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Food for 9 Billion: Multimedia partnership addresses challenges of feeding the world

Vertical farms, such as the one pictured above, are one of the many subjects covered by Food for 9 Billion. (SOA Architects via The New York Times)

Currently, between 870 million and 1.3 billion people around the world do not get enough to eat. A nearly equal amount – 1.4 billion – are overweight, and suffer from myriad health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease as a result. Furthermore, the global population expected to grow to 9 billion by the year 2050, with growth concentrated in urban areas and emerging economies. In the face of rapid population growth, and changing the food system to fight hunger and obesity at the same time is of the utmost importance.  In anticipation of World Population Day on July 11th, Food Tank will feature research and innovations that are working to support the health and nutrition of a growing global population.

Launched in November 2011, Food For 9 Billion is a multimedia partnership dedicated to “exploring the challenge of keeping ourselves fed at a time of rapid social and environmental change.” This partnership has produced almost one hundred stories since its launch, including 24 radio stories and 12 video stories.

This endeavor is a partnership between the Center for Investigative Reporting, Homelands ProductionsAmerican Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS NewsHour, and PRI’s The World. The one and a half year project has covered a wide range of issues facing a world with a population of nine billion by 2050. It also has produced resources including a world food map that highlights food issues in each country of the world and a timeline of food and agriculture history.

Recent stories include The World’s “What’s for Lunch” series, an eight-part radio series that explores lunches from around the world. “What’s for Lunch” takes listeners around the globe from Singapore to Mexico to Uganda. PBS NewsHour also recently featured five videos that feature individual and community efforts to make the global food system “more sustainable, just, and productive.”

Food For 9 Billion investigates issues of food scarcity and sustainability, and some of the latest stories include:

- Efforts to bring back amaranth as a staple in Mexico (The World, June 20, 2013)

- A vertical farming system in Singapore that feeds five million people (The World, June 3, 2013)

- Controversy surrounding genetically modified cassava in Uganda (The World, June 13, 2013)

- The rise in Chinese demand for milk and dairy and the California dairy industry (June 13, 2013)

The in-depth partnership is now coming to a close, with a better understanding of not only the challenges facing a growing global population, but also opportunities for sustainable and equitable solutions. The Center for Investigative Reporting provides highlights from the series, including China’s dietary changes, supermarkets in Africa, and the ties between hunger and the Egyptian revolution.

Are you part of the food movement? Join Food Tank.

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Launched in August 2014, Food Tank Tours showcases innovative urban agriculture projects, sustainable food systems, and tasty, local food made by experienced chefs and cooks. Please join us for a walking tour of Downtown Chicago featuring three urban gardens and four generous tastings!

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