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Objective

While the majority of governments design safety assessments of genetically engineered (GE) foods around the Codex Alimentarius’ principles and guidelines, there remain significant differences in the practical application of the Codex and other international guidance. This adds complexity, time, and cost to the regulatory process, further exacerbates asynchronous authorizations, and stands in the way of achieving regional or sub-regional regulatory cooperation. The ILSI Research Foundation’s efforts focus primarily on technical training of regulators and public sector scientists who are called upon to inform risk assessments on behalf of institutional or national biosafety committees. This includes training around concepts and principles of GE food safety assessment and, where necessary, turning this into experiential understanding.

Collaborators & Partners

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, ILSI Focal Point in China, CropLife China, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chinese Society of Agricultural Biotechnology, Chinese National Institute for Nutrition and Health, and Estel Consult Ltd.

Current Work

The ILSI Research Foundation is engaged in outreach and capacity building on GE food safety assessment in China, in collaboration with ILSI Focal Point in China, CropLife China, and other Chinese academic and government stakeholders. An initial workshop was convened in 2016, with presentations on the GE food safety assessment paradigm, regulation of biotechnology in China, and considerations for new agricultural biotechnologies. A follow-up workshop was organized by the ILSI Research Foundation in May 2017, together with ILSI Focal Point in China, the National Institute for Nutrition and Health at China CDC, and the Chinese Society of Agricultural Biotechnology.

Supported by a grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and in collaboration with ILSI Focal Point in China, the ILSI Research Foundation is organizing a food safety training program that focuses on providing practical instruction in the technical aspects of food safety testing and evaluation for foods derived from GE plants. The first phase of the program involves classroom and case study training near Beijing, while the second phase will be conducted at a research center in the United States, where participants will be able to observe studies being conducted in laboratory facilities to improve practical understanding of just how and why these studies are carried out.

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work we are doing by reading our monthly newsletter.

Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants: Phase II Technical Workshop

Washington, DC and Ashland, OH, USA

Implemented by the ILSI Research Foundation and conducted in two phases, this technical training program provided Chinese public-sector scientists with in-depth technical information about the purpose, design, and conduct of studies used to inform safety assessments of foods and feeds derived from genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Read more

OECD Working Group on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds

Paris, France

The OECD Task Force on the Safety of Novel Foods and Feeds, for which the ILSI Research Foundation is a recognized observer organization, works on technical issues related to the food safety of novel foods and feeds, including the products of agricultural biotechnology.

Read more

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							Overview		
							Presentations		
							Abstracts		
							Registration		
							Location		
							Videos		
				Overview
							

Download the Conference Document!

Download the Conference Document!

The Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the ILSI Research Foundation co-organized the symposium Addressing Water Variability and Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Research at IFPRI’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Presentations focused on new technologies that are being developed and/or applied to mitigate the impacts of water stress on agricultural productivity, as well as the enabling policy environment that is needed to ensure that water-related research and development efforts are effectively deployed and scaled up.

Presentations

Abstracts

An Overview of Promising Technologies for Improved On-Farm Management of Water

Biniam Iyob, Ph.D., Bureau for Food Security, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Good on-farm management of water in developing countries could contribute in a major way to help vulnerable farmers out of poverty. Fortunately, we are in an era where technologies for on-farm water management are rapidly evolving. Water lifting technologies such as solar pumps have been undergoing product changes and price reductions that are increasing their adoption. Similarly water conveyance methods, such as drip irrigation, have also seen their accessibility and utilization increase in many developing countries. In addition to the technologies themselves, a strategic approach is needed to achieve widespread and sustainable adoption. Such an approach could result in improved food security, resilience, and nutrition. Four factors, called the four Ps, borrowed from the marketing field, might be useful for increasing adoption of sustainable practices for on-farm water management. First, the technology product has to fit the context and stakeholder preferences. Second, the price of the technology has to be reasonable to adopters. Third, the promotion of the technology has to be communicated well and at the right platforms. And, fourth, the technologies have to be available at the right place and time. However, these four Ps are not enough. Many other critical factors also need to be considered for the technologies to be sustainable (environmentally, socio-economically and politically). These factors include: the right crop type; good agronomic practices for fertilizer and seed; pest and weed management; access to markets for farmers to sell produce; resilience mechanisms such as insurance; equity considerations for gender and youth; and related policies.


Small Farm Use of Precision Technologies for Row Crop Production in the U.S.

David Schimmelpfennig, Ph.D., United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)

This paper considers characteristics of small farms that grow different row crops.  These structural characteristics are then related to adoption rates for various precision agricultural technologies on small farms.  Taking the smallest 10-15 percent of a nationally representative sample of farms growing each crop, small rice and wheat farms are over twice the size of small maize and soybean farms, and field sizes on these farms are much larger.  This means that small maize and soybean farms have many more fields to manage using precision technologies.  Soybean fields tend to be larger than maize fields on small farms.

Higher national adoption rates for precision practices on larger farms indicates that the smallest farms, and those with the most fields, may find adoption more difficult.  Soil mapping adoption is higher on mid-sized small farms for most crops. Guidance is more widespread on all sizes of small wheat and rice farms, and they have the largest average field sizes.  VRT seed, chemical, and fertilization are likewise more popular on larger small wheat and rice farms.

The results indicate that there is some use of each technology in most of the size categories of small farms.  This is despite the fact that adoption increases with farm size for all row crops examined at the national level.  Small farm adoption of PrecAg only goes to zero on the smallest farms for one crop – maize.  This is the crop with the highest national adoption levels.


