May 6, 2019 | By Janez Potocnik

Guest Commentary - The Next Generation: FFA 2019

By Janez Potocnik

Editor's Note: This blog was originally posted by the Forum for the Future of Agriculture

 

Creating fully sustainable food systems is vital for the survival of this planet and our species. The leadership we show - or do not show – today will have severe consequences not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. In every sense of the word, we currently hold the fate of the next generation in our hands; from halting and reversing climate change, to creating new opportunities and technologies, and to reshaping our food chain from farm to fork. 

Tens of thousands of Belgian schoolchildren and many more around the world believe the same. For the past few weeks they have been marching past my office, demanding that that their government and Europe takes serious action on climate change. They ask, ‘why should I go to school if my future is at risk?’. They are right to ask, and right to strike. They do not want to be the first generation living in a world unbalanced by rising temperatures; it is our duty to make sure they do not.  Those in charge today are failing them; our action on climate change is far too slow, and seemingly unable to provide the systemic changes we know we need. 

However, we cannot make the serious changes we need without revising the incentive structures of modern finance that dominates so much of our modern politics and discourse. Today, we over-value our financial capital, under-value our human capital and do not value our natural capital at all. To fund the next generation of innovation properly, and to do so within the constraints of our planetary resources and ecosystems, we must invert these values; planet should come first, if we want to secure the future for us, people, and profit only as a secondary motive. However, such a transition will not be easy, or without severe changes to our current economic models, and we must take care not to harm those caught by its effects. 

Farmers and businesses cannot make these changes, and many more, alone. All of us have both an individual and collective responsibility.  From throwing out a bag of unused carrots to our eating habits, the next generation of consumers will – by necessity or design – need to feed itself in new, more sustainable ways. Whether through eating less meat, making food choices on the basis of sustainability as well as affordability, or through demanding true sustainability of the products we buy, it is clear that the ground is shifting; people are demanding more and making better choices. This can only be for the good.

 

 

At the end of the day, much will still depend on our farmers and land managers. Our decisions as citizens, consumers and individuals rebound on what they produce, and how they produce it. More than most, they are equally attuned to financial markets, our dining choices, as well as the state of our ecosystems. Any serious reforms that will create sustainable food systems must be created with the buy-in of the current and future generation of farmers. Through the Common Agricultural Policy, the EU maintains a huge amount of influence over current and future farming and land use, and remains its best-funded tool for creating the change we need. The current reform - which finally introduces real targets – is a step in the right direction, but it will not be enough. 

The FFA has always been about the future. About looking past the troubles of today and seeing the trends that will shape our policies and practices.  We will not resolve these issues in one day on April 9; that work is beyond us. What we can, must, and will do however, is to treat the issues outlined above seriously. To do this, the FFA will bring in more partners to ensure that the vision for a more sustainable food system draws on all our collective creativity, experience and innovative capacity, and that we chart our path to achieving this together. 

Right now, we cannot pretend that all is well, and that our current trajectory is even remotely sustainable in any sense of that word. This is why this year we are dedicating FFA2019 to the next generation – they will live in the world we (re)shape today.

 

About

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.

Blogroll

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

Archive


| By Kat Sisler

You Should Know: Global Fragility Act of 2019

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is pleased to announce a new blog series, Policies for a Nourished Future, which reviews domestic and international policies meant to address issues of global food security. For the next eight weeks, we will discuss areas of importance to the future of food such as technology, waste, and resilience, and the policies meant to address them. Without robust and proactive policy frameworks, nourishing our growing world will become increasingly difficult and expensive. The first piece in this series explains the Global Fragility Act and how it relates to food security.





| By Khristopher Nicholas

Next Generation 2019 - We All Gotta Eat

Our first post in the Next Generation blog series is by Khristopher Nicholas, PhD candidate in nutrition science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.