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Agriculture in Arizona faces a warmer future

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News

March 27, 2017

Rows of green lettuce in a fieldHow might climate change affect Arizona? A decrease in crop yields, for one thing, according to Andrew Berardy – a postdoctoral research associate with the Food Systems Transformation Initiative – and Senior Sustainability Scientist Mikhail Chester.

After studying the food-energy-water nexus that governs agriculture in Arizona, the pair found that the state's yields could drop more than 12 percent per 1 degree Celsius. This would have cascading effects – including more irrigation and increased food prices – that would be felt throughout the region.

In light of roll-backs in environmental protection by the Trump administration, Berardy and Chester advise that farmers upgrade to more efficient irrigation methods like drip irrigation. Their findings were published in IOP Science.

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Seeds of opportunity: Are veterans the future of farming?

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News

December 6, 2016

A group of men in uniform pose for the cameraAs the nation's farming population continues to age and retire without replacements, our shortage of farmers is more grave than ever. Meanwhile, thousands of military veterans are returning home seeking meaningful, peaceful employment.

In order to combat both of these issues, filmmaker Dulanie Ellis suggested veterans take over for retiring farmers – an idea explored in her documentary "Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields."

Sydney Lines, coordinator of the Food Systems Transformation Initiative at ASU, hosted the film screening and subsequent panel discussion in downtown Phoenix. In an interview with ASU Now, Lines expresses her enthusiasm for the concept of veterans replacing retiring farmers. She notes not only the special skills veterans have to fill these rolls, but also the beneficial and therapeutic effects farming has on veterans returning home from war.

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Dinner 2040 provides a taste of the future

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News

November 14, 2016

Diners take notes while eating colorful meal outdoorsHosted by local, organic Maya's Farm in November 2016, Dinner 2040 was a meal served to spark conversation.

The charrette-style gathering – planned by sustainability scientist Joan McGregor with support from the Food Systems Transformation Initiative – put people from diverse backgrounds around the same table. While enjoying equitably-produced dishes, diners like academics, chefs, activists, legislators and others discussed key values related to food and how they can be better implemented going forward.

McGregor hopes that Dinner 2040 events will serve as a template for “future of food” workshops and dinners in communities across North America. She explores food-related values in detail in a October 2016 Thought Leader Series contribution titled "Putting Values on Our Plates."

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Best-selling author takes a look at your next meal

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News

April 14, 2016

Author Michael Pollan sitting at table with his books smiling at studentAuthor, journalist and food activist Michael Pollan — named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine — gave a Wrigley Lecture on April 14, 2016, as part of the School of Sustainability's 10th anniversary celebration.

Pulling from 15 years of research, Pollan detailed the many shifts in agriculture since the industrial revolution – including the move from sunlight to oil. He explained how many factories that supported WWII – like those that manufactured bombs – went into the food business post-war, making products like pesticides instead.

These shifts have had a number of unintended negative consequences, Pollan explained. They include crops that are so laden with chemicals that they are not fit for direct human consumption, a poor quality of life for farmed animals, and a significant toll on the overall health of Americans.

Pollan concluded by commending the ASU Wrigley Institute for its focus on solutions to the problems of food system sustainability. After receiving a standing ovation, he joined the excitement at both the Rescued Food Feast and Festival of Sustainability at ASU.

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Collaborative efforts to address youth hunger and unemployment

ASU Wrigley Institute News Food Systems News

March 5, 2016

girl with backback kneeling in gardenThe Food Systems Transformation Initiative (FSTI) is excited to collaborate with the Global Youth Innovation Network, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and other partners to support the Youth Agribusiness, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship Summit on Innovation YALESI 2016 held in Dakar, Senegal.

Youth employment and hunger are two key issues that have been impacted by the economic crisis. This is particularly true for youth living in developing countries, representing 85% of the world youth. To address these issues, YALESI 2016 will prioritize young people’s needs, considering their developmental needs, and including underserved populations, such as girls, to an effective and inclusive employment strategy.

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New publication: Adapting a social-ecological resilience framework for food systems

Food Systems News

June 30, 2015

Two of our FSTI affiliates - Jennifer Hodbod and Hallie Eakin - have published a new paper in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 'Adapting a social-ecological resilience framework for food systems'  addresses the purpose of applying social-ecological resilience thinking to food systems before going on to distinguish between the resilience of food systems and broader conceptualizations of resilience in social-ecological systems. The paper then focuses on functional and response diversity as two key attributes of resilient, multifunctional food systems, using the drought in California to unpack the potential differences between managing for a single function—economic profit—and multiple functions. Their analysis emphasizes how the evolution of the Californian food system has reduced functional and response diversity and created vulnerabilities, and how managing for the resilience of food systems will require a shift in priorities from profit maximization to the management for all functions that create full food security at multiple scales.

For further details please contact jennifer.hodbod@asu.edu

Hodbod, J., & Eakin, H. (2015). Adapting a social-ecological resilience framework for food systems. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1-11. DOI:10.1007/s13412-015-0280-6

ASU offers new Certificate in Food System Sustainability

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News Food Systems News

April 6, 2015

food-system-sustainabilityFood systems are particularly important for human societies to sustain, as well as particularly vulnerable to multiple threats related to the interconnected sustainability challenges we face.

Reflecting the breadth of food system issues researched and taught at ASU, the School of Sustainability now offers a 15-credit interdisciplinary Certificate in Food System Sustainability - a comprehensive, sustainability-oriented introduction to food systems for undergraduate students.

The certificate, which complements a variety of majors from agribusiness to English, draws from food-related courses in the social sciences, humanities, life sciences and applied sciences. Each discipline approaches food sustainability from a different angle, giving students a holistic understanding of food-related challenges and solutions.

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Wrigley Lecture Series welcomes renowned thinker and food activist

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News Food Systems News

October 31, 2014

vandana-shiva-wrigley-lectureContinuing its tradition of bringing internationally known thinkers and problem-solvers to engage with the community, the Wrigley Lecture Series welcomed physicist, food activist and author Vandana Shiva on Oct. 30.  Shiva - who works to protect the diversity and integrity of native organisms, especially seeds, by promoting practices like organic farming - delivered a lecture titled “Future of Food: Dictatorship or Democracy.”

“Her prescient insights, including the importance of organic farming in feeding the world, are similar to the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development," said Joni Adamson, a sustainability scholar and professor of English and Environmental Humanities. "They provide many good reasons to invite her to talk about the future of food.”

The lecture was presented by the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and Institute for Humanities Research, with support from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.

Watch the video »

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