Novel Approaches to Breeding for Resilience in Water Stressed Environments

Todd Mockler, Ph.D., Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Sorghum is the fifth most widely grown cereal crop worldwide and also an attractive system for the development of bioenergy feedstocks. It has innate resilience to drought and heat stresses, versatile end-uses, and a rapidly developing suite of genetic, genomic and phenomic tools. Drought is a complex trait, and identifying the genes underlying sorghum’s innate drought tolerance and how they are regulated requires advanced approaches in genetics, genomics, and phenotyping. Our approach has included sequencing and analyzing the genomes of several hundred racially, geographically, and phenotypically diverse sorghum lines representing all five major sorghum races. Sequencing ~400 sorghum genomes revealed millions of genomic sequence variants and identified candidate genes underlying several traits of interest. Exploration of the sorghum ‘pan-genome’ provided an initial catalog of “core” and “accessory” genes that are potential sources of adaptive alleles. Our work also leverages a field-based phenotyping infrastructure at Maricopa, AZ, which provides an exceptional capability for managed stress trials in a hot and arid environment through controlled irrigation. An automated field scanner system collects high-resolution phenotyping data using a variety of sensors throughout the growing season, from seedling establishment to harvest. Being able to assess the genotype-to-phenotype link in response to drought over the life cycle of the plant will facilitate the discovery of genes and their functions. Identifying the genes underlying drought tolerance will ultimately reveal the genetic basis for the remarkable phenotypic plasticity of sorghum.


Enabling Environments for Achieving Innovations in Water Management in Agricultural Production

Mutsa Masiyandima, Remi Trier, and Regassa Namara, World Bank – Water

Irrigation has the potential to accelerate growth in several countries, with benefits accruing to more than 180 million people and revenue in excess of US$20 billion annually. In SSA, such growth is a tool for reducing poverty. Many triggers and drivers for irrigation development exist, including climate change, decreasing farm sizes requiring intensification for farming to remain viable, more accessible and affordable technologies and services, and a proliferation of irrigation service markets. This presentation will be on creating enabling environments to harness the potential for expanding irrigation that exists.  Focusing on Africa and with examples from Africa and Asia, we will discuss (a) existing barriers to innovation in water management for agriculture including environment, financing, issues of scale, capacity, and institutions, (b) priority enabling conditions to introduce and scale-up smallholder irrigation, (c) innovative financing mechanisms, (d) technologies, and (e) efforts required to address capacity challenges in reference to the need for extension services and technical assistance for smallholder farmers, especially when transitioning from rainfed to irrigated production and when the technological changes involves the change of crops. We will close with a brief discussion of the World Bank approach for scaling up farmer-led irrigation to enhance irrigation impacts.


The New Agricultural Revolution, Water Use, and the Challenge for Public Sector Research

Mark Giordano, Ph.D., Georgetown University

We are in the beginning stages of a biological science and information revolution that will have unprecedented impacts on agriculture including the ways in which crops use water and farmers respond to increasing variation in its availability. The revolution has so far been typified by 1) dramatic rates of technologic change and diffusion, 2) reductions in the costs of technology development, 3) change in the nature of the science, scientists and implementers involved, 4) transformation in the source of investment towards the private sector, and 5) rapid growth in the volume of investment targeting agriculture. The revolution holds tremendous potential for poor farmers, particularly those in regions bypassed by the original Green Revolution and traditional agricultural water investments. However, the nature of the new revolution is rapidly shifting agricultural priority setting away from national and international public sector and NGO actors as well as traditional agricultural researchers and research centers. These actors have a major role to play in informing and shaping the new revolution so that it benefits rather than harms the poor. Whether the role can be realized will depend on how quickly they can recognize and adapt to the new agricultural research environment.

Registration

Registrations are closed for this event.

Location

The symposium took place at IFPRI, 1201 Eye St. NW, Washington, DC.

Videos

The symposium was made available via live webcast on the IFPRI website.

Video recordings of the presentations may be viewed below:

Speakers

Claudia Ringler, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Claudia Ringler is Deputy Division Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). A thought leader on water for food, she manages IFPRI’s Natural Resource Theme, co-leads the Institute’s water research program and is a co-manager of the Managing Resource Variability, Risks and Competing Uses for Increased Resilience (VCR) flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Claudia also chairs the Food, Energy, Environment and Water Network (FE2W) and is associated with the Sustainable Water Futures Program of Future Earth. She published more than 100 journal articles in the areas of global water and food security, gender-water and gender-climate change linkages and the synergies of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Claudia has a PhD in agricultural economics from University of Bonn and an MA in International Development Economics from Yale University.

Morven McLean, Ph.D
Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Morven A. McLean, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the non-profit International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Research Foundation, where she works with a dedicated team on multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary scientific and capacity building programs that span agriculture, nutrition, and the environment.

Dr. McLean first joined the ILSI Research Foundation in 2009 as Director of the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, and in 2013 was additionally appointed lead for sustainable agriculture and nutrition security across the ILSI organization internationally. She has held the position of Chief of Canada’s Plant Biotechnology Office, the federal regulatory authority for the assessment and release of genetically modified plants, and was President of AGBIOS, a consultancy that works internationally with governments, non-governmental organizations, and the public and private sectors on issues of policy and regulation pertaining to genetically modified foods, crops, and forest tree species. Dr. McLean has served as a technical expert on biotechnology risk assessment, regulation, and policy for many organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, the United National Environmental Program, and the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as many national governments.

Dr. McLean received her B.Sc. (Agriculture) from McGill University, M.Sc. in environmental biology from the University of Guelph, and Ph.D. in molecular plant virology from the University of British Columbia. She completed her post-doctoral training with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada’s Vancouver Research Station.

Mark Rosegrant, Ph.D.

Research Fellow Emeritus, Director General’s Office, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Mark W. Rosegrant is a Research Fellow Emeritus in IFPRI’s Director General's Office (DGO). Prior to joining DGO, he was director of IFPRI's Environment and Production Technology Division. With a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, he has extensive experience in research and policy analysis in agriculture and economic development, with an emphasis on water resources and other natural resource and agricultural policy issues as they impact food security, rural livelihoods, and environmental sustainability. He currently directs research on climate change, water resources, sustainable land management, genetic resources and biotechnology, and agriculture and energy.

