The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition‘s (BCFN) Sixth International Forum on Food and Nutrition takes place in Milan from December 3–4. The Forum will highlight the major global themes and challenges included in the Milan Protocol, which was launched at the 2013 BCFN International Forum.
The Protocol has a triple objective: to promote healthy lifestyles and fight obesity, to promote sustainable agriculture, and to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2050. If you support these objectives then please join our sign-on letter with TakePart by clicking HERE.
This year’s Forum will address creating a sustainable future for both people and the planet. International experts, civil society, eaters, and policy makers will join the debate on food, nutrition, and sustainability.
The first day of the Forum, December 3, will be dedicated to the presentation of ten BCFN YES! finalists and their proposals. Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank, will be giving the keynote presentation before the finalists present their work. The BCFN Young Earth Solutions! (YES!) program was established in 2012 to encourage young people—specifically, university students under the age of 35—to develop innovative solutions to problems within the global food system. Proposals were submitted on one of the three Milan Protocol themes.
This year’s finalists hail from nine different countries around the world, including India, Ukraine, Spain, and Turkey, and cover topics ranging from the eating habits of college students to fighting obesity.
But there’s no question that agriculture is at a turning point. Nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry each night while another approximately 1.5 billion people are overweight or obese; an astounding 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted each year; some 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies; non-communicable diseases—many related to diet, including heart disease and diabetes—afflict millions of people worldwide; and climate change is expected to have the worst impacts—including drought, increased temperatures, and flooding—in the world’s poorest nations who are least able to handle these problems.
At the same time, farmers are also aging all over the world—globally, the average age of farmers is around 55 years; in Europe, just one-third of farmers are under 35; in South Africa, the average farmer is 62 years; and in the United States, the average age of farmers is 58.3 years old. Youth continue to migrate to cities in massive numbers, leaving agriculture and their communities behind.
The fact is, that in rich and poor countries alike, youth confront barriers to jobs and careers in agriculture. According to the U.N. International Labor Organization, there are at least 4.5 million unemployed youth.
Unfortunately, youth don’t see agriculture as a viable job or career, but something that lacks prestige and—more importantly—a reliable source of income. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, many farmers earn less than US$2 per day. And in the United States, farming households depend on off-farm income for between 85 and 95 percent of household income, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But there are solutions—and they’re happening all over the world. In fields and classrooms, in kitchens and boardrooms, and in businesses where youth are seeing tremendous opportunity in the food system, allowing them to see agriculture as something they want to do, rather than something they feel forced to do.
On December 4, the Forum will shift to a wide-ranging debate on the food-related themes and challenges that characterized 2014, with a focus on management of natural resources, supply chain sustainability, food waste, and the value of food from a future perspective.
Speakers include Food Tank Board Member Nabeeha Kazi, CEO and President of Humanitas Global and Chair of the Community for Zero Hunger; and food waste expert and Food Tank Advisory Group Member Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It).
Other presentations and speakers include:
- “A Global Outlook on Food and Nutrition,” Alex Thomson, Anchor and Chief Correspondent, Channel 4 News (UK)
- “Zero Hunger and Healthy Lifestyles,” Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme (USA)
- “Eliminate Hunger and Malnutrition,” John Coonrod, Executive Vice President, The Hunger Project (USA); Nabeeha Mujeeb Kazi, CEO and President, Humanitas Global (USA); Edoardo Boncinelli, Professor of Biology and Genetics, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Italy); and Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International (Italy)
- “Halt the Rise in Obesity,” including a talk on sustainable diets by Timothy Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University London (UK); introduction by Elena Cadel, Milan Protocol Researcher; round table featuring Adam Drewnowski, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Washington (USA); Richard Black, Global VP Nutrition, Pepsico (USA); Franco Sassi, OECD, Health Division, Directorate for Employment, Labor and Social Affairs (France); and Lynn Marmer, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, The Kroger Company (USA)
- “Creating Sustainable Agriculture,” introduction by Zachary Dashner, Milan Protocol Researcher; speakers David Baldock, Executive Director, Institute for the European Environmental Policy (IEEP) (UK); Philip Lymbery, CEO, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) (UK); Marie Haga, Executive Director, Global Crop Diversity Trust (Norway); Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Center (Sweden); and Catherine Bertini, Professor of Public Administration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and International Affairs at Syracuse University (USA)
- “How to End Food Waste,” introduction by Ludovica Principato, Milan Protocol Team Coordinator; speakers Jonathan Bloom, journalist and activist (USA); Richard Swannell, Director of Design and Prevention, Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP) (UK); and Mark Little, Head of Food Waste Reduction, Tesco (UK)
- “BCFN Young Earth Solutions: Winning Ceremony,” introduction by Cassandra Ly and Katarzyna Dembska, BCFN Alumni
- “Milan: World Food Capital,” Giuliano Pisapia, Mayor, City of Milan (Italy) and Livia Pomodoro, President, Court of Milan (Italy)
- “A Global Food Deal Towards Expo 2015: The Milan Protocol,” closing remarks from Guido Barilla, Chairman, BCFN Foundation (Italy) and moderator Alex Thomson, Anchor and Chief Correspondent, Channel 4 News (UK)
While participation on December 3 is by invitation only, access to the Forum on December 4 is open to the public and free with advance registration. Both days of the event will be streamed on the BCFN website and the BCFN Facebook page. You can watch the live stream free of charge without registering.