December 18, 2017

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Subsistence farmer work their field of maize after late rains near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

New Crops, Technology Needed to Help Farmers Adapt to Rising Heat: Gates Foundation
New technologies are the key to helping Africa and Asia’s smallholder farmers adapt to climate change. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation unveiled a $300 million plan to help farmers, with funds going to the development of crops that could cope with rising temperatures, wild weather, and attacks from new pests and diseases.

Guest Commentary—Food Waste: Breaking Down the Issue that Won’t Break Down
Food waste threatens our ecological future and worsens climate change. The problem is that food waste is not just a singular issue—it is the culmination of its subsidiary issues makes food waste so dangerous. Jordan Henderson, a fall intern with the Council’s Global Food and Agriculture Program, breaks down this complex issue and highlights promising solutions to save resources and reduce costs.

How the Food Industry Uses Cavitation, the Ocean's Most Powerful Punch
Cavitation is when low pressure in a liquid produces a bubble that rapidly collapses, and heats up to 20,000 Kelvin. In brewing beer, cavitation processed and converted more of the starch in barley to brewable sugars in less time, at lower temperatures. It can also neutralize a large spectrum of spoiling and harmful microbes much more effectively and efficiently than most other technologies.

Wind Energy Is Supposed to Help Fight Climate Change. It Turns out Climate Change Is Fighting Back
A changing climate is beginning to change wind energy’s potential to provide power in key regions, part of what could be a broader diminishment of a key renewable energy source in part of the world. While the world is turning more and more to renewable sources of energy to fight climate change, climate change itself alters the distribution of wind, changing, and even shrinking the regional potential of this energy source.

The Dirty Secret of the World’s Plan to Avert Climate Disaster
The UN envisions 116 scenarios in which global temperatures are prevented from rising more than 2°C. In 101 of them, that goal is accomplished by sucking massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—a concept called “negative emissions”—and this would need to happen by midcentury. Which raises a question: has the world come to rely on an imaginary technology to save it?


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