July 21, 2014

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

(People crowd a wholesale market in Mumbai. REUTERS/Prashanth Vishwanathan)

How Existing Cropland Could Feed Billions More
Feeding a growing human population without increasing stresses on strained land and water resources may seem like an impossible challenge. But according to a new report, focusing efforts to improve food systems on a few specific regions, crops, and actions could make it possible to both meet the basic needs of 3 billion more people and decrease agriculture’s environmental footprint.

Ethiopia’s Teff and the Giant, New Potential of a Tiny, Ancient Grain
Ethiopia may soon be known as the birthplace of the next “superfood”—teff. Is the solution to Ethiopia’s health and poverty woes right under their feet? Does teff have the potential to lift Ethiopia out of poverty? There isn’t any large-scale production of teff yet, but the Ethiopian government has committed to expanding teff production and lifting the export ban to build the market.

Saving Soil: Digging for Solutions Beneath Our Feet
25 percent of the planet’s land is highly degraded, and only 10 percent is improving. But agriculture doesn’t have to degrade soils. These projects and individuals are facilitating important dialogue about the importance of soil and actively addressing the threats of soil degradation and erosion around the world.

Move Over, Kale, the New Super Vegetable Comes From the Sea
The organization Greenwave is aimed at jump-starting a “blue-green” economy: identifying restorative species in any given ecosystem that make the oceans healthier, that are nutritious, delicious, and economically viable. Their ocean farming model uses the entire ocean column to grow as many different foods as possible in as small an area as possible.


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

Our New Gordian Knot

Fifty years ago Dr. Norman Borlaug recieved the Nobel Peace Prize for cutting the "Goridan knot" of population and food production. Now the planet faces another seemingly intractable problem: how to nourish the planet while preserving the planet.