Agriculture as a Gateway to Poverty Alleviation

Agriculture as a Gateway to Poverty Alleviation
From foodtank.com, by Emma Tozer

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs seeks to provide insight and impact discourse on important global issues. The Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative aims to promote policy innovations and accountability, as well as food security as a strategy for poverty alleviation. In addition, the Council facilitates discussion on global food security issues by hosting an annual symposium.

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Louise Iverson, research associate, at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?

Louise Iverson (LI): The Chicago Council on Global Affairs provides a forum for world leaders, policymakers, and other experts to speak to its members and the public on global issues. The Chicago Council’s global agriculture and food security project aims to inform and build support in the U.S. Administration, Congress, policy and business circles for a long-term U.S. commitment to agriculture as a tool for poverty alleviation, food security, and economic growth. The Council aims to build long-term support for U.S. investments in global food systems in low-income countries and spurs dialogue on U.S. global agricultural development and food security policy.

FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?

LI: Each year, the Council produces a study on a prominent issue related to global agricultural development for release at its annual Global Food Security Symposium. The Symposium has become a landmark event for the discussion of global food security issues. The event has featured major keynote addresses from Heads of State such as President Barack Obama and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and global philanthropists such as Bono and Bill Gates. It serves as a platform for key international and U.S. announcements, including the release of the 2014 U.S. Global Nutrition Strategy, the roll out of the 2012 G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition, and the release of the 2010 U.S. Feed the Future Guide.

FT: What are your goals for this year and beyond?

LI: The Chicago Council’s global food security project aims to continue providing thought leadership on how the U.S. can promote more productive, sustainable, and nutritious food systems in low‐income countries in a way that improves the livelihoods of food producers. It also aims to continue leading and facilitating dialogue on some of the most pressing issues facing agriculture and food systems in low-income countries, such as urbanization and food security; the role of science in meeting future food demand; and how the strengths and ingenuity of the agriculture and food sector can reduce the reality and risks of malnutrition globally.

FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?

LI: Consumers and eaters can support a more sustainable food system by recognizing the links between agriculture and development, environment, health, and equity challenges, and by reducing food waste, which will be vital to offsetting the production needed to meet increasing global demand for food.

FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?

LI: Individuals can get more involved in The Chicago Council on Global Affairs by attending the Council’s public programs and joining as a member; subscribing to the free, weekly Global Food for Thought email news brief; by following the Global Food for Thought blog; and joining the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Download the 2015 Good Food Org Guide HERE.

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