May 21, 2013

Live Blog - Chicago Council: Dan Glickman and Catherine Bertini’s case for reengagement in food and ag issues

Danielle Nierenberg, co-founder, Food Tank

Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture, kicked off the Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium 2013, which has met annually since 2010. Glickman outlined a report issued in concert with the symposium, "Capitalizing on the Power of Science, Trade, and Business to End Hunger and Povery: A New Agenda for Global Food Security," which provides a strong voice for the United States to reengage and reevaluate its food and agriculture policies. The United States plays a key part in solving global hunger, and food and agriculture issues must be on the forefront of United States’ humanitarian and foreign policies.
Glickman affirmed, “water is the great issue of our time,” noting that agriculture contributes a significant portion to global water use. Agriculture and water issues are closely intertwined, and solutions to global food insecurity must examine water use and water issues.

Ninety-one percent of Americans believe that fighting world hunger is important. This broad-based support is seen on few other issues in the modern American political landscape. Glickman noted that it is within U.S. national interest to address food security, not only for humanitarian reasons. The potential for economic growth within agriculture in the developing world, particularly sub-Saharan African and Southeast Asia is profound.

Former Executive Director of the World Food Programme and recipient of the 2003 World Food Prize, Catherine Bertini continued the presentation of the Chicago Council report, highlighting three areas in which U.S. should recalibrate its global food and agriculture policy, with a focus on science, trade, and business.

Bertini believes that the fight against global food security must “harness experts from all scientific disciplines.” Food and agriculture is inherently multi and cross disciplinary, and includes plant scientists, economists, political scientists, and many more. Furthermore, agriculture sciences should be included within the definition of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education.

First, the U.S. should broaden the focus of agriculture and food science. A more comprehensive outlook must address issues of sustainability and climate change in a way that the Green Revolution of the 1950s failed to do. Furthermore, Bertini emphasized the need to listen to those who are hungry and focusing on “famer inspired innovations.” By broadening the focus of agriculture science, Bertini believes that sustainable magnification of agriculture can occur in the developing world.

Fundamentally, Bertini asks, “How can we sustain future generations?” The Chicago Council Report calls for the doubling of U.S. investments in agriculture and food research over the next decade, and the inclusion of global food security within the broader economic and development policies. These adjustments are critical, according to Bertini, to ensuring global food security for an estimated population of nine billion by 2050.

Food Tank will be live-blogging presentations from the Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium.


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