GW Launches Initiative on Food Production, Nutrition Security

“Feeding the Planet: Innovations in Food Production” to convene meetings, culminating summit.

Planet Forward
May 15, 2013

The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, with funding from Land O’Lakes Inc., will launch “Feeding the Planet: Innovations in Food Production,” an initiative that will identify innovative solutions to problems surrounding food production and nutrition security.

The initiative was born from the fact that by 2050, close to 9 billion people will populate the planet, and these citizens will need twice as much energy, 40 percent more water and 70 percent more food than the amount that exists today.

During the first year of the initiative, GW will convene policymakers, experts and thought leaders for open dialogues in various events. Then, on Oct. 30, the university will host a summit in D.C. with leaders from academia, corporations, media organizations, think tanks, nonprofits, trade associations and government agencies and foundations.

GW will also fund a Feeding the Planet Summer Fellowship, enabling George Washington students to compete for the opportunity to travel internationally with a producer or professor to find and report stories pertaining to food production.

“Feeding the Planet is one more way we are working with students, professionals and leaders in the field to use media in creative ways to engage, teach and inform policymakers and the public,” said Frank Sesno, director of GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs and creator of Planet Forward. “The project reinforces GW's position as a leader, researcher and convener in innovation and sustainability.”

With three themes in mind—gender, changing tastes and nutritional needs, and climate change—Feeding the Planet will address a wide range of issues, including the challenges and game-changing innovations in food production, communications technology, plant and animal science, nutrition and the supply chain.

The initiative will create strategies to communicate these issues to the public and policymakers through digital and social media, including a report summarizing the observations, outcomes and research assembled from the Feeding the Planet gatherings.

“Land O'Lakes is pleased to support Feeding the Planet. Assuring food security for the growing global population is a vital topic that has broad implications for world stability,” said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes Inc. “Finding and deploying innovative, efficient and sustainable methods of food production will be critical if we are to meet the rapidly growing need for food and nutrition worldwide.”

In addition to funding from Land O’Lakes, Feeding the Planet will receive support from CropLife International and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Strategic partners include Second Nature, National Geographic and World Food Program USA.

“Hunger is a solvable problem,” said Rick Leach, president and CEO of the World Food Program USA. “Innovative technologies and practices allow us to be confident that we can feed and nourish a growing population.  The Feeding the Planet initiative will help shine a spotlight on these innovations and the progress being made in addressing global hunger.”