September 22, 2014

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

REUTERS/Rogan Ward

There’s a Place in the World that is Fighting Poverty with Solar Power
19 percent of the global population lives without access to electricity. In Africa, that number is 58 percent. But solar power is now leapfrogging the electric grid. Thousands of rural Africans are turning to solar as the solution, in a clean-energy boom that development experts say could become a catalyst for widespread economic empowerment.

Forget GMOs. The Future of Food is Data—Mountains of It
Hampton Creek is redesigning the food you eat; this ambitious project aims to provide a computer-generated shortcut to the future of food. The project is the first major effort to apply “big data” to the development of food, and though it’s only just getting started—with some experts questioning how effective it will be—it could spur additional research in the field.

Edible Packaging? Retailers Not Quite Ready to Ditch the Wrapper
A handful of companies are trying to take an idea straight out of Willy Wonka and turn it into reality: edible packaging. Why dump tons of waste into landfills when the container your food comes in could be a part of the snack? Even though so far retailers have insisted on packaging, Eric Freedman of WikiFoods says he thinks consumers are ready to ditch the plastic.

Drones May Provide Big Lift to Agriculture When FAA Allows their Use
FAA rules have mostly restricted civilian use of consumer-quality drones to recreation and research, leading developers to market their agricultural drones overseas, where regulations are not as strict. However, many experts believe that drones could revolutionize the agriculture industry.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA


| By Roger Thurow

America's Oxymoron

It didn’t take long for the coronavirus to expose America’s shameful secret: hunger amid abundance.