This week’s celebration of the World Food Prize as well as events here on campus highlight just how important food has become in our national and global conversation, and how important it will be to engage young people as we look for solutions.
The ceremony in Des Moines will certainly include all the pomp and circumstance associated with such a prestigious award. But some of the accompanying events and symposia clearly are aimed at engaging high school and college students through faster-paced, interactive discussions about food and hunger issues. I’m very proud to say that the 7 Minnesota high school students who earned top honors in our Minnesota Youth Institute for their presentations on the topic “Cultivating Innovations to Feed the World” will be there interacting with some of the world’s foremost scientists and policy-makers in food and agriculture.
Closer to home, food and the drive to provide enough safe, sustainable food for the world also is in the spotlight. This month, the U of M Regents approved President Kaler’s new MnDRIVE initiative, which includes food production from farm to fork as one of its key research areas. Because the university has such a wide range of food research and such strong private-sector partners, we can become, as President Kaler calls it, “the Silicon Valley of Food.”
And later this month, U of M students, with an assist from the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, will celebrate the second annual Food Day on campus by exploring both “food good for eating” and “food good for thinking.” The event is mostly organized and run by students – a good sign that our young people care about this issue.
Like everything we do, finding good answers to complex issues takes a combination of education, research and outreach – as the three examples above illustrate. By including young people in all three phases of the discussion, we stand a much greater chance of solving the sustainable-food challenge.
Stick a pin almost anywhere on a map of the world and you can find a CFANS connection. That’s what you'll find on this new interactive global map: the incredible breadth and depth of the global research, teaching and outreach by CFANS faculty, students and staff. This map is the online version of one you'll find in the fall edition of Solutions, which is available both online and in print.
The new Natural Resources Library, which opened in June, celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 10 and so far is a hit with students. The new library consolidates high-use print materials from the Forestry Library and the Entomology, Fisheries, and Wildlife Library in a remodeled space in Hodson Hall. Library officials made the change because of diminishing demand for print materials and to be more cost-effective. Low-use print materials (many of which are available electronically) were transferred to the Magrath Library or other libraries' facilities.
CFANS and its partners in the North Star STEM Alliance have been awarded an additional five years of funding totaling $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. The additional funding was awarded as the Alliance approaches its initial five-year goal of doubling the number of underrepresented minority students receiving bachelor’s degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields from 2007-12. The Alliance is a partnership among Minnesota colleges and universities and two community organizations. Its goal was to increase from 136 (the number of underrepresented students graduating in 2004-05) to 272 the number of African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Alaska Native and Pacific Islander students who graduate with STEM degrees in 2012.
"Dig It! The Secrets of Soil," a new exhibition at the Bell Museum of Natural History will take visitors into the world of this complex and variable mixture of air, minerals, water, decaying items and living organisms. The exhibit, originally created by the Smithsonian Institution, opens to the public on Nov. 10 and runs through early next year. "Dig It!' is co-sponsored by the Soil Science Society of America and features interactive displays, hands-on models, videos, and monoliths like the one pictured at left that represent soils from U.S. states and territories.
This year's Department of Soil, Water and Climate Kuehnast Lecture will feature a mini-climate school with lectures from three world-renowned scientists. David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada (Ottawa) will present “Canada: No Longer the Cold, White North;" Sue Grimmond from King’s College (London, UK) will present “Current Advances in Monitoring and Modeling Urban Climates;" and Harold Brooks, research meteorologist who heads the Modeling, Observation, and Analysis Team at the NOAA National Severe Storms Lab in Oklahoma will present “Severe Thunderstorms and Climate Change.” The 20th annual lecture is part of the department's centennial celebration; after the lectures, participants can also get a sneak peek at the Bell Museum's "Dig It!" exhibition.
Alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition will celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the department next month with a research expo, social gatherings, tours and historical presentations. The department was established on July 1, 1972, when the Department of Food Science and Industries in the College of Agriculture merged with the Divisions of Foods, and of Nutrition and Food Service Administration in the College of Home Economics. The celebration begins at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2 and runs through noon on Nov. 3; registration is required for various events.
Nominations are open for the 2013 Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture. The prize recognizes outstanding contributions to agriculture and the alleviation of world hunger. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach), production agriculture and agribusiness. Each laureate receives $50,000 as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose. Nomination instructions are available online. Deadline is January 15, with winners expected to be announced on National Ag Day, March 19, 2013.
"Landscape Health: Diverse Traditions," a Solution-Driven Science Symposium. Thursday, Oct. 18, St. Paul Student Center
U of M Food Day, Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 23-24, Coffman Memorial Union, U of M Minneapolis campus.
Ghouls and Goblins in the Garden, Oct. 27-28, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen.
For a complete list of events, visit the CFANS Events Calendar.
John Niebur has been named interim head of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering while Shri Ramaswamy is on sabbatical.
Horticultural science professor Mary Meyer has been elected president of the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering professor Larry Jacobson was awarded Distinguished Campus-Based Faculty honors by University of Minnesota Extension.
"Saving Wheat: Rusts Never Sleep," a documentary produced by the Department of Plant Pathology and TPT, won a Midwest Emmy Award.
The U of M soil judging team recently took top honors in the Region V American Society of Agronomy soil judging contest in the group judging category.