The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world. It publishes a quarterly magazine, Cultures, which explores the intersection of science, policy, and global challenges. Cultures brings diverse voices to a common platform to explore issues that are important to all of us. The latest edition is devoted to a compelling question: How can science help feed the world?
The editors write:
“The challenge, or crisis, depending on where you live, is to produce more food on less land for a burgeoning global population…The ingredients of food security are the global grand challenges themselves: climate change, water scarcity, fossil fuel dependence, environmental protection, and gender disparity. Indeed, food security cannot be realized without also addressing social reforms to close the gender gap, provide equal access to education, and reduce poverty.”
One of the innovative models featured in Cultures is UC’s Global Food Initiative, launched in 2014. University of California President Janet Napolitano writes about UC’s GFI, and why this effort – and others like it – are vitally needed:
“The quest to establish global food security has never been so urgent. A billion people – most of them in the developing world – suffer from chronic hunger or serious nutritional deficiencies. More than half a billion – primarily in industrialized nations – are obese, and diabetes mellitus is an epidemic. Against this backdrop, climate change and population growth fuel additional uncertainty about how the world will feed itself in the years ahead.
Recognizing that the University of California (UC) is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in addressing food security and the related challenges of nutrition and sustainability, we launched the UC Global Food Initiative in July 2014. Our goal is audacious and far reaching. We aim for nothing less than the development and export of solutions for food security, health, and sustainability throughout California, the United States, and the world. By building on the extensive efforts already underway, and creating new collaborations among our 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories, and the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC looks to put the world on a pathway to feed itself in ways that are both nutritious and sustainable.”