2022 Food Futures Conference: Transforming food systems for planetary and public good

A close-up picture of Themeda triandra (Kangaroo grass) with a background of trees

Jeremy Lasek – PHAA

Background

According to the United Nations, “Our population trajectory means that from now to 2030, the world will need to build the equivalent of a city of one million people in developing countries, every five days.”

The Food and Agriculture: the future of sustainability executive summary also says: “There’s widespread consensus that… farmers must produce more food per unit of land, water, and agrochemicals. To do so, however, they simply cannot continue producing in the same way. They’ll have to do this while facing climate change, volatility, shifting nutrition needs, and the increasing scarcity of most of the physical factors of production. Agriculture is at the threshold of a necessary paradigm shift.”

2022 Food Futures Conference

Against this backdrop, the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) will host its next national Food Futures Conference early next year (Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 March 2022) with the theme, Transforming food systems for planetary and public good.

Previous national Food Conferences have:

  • In 2009, challenged sectors to establish an integrated food policy to address issues of environmental sustainability, social equity and the economy to protect and promote public health of Australians;
  • In 2012, challenged the Federal Government to take responsibility for creating a healthy, sustainable and fair food system; and
  • In 2018, challenged professionals, organisations and governments to “examine how we deal with the food agenda will shape our futures”.

The 2022 Food Futures Conference brings together community organisations, students, researchers, government officials, public health and other relevant professionals and key stakeholders to advocate for a comprehensive, intersectoral, whole-of-government approach to Australia’s food and nutrition policy.

It offers an opportunity for people working in public health and across the food system to network, share their work, engage with communities and develop a wider understanding of how the work they do contributes to a broader, sustainable, equitable and healthy food systems and nutrition agenda.

Keynote Speakers

Confirmed Keynote Speakers include some of the leading experts in food sustainability from Australia and internationally.

The former Chief Scientist of Sustainability at the CSIRO, Mario Herrero, is a professor of sustainable food systems and global change, now working at the Department of Global Development at Cornell University in New York.

“His research focuses on increasing the sustainability of food systems for the benefit of humans and ecosystems. He works in the areas of sustainable intensification of agriculture, climate mitigation and adaptation, livestock systems, and healthy and sustainable diets,” says Cornell University.

Professor Herrero is in the top 10 of Reuters Hot List of the most influential climate scientists globally and is also a Highly Cited Researcher according to the Web of Science.

Professor Herrero’s 2022 Food Futures Conference presentation is titled: The future of agri-food systems.

Also confirmed as a Keynote Speaker is Professor Jennifer Clapp.

The Canada-based University of Waterloo says that “Professor Clapp is a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability and Professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Dr Clapp has published widely on the global governance of problems that arise at the intersection of the global economy, food security and food systems, and the natural environment.”

In her abstract for the Food Futures Conference, Professor Clapp says corporate concentration has become a dominant feature of the modern industrial food system in recent decades.

“In nearly all stages of global food supply chains, from farm inputs, to production, to trade, to food processing and food retail, a common pattern is that just a handful of transnational firms tend to dominate. This talk examines the key drivers of this trend as well as its wider implications. It shows that corporate concentration in the system has lent enormous power to the firms at the top to shape the parameters of markets, innovation, and the broader policy and regulatory context. These dynamics have important implications for broader food system goals such equity, sustainability, and healthy diets.”

Conference themes

The two-day conference will explore many areas of concern, with the central theme that future food systems will be challenged to feed the population safe and sufficient food. Securing healthy and sustainable food systems will require evidence-informed policies and practices. Are conventional approaches to nutrition science sufficient to guide policies and practices to tackle contemporary personal, population and planetary health challenges?

Other areas to be explored include:

  • Ecological nutrition, an approach to nutrition science grounded in ecology and evolutionary understandings of food and health relationships, can inform ways to tackle the food related health and sustainability challenges that society and the planet are facing.
  • Social, political, economic and environmental influences impact our food system. The last year has highlighted the frailties and inequities that exist in our current food system. We call for researchers, governments and civil society to act to transform food systems for public good.

We warmly encourage you to lock the date in your diaries to join the PHAA virtually for the 2022 Food Futures Conference. Early bird registrations are still available. Why not give yourself an early Christmas present and register today?

 

Image: Peripitus/Wikimedia Commons

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