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Food and sustainability

Successes and Challenges in Global Food Systems

On November 16, 2016 the Food Tank, in partnership with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and University of Chicago Booth School of Business, held the 1st annual Chicago Food Tank Summit. With two previous 2016 Summits in Sacramento, California and Washington, D.C., the Chicago Summit was the third in a series of events bringing together leaders of change and sustainability in food systems to highlight challenges and innovative solutions on environmental, social, and economic issues in global food systems.

The Chicago Food Tank summit event featured more than 35 different speakers from the food and agriculture field, including researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, and government officials. Four panel sessions provided the audience in attendance and those live streaming the event online with expert insights on some of the most pressing issues in food and agriculture.
Distinguished speakers participating on the Farming the Future, Unlikely Alliances in the Food System, and The Future of Food panels discussed a range of agricultural, collaborative and sociopolitical topics, with a focus on how research, investment, and advocacy in these areas will continue to be a critical predictor of current and future successes.

The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation participated in the Transparency in the Food System panel where panelists shared perspectives on the meaning of transparency in food systems and offered insights on current and future efforts to demystify sustainable practices and healthy food choices.
As a representative of the BCFN Alumni Association speaking on the panel, I highlighted the Foundation’s initiatives in support of sharing information and increasing accountability among the many stakeholders in the systems. These academically driven efforts include information collection and dissemination strategies such as multi-disciplinary research programs and publications, educational public engagement materials and tools spearheaded by the Eating Planet book and the Double Pyramid visual model. The Youth manifesto developed by the BCFN Alumni Association comprised of finalists from the Foundation’s annual BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) international competition offering a research grant to young students and researchers.
Two BCFN projects drew special interest. The Food Sustainability Index (FSI), a research tool developed in partnership with The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, which will be utilized in 25 countries and 16 specific cities to explore ways of measuring progress in achieving goals related to facing nutritional challenges, reducing food losses and waste and promoting sustainable agriculture.
The Food Sustainability Award, a global media contest developed in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, will recognize excellence in food journalism by awarding published and under-reported news, photographs and videos in three separate areas: Hunger and Obesity, Food and Fuel, and Food Waste.
Both of these ground-breaking initiatives were presented in detail during the BCFN 7th International Forum on Food and Nutrition on December 1, 2016. Applications have been opened on January 9th.
BCFN will keep on collaborating with Food Tank for future summits and events continue the critical conversations on environmental, social, and economic issues in global food systems.


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