17 October 2017 / IKnowFood

FOOD 2030: Research and Innovation for Tomorrow’s Nutrition and Food Systems

Food2030 conference on World Food Day, 16 October 2017, was attended by Professor’s Bob Doherty and Tony Heron and called for an urgent need for more sustainable food system solutions. Despite all the recent focus on developing a more sustainable food sector, statistics highlight worsening trends. FAO reported an increasing number of food insecure people globally without access to adequate food, whilst 50% of people in Europe were categorised as overweight.  Further pressure on ecosystems from climate change, soil erosion, and land degradation shows an increasing pressure on available resources. Remember this is at a time when the world must produce 50% more food by 2050.

The International Panel on Food, Nutrition and Agriculture spoke about the need for a food systems approach which deals with regional contexts. They call for interventions at key leverage points in the food system, the need to strengthen policy coherence, enhance resilience plus health and wellbeing. Food2030 speakers discussed a range of solutions from better use of big data, more diversified food production, future proteins, climate change adaptation, social innovation, precision agriculture, community initiatives and the importance of reversing negative impacts on ecosystem services such as top soil loss (970 million tonnes in Europe alone in 2016).

Bob Doherty (IKnowFood lead at York) says “there is no one silver bullet, it’s going to need an integrated transformative approach that requires radical solutions based on the foundations of interdisciplinary research. The University of York with both IKnowFood, N8 AgriFood coupled with the research strength of YESI and CNAP is well placed to contribute to both changing mind-sets and designing innovative solutions”

The challenge is how we can ensure knowledge gets to those with the capacity to act. Both IKnowFood and N8 AgriFood have built strong links with industry and policy makers to ensure our research has an impact in enhancing food system sustainability and resilience.