He is the author or editor of 12 books and over 100 refereed papers in agricultural economics, water resources, and food policy analysis. Dr. Rosegrant has won numerous awards, such as Outstanding Journal Article (2008), Quality of Communications Award (2004), and Distinguished Policy Contribution Award(2002) from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (formerly American Agricultural Economics Association), and Best Article Award (2005) from the International Water Resources Association. Dr. Rosegrant is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Biniam Iyob, Ph.D.

Water and Irrigation Advisor, Bureau for Food Security, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Biniam Iyob joined the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Food Security in 2013 to work as a water and irrigation advisor. He is also the activity manager for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation, the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia and four Farmer to Farmer projects. Previously, he taught geography courses at the University of New Hampshire, helped assess irrigation and harvesting methods at a sugar cane farm in Mauritius, and served as a research assistant regarding tourism and business for a consulting firm. Earlier, he worked as a soil and water conservationist with the Ministry of Agriculture, as an assistant hydrogeologist for a consulting firm, and as a technical/manual laborer in irrigated farms run by the Eritrean army. He holds a doctorate in geography focusing on the Nile Basin and a master’s degree in remote sensing of vegetation change from Oregon State University, an MBA from the University of Mauritius, and a bachelor’s degree in soil and water conservation from the University of Asmara, Eritrea.

David Schimmelpfennig, Ph.D.

Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)

David Schimmelpfennig is an Agricultural Economist at USDA ERS. His areas of interest are the value of information, and agricultural research and productivity. His work on information economics relates to precision agriculture, market structure, and crop pest early-warning systems. He has investigated productivity growth and efficiency in South Africa, India, and the United Kingdom, in addition to the U.S. He was a senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and had Rockefeller Foundation projects on the impacts of genetically modified crops in South Africa. He has leadership responsibility for the information technology questions on the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), the most comprehensive farm production survey conducted by USDA.  His high profile work appears in National Geographic, the New York Times, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and Science.  He is an associate editor of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Todd Mockler, Ph.D.

Geraldine and Robert Virgil Distinguished Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Mockler is the Geraldine and Robert Virgil distinguished investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. He has helped lead several international consortia that have sequenced plant genomes, including the Brachypodium distachyon, Oropetium thomaeum, strawberry, and black raspberry genomes and the sorghum pan-genome project. His research has also included the development of genomic and bioinformatic tools, with the end goal of improving crop performance and yield. Areas of study include gene regulatory networks, plant abiotic stress responses, genome sequencing and analysis, and high-throughput phenotyping. His published work provides critical tools and approaches for using large-scale multi-omics datasets to understand complex biological systems. In 2012, Dr. Mockler co-founded Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural diversity of plants.

He received his doctorate in molecular biology at the University of California – Los Angeles and his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Mutsa Masiyandima, Ph.D.

Senior Irrigation and Drainage Specialist, Water Team - West Africa Unit, World Bank

Mutsa Masiyandima joined the World Bank Water’s West Africa unit as a Senior Irrigation and Drainage Specialist in 2018. Her current work involves supporting implementation of irrigation projects in West Africa where she supports the implementation of the Sahel Irrigation Initiative Project (SIIP) in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal, with a focus on the irrigation solutions component. SIIP is a contribution to realizing the Dakar Declaration of 2013. Prior to joining the World Bank Mutsa spent more than 16 years working on various aspects of water resources and agricultural water management. She coordinated Care USA’s water interventions work in Ghana, Malawi, and Mali, providing technical guidance to field teams on practices that enhance access to water for production and efficient use of available water (spanning soil and water conservation, conservation agriculture and irrigation) by smallholder farmers. Prior to her work at CARE she contributed to AfricaRice’s Sustainable Enhancement Program working on water management in irrigated rice systems in the Sahel. She spent 10 years as a researcher with IWMI’s Water and Environment theme in southern Africa, developing, leading and implementing research on agricultural water management, groundwater management and catchment hydrology. Mutsa has experience working in at least 21 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, including her native Zimbabwe. She has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University. The Rockefeller Foundation supported her research work on the hydrology of a small catchment in the sub-humid Guinea Savanna zone in Cote d’Ivoire.

Mark Giordano, Ph.D.

Professor, Georgetown University

Mark Giordano is Professor of Geography and Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environment and International Affairs at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. His research and teaching focuses primarily on the international political dimensions of water and agriculture and the geography of geopolitics. Mark serves on the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Working Group on the Global Commons, is a founding member of Georgetown’s India Initiative, and sits on the board of the Kentler International Drawing Space. Prior to joining Georgetown in 2013, Mark held multiple roles at the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute and earlier served as a trade economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has spent a substantial part of his professional life in Asia and Africa and is from Washington State.

Josette Lewis, Ph.D.

Director of Agricultural Affairs, Almond Board of California

Josette Lewis is the Director of Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California. She most recently served as Associate Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund, where she focused on ecosystems and sustainable agriculture. She previously served as the Associate Director of the University of California, Davis World Food Center and also worked with Arcadia Biosciences as the Director of Agricultural Development to expand the company’s licensing and partnerships, particularly in developing countries. Prior to joining Arcadia, Dr. Lewis spent 16 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Most recently, she served as Director of the Office of Agriculture, where she played a leadership role in the development of the Administration’s global initiative on food security, development of a new strategy for agricultural research, and initiated numerous new partnerships with universities, agricultural companies, and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and developing countries.

