Workshop “Strengthening American Food Resilience”

The US National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) organises a conference with the “Food-Energy-Water Nexus” theme in Washington DC on January 19-21, 2016.  One of the workshops will review key concepts for improving food resilience and how they can be translated into action. The Food Resilience articles (including on food security after Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters by Alexander Belyakov) will be presented and discussed during this event.

The website provides a complete list of abstracts for Symposium on American Food Resilience articles – and free downloads of final manuscripts for all the articles. The entire collection is exciting in the diversity of its coverage, as experts on various aspects of the food system draw upon a broad array of perspectives to throw light on a single high-stakes theme – the security of our food supply. The 27 articles in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Science’s Symposium on American Food Resilience explore the vulnerability and resilience of food production and distribution.

The resilience of our food system is declining as global demand for food approaches limits for sustainable production. Difficult-to-predict disturbances such as severe influenza pandemic or large-scale crop failure could disrupt food production or distribution severely enough to set in motion a breakdown of food supply. The risk of serious shortfalls, whether on a local scale or larger scale, shorter period or longer period, is of genuine concern. Cities are particularly vulnerable. Decline in food storage throughout the system has eroded the capacity to buffer perturbations.

It’s difficult to get a clear grip on this topic because the food system is so complex, and failure could take forms never seen before. It’s easy for wishful thinking to prevail, but the stakes are high. The Symposium on American Food Resilience addresses the following questions:

  • What are the main lines of vulnerability in the food system?
  • What are leverage points for reducing the risks and improving the capacity to cope with breakdowns?
  • What is already being done by government, civil society, and the private sector to reduce the risks?
  • What can scientists, teachers, and other professionals do through research, education, community action, or other means to make the food system more resilient?

The first half of the workshop will lay out key Symposium results. Problems will be included, but the focus will be on solutions. In the second half of the workshop, participants will generate a tangible take-home product by examining the resilience issue in terms of their own interests, using facilitated strategic planning to organize concrete ideas about “Where do we go from here?” Learn more here.