Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sixth McGill Conference on Global Food Security

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October 15, 2013

Last week, we attended the sixth annual McGill Conference on Global Food Security. Annie and Rafiya were joined by two of our newest hosts, Marta Cybulsky and Sara Tatelman, as we attended lectures by academics from all over North America regarding the global hunger crisis and different strategies towards improving the dire state of food security.

In the last year, world grain reserves have fallen to a record low due to heatwaves and droughts. The United Nations has warned that any severe weather next year could mean that the world's food supply will fall drastically short of the population's needs.  Speakers at the conference spoke of ways to combat food insecurity in nations that are particularly at risk. We learned about the interplay between malnutrition, food security, and the links between different regions of the world. We also heard about many promising uses of technology to increase production, improve the efficiency of agriculture, and fight malnutrition. One of these creative solutions included a start-up company called ASPIRE, which aims to fight malnutrition in urban slums by turning insects into a stable, nutritious, and easy to produce dietary staple.
We also learned about the controversy about whether the problem at the root of this hunger crisis was an inadequacy of food or an imbalance of power. Annette Desmarais from the University of Manitoba spoke about concept of food sovereignty, whereby the solution to food insecurity lies in greater autonomy for hungry populations to manage their own food resources. 

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