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The ILSI Research Foundation, in collaboration with ILSI Focal Point in China, conducted the first phase of our Technical Training Program on Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered (GE) Plants on March 5-7, 2019 in Langfang, China. Aimed at providing Chinese public-sector scientists with in-depth information about the purpose, design, and conduct of studies used to inform safety assessments of foods and feeds derived from GE crops, Phase I of the program established a baseline understanding of the food safety assessment paradigm, toxicity and allergenicity testing, compositional assessment, and animal testing.

Phase II of the technical training, comprised of laboratory tours and demonstrations of how tests are managed and conducted, as well as how data are collected and interpreted, took place on July 17-21, 2019 in Washington, DC and Ashland, OH, USA. The training included a review of the concepts from Phase I, with an additional focus on critical reading and a review of study reports.

Participants were asked to complete the eLearning module “Application of Problem Formulation for Food and Feed Safety Assessment” in advance of the Phase II workshop.

Agenda

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 1

ILSI Research Foundation · Washington, DC
Monday, June 17, 2019 · 09:30-16:30
Welcome, Introduction, and Overview of the Workshop
Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation Recap of Phase I: Basic Concepts in the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods and Feeds, Problem Formulation Methodology, and Guidelines and Methods
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. Review of eLearning Modules
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. FDA Regulation of Food from New Plant Varieties: An Overview
Dr. Patrick Cournoyer, US Food & Drug Administration EPA Regulation of Plant-Incorporated Protectants
Dr. Chris A. Wozniak, US Environmental Protection Agency

Day 2

ILSI Research Foundation · Washington, DC
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 · 08:30-16:00
Understanding the American Public’s Perceptions of Genetically Modified Food
Dr. Cara L. Cuite, Rutgers University Public Opinion on GE Plants and Food and Feed Derived from Them: China
Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University Breakout Groups: Exercise 1 - Risk Communication Group Discussion and Q&A on Public Perception and Communication
Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University New Plant Breeding Techniques: Global Status of Regulation of Products for Food and Feed Use
Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation Breakout Groups: Exercise 2 -Safety Assessment of Provided Case Studies (Case 1: Cry1Ac, Case 2: IPD072Aa), Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd.

Day 3

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 · 08:30-17:30
Introduction to CRL and Rules
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories Animal Welfare, Human Health, and Safety Considerations for Animal Testing Facilities
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories Acute Oral Toxicity Studies - (a) Design, Guidelines, and Doses, (b) Surrogate Species, (c) Interpreting Results and Writing Reports
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agrisciences Breakout Groups Exercise 3: Critical Review of Acute Oral Toxicity Studies Data, Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. Discussion and Q&A
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Quality Assurance & Good Laboratory Practices
Ms. Carrie James and Mr. Kelvin Mentzer, Charles River Laboratories Role of a Study Director
Dr. JoAnna Bultman, Charles River Laboratories

 

Biosecurity, Laboratory, and Vivarium Safety
Leanne Silvis, Charles River Laboratories

CRL Facility Tour

Day 4

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Thursday, June 20, 2019 · 08:30-17:00
Presentation on Pathology
Dr. Gary Coleman, Charles River Laboratories CRL In-Depth Facility Tour and Demonstration
Ms. Susana Rodriguez, Mr. William Miller, and Mr. Matthew Bennett, Charles River Laboratories
  • Histology
  • Necropsy
  • Neurobehavioral Testing Suite
  • Inlife Dosing and Blood Collection Demonstration
90-Day Sub-Chronic Studies
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Breakout Groups: Exercise 4 - Critical Review of 90-Day Feeding Studies Data, Group Presentations, and Discussion
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience

Discussion and Q&A

Day 5

Charles River Laboratories · Ashland, OH
Friday, June 21, 2019 · 08:30-14:30
Bringing It All Together: Writing Relevant and Informative Risk Assessment Summaries
Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd. RNAi Food and Feed Safety Assessment
Dr. Xu Hu and Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience Investigation of an In Vitro Method for Protein Hazard Characterization
Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agriscience

Presentation of Completion Certificates and Workshop Closure

Speakers

Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, ILSI Research Foundation

Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj joined the ILSI Research Foundation as Scientific Program Manager in July 2018. She has worked in academia, the biotechnology industry, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and has a combined research and teaching experience of 12 years.

Dr. Bajaj has worked on plant secondary metabolites of nutritional, agricultural, and medicinal importance. Prior to joining the ILSI Research Foundation, Dr. Bajaj held the position of Visiting Scientist at the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, where she worked on carotenoid pathway regulation in high polyamine containing tomatoes. Before then, she was an Associate Investigator with the Plant Protection Group at DuPont, where she worked on metabolic engineering as a strategy for insect control in soybean. During her postdoctoral training, she worked on targeted metabolite profiling of triterpene glycosides and phenolic acids in cell suspensions of black cohosh and developed an in vitro protocol for accelerating its seed germination. Dr. Bajaj has also worked as an Assistant Professor at Jaipur National University, India, where she taught genetic engineering, enzymology, and biochemistry courses to masters level students.

Dr. Bajaj received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, India. Her graduate level research comprised of genetic diversity studies on bacterial blight pathogen of clusterbean using molecular markers.

Dr. Patrick Cournoyer, US Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Patrick Cournoyer is a regulatory scientist in the US Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Food Additive Safety. He helps administer the Plant Biotechnology Consultation Program, which works with plant biotechnology developers to help them ensure the safety of food from new plant varieties prior to marketing. He joined the Federal Government as a class of 2013 Presidential Management Fellow. Patrick received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2013, where he studied the cell biology of the plant immune system. Prior to graduate school, Patrick worked for the science communication company Genius GmbH in Germany, where he helped develop EU-funded websites to inform consumers about the safety and regulation of genetically engineered plants. Patrick completed a Bachelor of Science in plant science and German studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2005.

