Carnegie Mellon University

Feeding the Future

Feeding the Future

Climate change, population growth and technology

Evan Fraser

Monday, February 11 // 4:30 PM // Porter Hall 100

Creating food systems capable of sustainably, equitably, and nutritiously feeding 9 billion people while dealing with climate change is one of the 21st century’s “Grand Challenges”. Meeting this challenge is about more than just producing enough-we already produce enough for everyone, but more than a billion are overweight while almost a billion under nourished. To help feed the future we must not only produce the right kinds of food, but must also innovate on food processing and ingredients, make diets more nutritious, cut back on waste/emissions, reduce the amount of water and chemicals we use, and ensure that small scale farmers around the world have access to markets. To explore these issues, this talk will first present the factors that are driving changes in our food systems. Second, this talk will explore where some of these trends are heading.

Evan Fraser stared thinking about agriculture and food systems while spending summers working on his grandfather’s farm in Niagara. There, he watched his stockbroker grandmother make way more money than his grandfather who produced strawberries, melons and sweet corn for local markets. Therefore, it was perhaps unsurprising when he decided it was easier to write and talk about farming than actually try to make a living on it. He passed on inheriting the family farm, opting instead for grad school. Today, he holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and is a full professor of geography at the University of Guelph. He is also the director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph. He has written for the Globe and Mail, the,,, the Walrus and the Ottawa Citizen, and has two popular non-fiction books about food and food security including Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations that was published by Simon and Schuster and shortlisted for the James Beard Food Literature Award. Evan’s web video series on “feeding nine billion” has been watched over 450,000 times, he has self-published a graphic novel called #FoodCrisis about a fictitious food crisis that hits NorthAmerica in the 2020s. Evan has also created a card game about global food security. The videos, the graphic novel and the card game have been pulled together in a series of teacher-friendly high school lesson plans that are used in classrooms around the world.