Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World

Penn IUR promotes dialogue and fosters multidisciplinary collaboration among scholars in addressing food security, a critical issue in today’s rapidly urbanizing world. In March 2013, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and Penn’s Office of the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives., and in partnership with the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine and a Faculty Steering Committee representing nine schools and six centers at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn IUR convened the “Feeding Cities: Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World” conference. The conference addressed a fundamental challenge of our modern age: how to provide a sustainable, nutritious, and affordable diet to the world’s burgeoning urban populous.

The conference, which convened more than seventy experts from around the world , and which was attended by more than 450 people, covered topics ranging from sustainable food production and natural resource management to food distribution, urban-rural linkages and infrastructure, food policy, food politics, and nutritional health. The three day conference served as a call to advance a dialogue examining policy and planning solutions related to:

  1. Food Production: the science of producing safe and adequate food in appropriate places considering current and projected urban and agricultural land-use pressures on the environment;
  2. Food Distribution: the policies and logistics underlying global and local food distribution systems; and
  3. Food Delivery: emerging trends in diets and nutritional demands across the globe with a focus on place-based food access and nutritional health.

The conference resulted in a call to action, a Feeding Cities website that promotes continued dialogue about topics covered during the conference, and a final report on the conference’s findings. Full videos from the event, as well as slide presentations are available on Penn IUR’s iTunes U channel.


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