Dr. Cara Cuite, Rutgers University

Dr. Cara Cuite is an Assistant Extension Specialist in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University. Dr. Cuite is a health psychologist who studies community food security, risk communication, and public perceptions of food-related issues, including food safety and genetically engineered foods. More recent projects have focused on communicating about weather-related emergencies as well as interventions to reduce household food, energy, and water use. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, New Jersey Sea Grant, and Johnson & Johnson. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University and a B.S. in Psychology and Modern Languages from Union College.

Dr. Mònica García-Alonso, Estel Consult, Ltd.

Dr. Mònica García-Alonso is an independent consultant and director at Estel Consult, Ltd. She has been working in the area of risk assessment of genetically modified crops and regulatory affairs for more than 20 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a specialty in zoology and entomology, and a master’s degree in insect physiology and ecology from the University of Barcelona, as well as a doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Reading. She worked for Syngenta for 19 years and set up her own consultancy eight years ago. She now supports private and public research activities aimed at developing GM crop solutions and provides training on risk assessment to regulators and developers around the world.

Dr. Xu Hu, Corteva Agrisciences

Dr. Xu Hu received his B.S. in Plant Protection from Henan Agricultural College, China in 1982. He earned his M.S. in Plant Pathology in 1985 and then worked as a research associate for three years at Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS), Beijing, China.  He completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph, Canada in 1994.

From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Xu Hu conducted postdoctoral research in Colorado State University, working on the expression of antifungal protein genes in transgenic potato plants and on the improvement of seed oil content in Brassica napus at the Plant Biotechnology Institute, National Research Council of Canada. Xu joined Pioneer in 1998 as a discovery post-doc for molecular characterization of Sclerotinia resistance in transgenic sunflower plant, and then as a senior research associate for the generation of novel resistance against soybean cyst nematode (SCN). As a principal research scientist, Xu led a team working on transgenic resistance to soybean fungal diseases and contributed in RNAi studies on SCN and corn rootworm control. In 2011, Xu took the role of corn rootworm RNAi project leader where he collaborated across functions to progress the RNAi technology through the trait development pipeline. Following the merger of DOW with DuPont in 2017, Xu briefly worked corn diseases and transitioned to input trait discovery, Corteva Agrisciences in 2019, working on genomics-based insecticidal discovery.

Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University

Dr. Xenia Morin is the Senior Associate Dean for Learning, the Undergraduate Program Director for the Agriculture and Food Systems Program, and an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University. Dr. Morin works and collaborates at the intersection of science, social science, and society, and she participates in tackling the formidable challenge of feeding our growing population. As a trained plant biochemist, her research and teaching has grown increasingly interdisciplinary over the years and she now focuses on agriculture and food systems. She has studied, researched, published, and taught on the topic of genetically modified food since 2001 at Bryn Mawr College, Princeton University, and now at Rutgers University.

Dr. Jason Roper, Corteva Agrisciences

Dr. Jason Roper earned his B.S. in Biomedical Science with a minor in Chemistry from Western Michigan University in 1997. He then completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology and Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Following his post-graduate studies, Jason worked for six years as Senior Toxicologist and Study Director at a contract research organization specializing in GLP mammalian toxicology studies. He joined DuPont Pioneer in 2011 as Research Scientist and Toxicologist, managing a team of scientists responsible for the planning and execution of mammalian, livestock, and avian toxicology studies to support product safety evaluations for global regulatory submissions of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant maize, soybean, rice, and canola products.

Jason joined the DuPont Central Research and Development (CR&D) group at Haskell Global Centers for Health and Environmental Sciences in 2013 as Principal Investigator and Senior Research Toxicologist, providing consulting services for the several DuPont businesses in the agricultural, biotechnology, and food industries. Following the merger of DOW with DuPont in 2017, Jason led the general, neuro- and inhalation toxicology competencies at Haskell Global Centers until transitioning to the Corteva Agrisciences (a division of DowDuPont) seeds business in 2019, as a subject-matter expert for regulatory toxicology and product safety. Jason has served as Chair of the CropLife International Toxicology Expert Team (2016-2018) and the DuPont Agricultural Animal Resource Committee (2016-present), Vice-Chair of the Haskell Animal Welfare Committee (2013-2017), and is a member of the HESI Protein Allergen, Toxin, and Bioinformatics (PATB) group and the Haskell Contract Laboratory Evaluation and Approval Team (2015-present).

Dr. Chris A. Wozniak, US Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Chris A. Wozniak received his training in Plant Pathology and Life Sciences at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where his research efforts focused on understanding cell differentiation and morphogenesis in Sorghum bicolor. As a post-doctoral associate, Chris then worked to develop insect resistant cotton and to develop protocols for genetic transformation of sugarbeet. He subsequently joined the USDA-ARS full time to study the biological control of an insect pest in sugarbeet.

After 18 years in plant science research, Chris entered the world of regulatory science at the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Office of Pesticide Programs as a risk assessor and human health specialist. At EPA, Chris performed risk assessments of microbial and plant-based pesticides, particularly in the areas of human health and environmental consequences of gene flow.

As a Biotechnology Special Assistant in the Office of Pesticide Programs at US EPA, Dr. Wozniak focuses on issues of biotechnology policy, interagency coordination of biotech regulation, and environmental risk assessment of plant-incorporated protectants and sterility mechanisms in mosquitoes.

Photos from the Workshop

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Overview

Agenda

Overview

Crop composition is an essential component of the food safety assessment for GE crops that are intended to be used as food. However, it is important to understand the purpose of the data and its context in the safety assessment. Open to attendees of the 15th ISBR Symposium, this workshop provided an opportunity to briefly discuss the rationale for considering crop composition data, how that data is interpreted in the context of the safety assessment, and what the limitations are to compositional studies.

The workshop also introduced participants to a resource for assisting in the interpretation of compositional studies—the ILSI Crop Composition Database. Participants saw a demonstration of the database and its features, highlighting updates and additions to Version 7.0, the latest iteration of the database that was launched in January 2019. Then, participants were provided with a series of exercises designed to help them understand the search reporting function of the ILSI Crop Composition Database, which they were able to walk through using their personal laptop during the workshop.

