thinking food and really discussing some of the great challenges of the next generation,” she told HAT. “One of the topics I keep hearing is how are we going to feed the world with the expected 70 percent increase in production in order to feed everyone by 2050 because the population is expected to grow by 9 billion. Since we’re also supposed to be using fewer resources that was one of the main things they were discussing and brainstorming.”
The program sponsors were the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Various experts from agriculture and food industries talked about food security and ethics in this country, as well as nutrition, technology, and sustainability.
Purcell said it was pointed out that 50 million Americans go to bed hungry every night, a major point of concern. But there was also recognition of the advancements farmers have made.
“The one thing they really stressed was how farmers are using their resources and how sustainable they have become. Back in the 1930′s one farmer would feed ten people and now a farmer feeds 150, and we all know that, and that there are less farmers than there were in the 1930′s. Less than two percent of the population even knows about ag, so that was also part of the conversation to get all these people to the table to ask how do we reach the consumer and educate them to know where their food comes from.”
The main target for the event was national thought leaders, but Purcell says the public input was a welcome site throughout the morning.
“I was very pleased because you never know what you’re going to get when you open it up to the public and everyone who is or isn’t educated about ag. But it was very positive about dairy farmers and farmers in general and the great things they’re doing. That was one thing I was very pleased about and everyone in ag should pleased as well.”
Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dan Glickman, Former Agriculture Secretary/ Bipartisan Policy Center
Robert Thompson, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
Jon Tester, Senator (D-Montana,) Role of Government
Christopher Policinski, Land O’Lakes
Carters S. Roberts, World Wildlife Fund
Samuel Allen, Deere & Company
Sonny Ramaswamy, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Grocery Manufacturers Association
Elaine Waxman, Feeding America
Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, Center for International and Strategic Studies
Liz Schrayer, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
Tony Hall, Alliance to End Hunger
Rajiv Shah, USAID
Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED
(Photo: Ethan Bergman, President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, addresses the Future of Food Conference in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Washington Post Live)