Scholars and practitioners convened to discuss the new developments on urban food security at the Penn IUR and Wharton IGEL Sustainable, Equitable Urban Food Systems Event. The panel explored topics ranging from eating patterns in population and access to food; economic benefits of food production in employment figures; global food supply and climate change; contrasting healthier products offerings in supermarkets located in low vs high income neighborhoods; public health concerns in food deserts; and food production from urban agriculture.
The event was introduced by Susan Wachter, Co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research and professor at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. The panel consisted of Eugenie Birch, Co-Director of Penn IUR; Karen Glanz, George A. Weiss Professor of Epidemiology and Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania; Jessie Handbury, Assistant Professor of Real Estate at the Wharton School; Amy Hillier, Associate Professor of City Planning and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; Yael Lehman, Executive director of The Food Trust; Dominic Vitiello, associate professor of City Planning and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; and Tracy Ward, Executive Director, Easton Economic Development Corporation. The moderator, Charles Branas, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania who also led the Q & A session afterwards, posited the role of science in providing solutions to ensure equitable urban food systems in the global society. Panelists expressed their desires to see science explore efficiency in food production, water consumption, resilient seeds, food production logistics, “myth-busting” erroneous perceptions of food production, visual representation of critical data, and long-term benefits and disadvantages of genetically-modified organisms.
The audience also participated in the discussion and inquired the experts about measures and solutions for rural food systems; globalizing efficiency in food systems without globalizing western culture; and positive examples of collaborations with the private industries.
Sustainable, Equitable Urban Food Systems