In order to ensure that organizers could provide assistance to participants while conducting the practical exercises, the workshop was limited to 20 participants and was conducted twice (at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm). More information about the workshop is available from the International Society for Biosafety Research.

Agenda

Welcome and Introduction

Compositional Assessment as a Component of Food Safety Assessment for GE Plants
Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation Introduction to the ILSI Crop Composition Database
Dr. Bhavneet Bajaj, Scientific Program Manager, ILSI Research Foundation

Practical Exercises

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Download the Conference Document!

Download the Conference Document!

The Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the ILSI Research Foundation co-organized the symposium Addressing Water Variability and Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Research at IFPRI’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Presentations focused on new technologies that are being developed and/or applied to mitigate the impacts of water stress on agricultural productivity, as well as the enabling policy environment that is needed to ensure that water-related research and development efforts are effectively deployed and scaled up.

Presentations

Abstracts

An Overview of Promising Technologies for Improved On-Farm Management of Water

Biniam Iyob, Ph.D., Bureau for Food Security, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Good on-farm management of water in developing countries could contribute in a major way to help vulnerable farmers out of poverty. Fortunately, we are in an era where technologies for on-farm water management are rapidly evolving. Water lifting technologies such as solar pumps have been undergoing product changes and price reductions that are increasing their adoption. Similarly water conveyance methods, such as drip irrigation, have also seen their accessibility and utilization increase in many developing countries. In addition to the technologies themselves, a strategic approach is needed to achieve widespread and sustainable adoption. Such an approach could result in improved food security, resilience, and nutrition. Four factors, called the four Ps, borrowed from the marketing field, might be useful for increasing adoption of sustainable practices for on-farm water management. First, the technology product has to fit the context and stakeholder preferences. Second, the price of the technology has to be reasonable to adopters. Third, the promotion of the technology has to be communicated well and at the right platforms. And, fourth, the technologies have to be available at the right place and time. However, these four Ps are not enough. Many other critical factors also need to be considered for the technologies to be sustainable (environmentally, socio-economically and politically). These factors include: the right crop type; good agronomic practices for fertilizer and seed; pest and weed management; access to markets for farmers to sell produce; resilience mechanisms such as insurance; equity considerations for gender and youth; and related policies.


Small Farm Use of Precision Technologies for Row Crop Production in the U.S.

David Schimmelpfennig, Ph.D., United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)

This paper considers characteristics of small farms that grow different row crops.  These structural characteristics are then related to adoption rates for various precision agricultural technologies on small farms.  Taking the smallest 10-15 percent of a nationally representative sample of farms growing each crop, small rice and wheat farms are over twice the size of small maize and soybean farms, and field sizes on these farms are much larger.  This means that small maize and soybean farms have many more fields to manage using precision technologies.  Soybean fields tend to be larger than maize fields on small farms.

Higher national adoption rates for precision practices on larger farms indicates that the smallest farms, and those with the most fields, may find adoption more difficult.  Soil mapping adoption is higher on mid-sized small farms for most crops. Guidance is more widespread on all sizes of small wheat and rice farms, and they have the largest average field sizes.  VRT seed, chemical, and fertilization are likewise more popular on larger small wheat and rice farms.

The results indicate that there is some use of each technology in most of the size categories of small farms.  This is despite the fact that adoption increases with farm size for all row crops examined at the national level.  Small farm adoption of PrecAg only goes to zero on the smallest farms for one crop – maize.  This is the crop with the highest national adoption levels.


Novel Approaches to Breeding for Resilience in Water Stressed Environments

Todd Mockler, Ph.D., Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Sorghum is the fifth most widely grown cereal crop worldwide and also an attractive system for the development of bioenergy feedstocks. It has innate resilience to drought and heat stresses, versatile end-uses, and a rapidly developing suite of genetic, genomic and phenomic tools. Drought is a complex trait, and identifying the genes underlying sorghum’s innate drought tolerance and how they are regulated requires advanced approaches in genetics, genomics, and phenotyping. Our approach has included sequencing and analyzing the genomes of several hundred racially, geographically, and phenotypically diverse sorghum lines representing all five major sorghum races. Sequencing ~400 sorghum genomes revealed millions of genomic sequence variants and identified candidate genes underlying several traits of interest. Exploration of the sorghum ‘pan-genome’ provided an initial catalog of “core” and “accessory” genes that are potential sources of adaptive alleles. Our work also leverages a field-based phenotyping infrastructure at Maricopa, AZ, which provides an exceptional capability for managed stress trials in a hot and arid environment through controlled irrigation. An automated field scanner system collects high-resolution phenotyping data using a variety of sensors throughout the growing season, from seedling establishment to harvest. Being able to assess the genotype-to-phenotype link in response to drought over the life cycle of the plant will facilitate the discovery of genes and their functions. Identifying the genes underlying drought tolerance will ultimately reveal the genetic basis for the remarkable phenotypic plasticity of sorghum.


Enabling Environments for Achieving Innovations in Water Management in Agricultural Production

Mutsa Masiyandima, Remi Trier, and Regassa Namara, World Bank – Water

Irrigation has the potential to accelerate growth in several countries, with benefits accruing to more than 180 million people and revenue in excess of US$20 billion annually. In SSA, such growth is a tool for reducing poverty. Many triggers and drivers for irrigation development exist, including climate change, decreasing farm sizes requiring intensification for farming to remain viable, more accessible and affordable technologies and services, and a proliferation of irrigation service markets. This presentation will be on creating enabling environments to harness the potential for expanding irrigation that exists.  Focusing on Africa and with examples from Africa and Asia, we will discuss (a) existing barriers to innovation in water management for agriculture including environment, financing, issues of scale, capacity, and institutions, (b) priority enabling conditions to introduce and scale-up smallholder irrigation, (c) innovative financing mechanisms, (d) technologies, and (e) efforts required to address capacity challenges in reference to the need for extension services and technical assistance for smallholder farmers, especially when transitioning from rainfed to irrigated production and when the technological changes involves the change of crops. We will close with a brief discussion of the World Bank approach for scaling up farmer-led irrigation to enhance irrigation impacts.


