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IonE Director Leads off National Geographic Series With 5-Step Plan to Feed the World

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Institute on the Environment director Jonathan Foley today served up the first article in an eight-month National Geographic series on feeding the world without destroying the planet.

"When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner," writes Foley in the opening paragraph. "But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet."

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"A Five-Step Plan to Feed the World" was published online today, with the print issue hitting newsstands next week. Drawing on research by IonE's Global Landscapes Initiative, Foley proposes five steps that could solve the world's food dilemma.

"This is a pivotal moment when we face unprecedented challenges to food security and the preservation of our global environment," Foley concludes in the piece. "The good news is that we already know what we have to do; we just need to figure out how to do it. Addressing our global food challenges demands that all of us become more thoughtful about the food we put on our plates. We need to make connections between our food and the farmers who grow it, and between our food and the land, watersheds, and climate that sustain us. As we steer our grocery carts down the aisles of our supermarkets, the choices we make will help decide the future."

After you've digested the "Five Step Plan," tune in to NPR's Marketplace this Wednesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. and Science Friday on Friday, April 18, 1-3 p.m. CT to hear Foley discuss the future of food.

Foley, who was recently honored with the 2014 Heinz Award in the Environment, is a McKnight Presidential Chair of Global Environment and Sustainabililty and professor in the College of Biological Sciences. 

May 2014 cover courtesy of National Geographic


Suppers Sow Inspiration for Campus Garden

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BY TASHI GURUNG & ELIZABETH TOLLEFSON
 
A series called "Garden Suppers" launched in January on the Crookston campus of the University of Minnesota that aims to sow inspiration for a campus garden. The IonE-sponsored events, featuring guest speakers and brainstorming activities, seek to engage students, faculty and community members in the project.

Can Cleaner Cookstoves Save Lives?

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A global partnership led by Institute on the Environment researcher Jill Baumgartner will investigate the health and climate impacts of advanced cooking and heating stoves as part of a three-year study on clean household energy technology in rural China.

Indoor air pollution contributes to 4 million premature deaths each year and is the single leading environmental health risk factor globally, according to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study. Half the world's people breathe in the dirty smoke from coal, wood and other solid fuels burned in inefficient cooking and heating stoves. In addition to respiratory health impacts like childhood pneumonia and lung cancer, studies point to indoor smoke as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is also a major contributor to regional and global climate warming.

Redefining Agricultural Productivity

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11-13-emily cassidy.jpgMany of us do our best to make healthy food choices, but replacing that burger and fries with fruits and vegetables isn't just good for your body, it's good for the environment.

Emily Cassidy, an Institute on the Environment graduate research assistant, discussed the impact of global diet preferences on agricultural productivity and greenhouse gas emissions in last week's Frontiers in the Environment presentation, "Redefining Agricultural Productivity: From Stuff Produced to People Fed."

The Importance of Food Literacy

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10-30-chris lambe.jpgWhen it comes to our food system, it seems everyone has an opinion on how we can eat healthier, feed more people and reduce our environmental impacts. But how can you separate food fact from food fiction?

That was the topic of last week's Frontiers in the Environment lecture presented by Chris Lambe, director of social responsibility for The Mosaic Company - a crop nutrient production company based in Plymouth, Minn.

Will Humanity's Appetite Leave Land for Nature?

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Feeding the world's growing population is shaping up to be the challenge of the century, but where does conservation fit into the equation?

Joe Fargione, senior director for The Nature Conservancy - North America Region, attempted to answer just that in last Wednesday's Frontiers in the Environment presentation, "Peak Cropland: Saving Room for Nature While Feeding Humanity this Century."

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.

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