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Global Food and Nutrition Security – From Challenges to Solutions

Helene Dillard: University of California

<div>It is estimated that 795 million people, roughly 11 percent of the earth’s population, were unable to meet their dietary energy requirements between 2014 and 2016. The global population is expected to grow to 10 billion people by 2050. The global challenge is to nutritiously feed everyone using essentially the same amount of agricultural land we use now, while the availability of fresh water is decreasing. Our research must focus on sustainable food production, increasing food nutrition, increasing food security, ensuring food safety, ensuring a stable accessible food supply, and decreasing food waste. Nearly one third of all food produced worldwide is wasted through food production and distribution systems pre- and post-harvest. Yields need to increase while maintaining environmental sustainability, and plant and animal based foods that can adapt to changing environments must be developed. Healthy soils are not only critical to our food production efforts, but can provide major ecosystem services by sequestering carbon, neutralizing pollutants, and deterring erosion. As land grant-universities, it is our mission to meet the needs of the public, teach students in a manner that prepares them to be leaders, advance knowledge through innovative transdisciplinary research, and apply that knowledge to address the needs of society. As scientists and leaders, we have an obligation and responsibility to recognize the urgency of this situation, seek solutions, and identify clear, precise policies and actions that can be taken to address the global problems of food <em>now</em>…as the effects of climate change are already altering our agroecosystems and challenging our collective ability to feed the world.</div>

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