The New Agricultural Revolution, Water Use, and the Challenge for Public Sector Research

Mark Giordano, Ph.D., Georgetown University

We are in the beginning stages of a biological science and information revolution that will have unprecedented impacts on agriculture including the ways in which crops use water and farmers respond to increasing variation in its availability. The revolution has so far been typified by 1) dramatic rates of technologic change and diffusion, 2) reductions in the costs of technology development, 3) change in the nature of the science, scientists and implementers involved, 4) transformation in the source of investment towards the private sector, and 5) rapid growth in the volume of investment targeting agriculture. The revolution holds tremendous potential for poor farmers, particularly those in regions bypassed by the original Green Revolution and traditional agricultural water investments. However, the nature of the new revolution is rapidly shifting agricultural priority setting away from national and international public sector and NGO actors as well as traditional agricultural researchers and research centers. These actors have a major role to play in informing and shaping the new revolution so that it benefits rather than harms the poor. Whether the role can be realized will depend on how quickly they can recognize and adapt to the new agricultural research environment.

Registration

Registrations are closed for this event.

Location

The symposium took place at IFPRI, 1201 Eye St. NW, Washington, DC.

Videos

The symposium was made available via live webcast on the IFPRI website.

Video recordings of the presentations may be viewed below:

Speakers

Claudia Ringler, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Claudia Ringler is Deputy Division Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). A thought leader on water for food, she manages IFPRI’s Natural Resource Theme, co-leads the Institute’s water research program and is a co-manager of the Managing Resource Variability, Risks and Competing Uses for Increased Resilience (VCR) flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Claudia also chairs the Food, Energy, Environment and Water Network (FE2W) and is associated with the Sustainable Water Futures Program of Future Earth. She published more than 100 journal articles in the areas of global water and food security, gender-water and gender-climate change linkages and the synergies of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Claudia has a PhD in agricultural economics from University of Bonn and an MA in International Development Economics from Yale University.

Morven McLean, Ph.D
Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation

Morven A. McLean, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the non-profit International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Research Foundation, where she works with a dedicated team on multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary scientific and capacity building programs that span agriculture, nutrition, and the environment.

Dr. McLean first joined the ILSI Research Foundation in 2009 as Director of the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, and in 2013 was additionally appointed lead for sustainable agriculture and nutrition security across the ILSI organization internationally. She has held the position of Chief of Canada’s Plant Biotechnology Office, the federal regulatory authority for the assessment and release of genetically modified plants, and was President of AGBIOS, a consultancy that works internationally with governments, non-governmental organizations, and the public and private sectors on issues of policy and regulation pertaining to genetically modified foods, crops, and forest tree species. Dr. McLean has served as a technical expert on biotechnology risk assessment, regulation, and policy for many organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, the United National Environmental Program, and the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as many national governments.

Dr. McLean received her B.Sc. (Agriculture) from McGill University, M.Sc. in environmental biology from the University of Guelph, and Ph.D. in molecular plant virology from the University of British Columbia. She completed her post-doctoral training with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada’s Vancouver Research Station.

Mark Rosegrant, Ph.D.

Research Fellow Emeritus, Director General’s Office, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Mark W. Rosegrant is a Research Fellow Emeritus in IFPRI’s Director General's Office (DGO). Prior to joining DGO, he was director of IFPRI's Environment and Production Technology Division. With a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, he has extensive experience in research and policy analysis in agriculture and economic development, with an emphasis on water resources and other natural resource and agricultural policy issues as they impact food security, rural livelihoods, and environmental sustainability. He currently directs research on climate change, water resources, sustainable land management, genetic resources and biotechnology, and agriculture and energy.

He is the author or editor of 12 books and over 100 refereed papers in agricultural economics, water resources, and food policy analysis. Dr. Rosegrant has won numerous awards, such as Outstanding Journal Article (2008), Quality of Communications Award (2004), and Distinguished Policy Contribution Award(2002) from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (formerly American Agricultural Economics Association), and Best Article Award (2005) from the International Water Resources Association. Dr. Rosegrant is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Biniam Iyob, Ph.D.

Water and Irrigation Advisor, Bureau for Food Security, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Biniam Iyob joined the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Food Security in 2013 to work as a water and irrigation advisor. He is also the activity manager for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation, the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia and four Farmer to Farmer projects. Previously, he taught geography courses at the University of New Hampshire, helped assess irrigation and harvesting methods at a sugar cane farm in Mauritius, and served as a research assistant regarding tourism and business for a consulting firm. Earlier, he worked as a soil and water conservationist with the Ministry of Agriculture, as an assistant hydrogeologist for a consulting firm, and as a technical/manual laborer in irrigated farms run by the Eritrean army. He holds a doctorate in geography focusing on the Nile Basin and a master’s degree in remote sensing of vegetation change from Oregon State University, an MBA from the University of Mauritius, and a bachelor’s degree in soil and water conservation from the University of Asmara, Eritrea.

David Schimmelpfennig, Ph.D.

Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)

David Schimmelpfennig is an Agricultural Economist at USDA ERS. His areas of interest are the value of information, and agricultural research and productivity. His work on information economics relates to precision agriculture, market structure, and crop pest early-warning systems. He has investigated productivity growth and efficiency in South Africa, India, and the United Kingdom, in addition to the U.S. He was a senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and had Rockefeller Foundation projects on the impacts of genetically modified crops in South Africa. He has leadership responsibility for the information technology questions on the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), the most comprehensive farm production survey conducted by USDA.  His high profile work appears in National Geographic, the New York Times, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and Science.  He is an associate editor of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Todd Mockler, Ph.D.

