The Atlantic Food Summit, sponsored in part by the Council for Biotechnology Information, brought together experts on Tuesday, April 26th, for a panel discussion on the meaning of sustainable agriculture and ways to reconcile different perspectives on agricultural production to feed the world sustainably. Watch the video of the sustainable agriculture panel here (54:00 minute mark).
Nina Fedoroff, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific society, pointed out the importance of using all agricultural methods available to feed the world sustainably - including organic, conventional and biotech. She explained that genetically modified crops allow farmers to decrease pesticide applications, soil tilling, water run-off and waste.
Dr. Fedoroff said two policy reforms that would promote sustainable agriculture include: 1) putting agency authority for biotech product deregulations in a central location, rather than requiring interaction with three separate agencies, to help streamline the biotech product approval process, and 2) reducing costly regulatory barriers. She emphasized that technology is essential for providing enough food to feed the world. “My view is: let’s use the most modern day methods and modern science to increase productivity.”
Molly Jahn, Professor at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also supported an inclusive agricultural policy. “Every technology that maximizes input and minimizes the environmental burden is critical.” Dr. Jahn and Sarah Alexander from the Keystone Center explained some of the efforts they are spearheading to bring diverse stakeholders to the same table to tackle these challenges, such as the Keystone Center’s Field to Market initiative.
The full panel included:
- Sarah Alexander, Director of the Environment Practice, The Keystone Center
- Nina Fedoroff, President, American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Gary Hirshberg, Chief Executive Officer, Stonyfield Farm
- Molly Jahn, Professor at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Corby Kummer, Senior Editor at The Atlantic (moderator)
Click here to watch the sustainable agriculture panel discussion and the rest of the food summit.