Geraldine and Robert Virgil Distinguished Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Mockler is the Geraldine and Robert Virgil distinguished investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. He has helped lead several international consortia that have sequenced plant genomes, including the Brachypodium distachyon, Oropetium thomaeum, strawberry, and black raspberry genomes and the sorghum pan-genome project. His research has also included the development of genomic and bioinformatic tools, with the end goal of improving crop performance and yield. Areas of study include gene regulatory networks, plant abiotic stress responses, genome sequencing and analysis, and high-throughput phenotyping. His published work provides critical tools and approaches for using large-scale multi-omics datasets to understand complex biological systems. In 2012, Dr. Mockler co-founded Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural diversity of plants.

He received his doctorate in molecular biology at the University of California – Los Angeles and his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Mutsa Masiyandima, Ph.D.

Senior Irrigation and Drainage Specialist, Water Team - West Africa Unit, World Bank

Mutsa Masiyandima joined the World Bank Water’s West Africa unit as a Senior Irrigation and Drainage Specialist in 2018. Her current work involves supporting implementation of irrigation projects in West Africa where she supports the implementation of the Sahel Irrigation Initiative Project (SIIP) in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal, with a focus on the irrigation solutions component. SIIP is a contribution to realizing the Dakar Declaration of 2013. Prior to joining the World Bank Mutsa spent more than 16 years working on various aspects of water resources and agricultural water management. She coordinated Care USA’s water interventions work in Ghana, Malawi, and Mali, providing technical guidance to field teams on practices that enhance access to water for production and efficient use of available water (spanning soil and water conservation, conservation agriculture and irrigation) by smallholder farmers. Prior to her work at CARE she contributed to AfricaRice’s Sustainable Enhancement Program working on water management in irrigated rice systems in the Sahel. She spent 10 years as a researcher with IWMI’s Water and Environment theme in southern Africa, developing, leading and implementing research on agricultural water management, groundwater management and catchment hydrology. Mutsa has experience working in at least 21 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, including her native Zimbabwe. She has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University. The Rockefeller Foundation supported her research work on the hydrology of a small catchment in the sub-humid Guinea Savanna zone in Cote d’Ivoire.

Mark Giordano, Ph.D.

Professor, Georgetown University

Mark Giordano is Professor of Geography and Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environment and International Affairs at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. His research and teaching focuses primarily on the international political dimensions of water and agriculture and the geography of geopolitics. Mark serves on the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Working Group on the Global Commons, is a founding member of Georgetown’s India Initiative, and sits on the board of the Kentler International Drawing Space. Prior to joining Georgetown in 2013, Mark held multiple roles at the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute and earlier served as a trade economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has spent a substantial part of his professional life in Asia and Africa and is from Washington State.

Josette Lewis, Ph.D.

Director of Agricultural Affairs, Almond Board of California

Josette Lewis is the Director of Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California. She most recently served as Associate Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund, where she focused on ecosystems and sustainable agriculture. She previously served as the Associate Director of the University of California, Davis World Food Center and also worked with Arcadia Biosciences as the Director of Agricultural Development to expand the company’s licensing and partnerships, particularly in developing countries. Prior to joining Arcadia, Dr. Lewis spent 16 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Most recently, she served as Director of the Office of Agriculture, where she played a leadership role in the development of the Administration’s global initiative on food security, development of a new strategy for agricultural research, and initiated numerous new partnerships with universities, agricultural companies, and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and developing countries.

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eLearning

The ILSI Research Foundation has developed eLearning courses that focus on food safety.

Seven Food System Metrics of Sustainable Nutrition Security

Sustainability considerations have been absent from most food security assessments conducted to date, despite the tremendous economic, environmental, and social implications of meeting accelerating food demand in the face of water shortages and climate change.

Read more

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DOI: 10.3390/su8030196

Background: The world faces an escalating challenge to meet accelerating demand for sustainably-produced, nutritious food in the face of human population pressure, resource scarcity, ecosystem degradation, and climate change. As the ambitious Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) give way to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), about 795 million people globally are still without sufficient calories and at least two billion lack sufficient nutrients.  The ILSI Research Foundation has developed and published a new paper giving a unique set of metrics for measuring food system performance.  The metrics make it possible to set meaningful goals, track progress, and evaluate the potential impact of food system interventions intended to improve sustainability and human nutrition outcomes.

Abstract: Sustainability considerations have been absent from most food security assessments conducted to date, despite the tremendous economic, environmental, and social implications of meeting accelerating food demand in the face of water shortages and climate change. In addition, previous food security work has generally focused only on achieving adequate calories, rather than addressing dietary diversity and micronutrient adequacy, both of which are critical to maintaining a healthy overall nutritional status. In response to the limitations of previous assessments, a new methodology is proposed here based on the concept of “sustainable nutrition security” (SNS). This novel assessment methodology is intended to remedy both kinds of deficiencies in the previous work by defining seven metrics, each based on a combination of multiple indicators, for use in characterizing sustainable nutrition outcomes of food systems: (1) food nutrient adequacy; (2) ecosystem stability; (3) food affordability and availability; (4) sociocultural wellbeing; (5) food safety; (6) resilience; and (7) waste and loss reduction. Each of the metrics comprises multiple indicators that are combined to derive an overall score (0–100). A novel SNS assessment methodology based on these metrics can be deployed by decision-makers and investors to set meaningful goals, track progress, and evaluate the potential impact of food system interventions intended to improve sustainability and human nutrition outcomes.

Download the journal article here.

Resources

Download the metric paper news release here.

Download the 7 food system metrics of sustainable nutrition security infographic available in English or Spanish.

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