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Food E-nnovations and Sustainable Technologies (FEAST)

World free of hidden hunger: healthy, happy people and planet!

Photo of Kiruba Krishnaswamy
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

The Curators of the University of Missouri

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

1. Brady & Anne Deaton Institute for International Development at University of Missouri 2. Missouri Public Schools 3. Missouri Food Bank 4. State Historical Society of Missouri 5. Food industries (IFT - Institute of Food Technologist) 6. World Food Prize (Global Youth Institute) 7. MU Extension 8. Initiating a Mid-West Food System Consortium

Website of Legally Registered Entity

https://missouri.edu/

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Columbia, Missouri

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Columbia, Missouri (163.4 km^2) Kansas City (826.28 km^2) St. Louis (170 km^2) Des Moines, Iowa (213.93 km^2) Rural areas of Mid-west

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I selected Mid West Missouri, as I envision it to be a great place to start a movement - towards a healthy food system that could expand globally.

Missouri has a long history, Indigenous Natives inhabited Missouri thousands of years before the European settlement. Its is called the Gateway to the West and has witnessed key historic events. Missouri is bordered by eight states, Missouri River flows across the state and joins with the Mississippi River. 

I am relatively new to Missouri, moving from Toronto to Mid-West Missouri in 2018, little did I know that there was an interesting adventure awaiting ahead. University of Missouri highly supports multidisciplinary collaboration and I have a joint appointment is in two colleges: College of Engineering (COE) and College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). 

My interest towards Missouri grew after interacting with wonderful, warm welcoming people, and its natural resources available for feeding the planet. On the other hand, there is relatively less awareness in Mid-West about UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among university, school teachers, children, and general public, compared to Toronto.   

Mid-West would be a challenging place to test the proposed sustainable food system vision model. Being optimistic, I challenge myself and peers, that we will be able to demonstrate and generate knowledge to implement this innovative food system concept that could be effectively transferred to other parts of US, and different regions of the world. 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The racial composition of the state in 2011 was 84.0% White American (81.0% non-Hispanic white, 3.0% White Hispanic); 11.7% Black or African American; 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native; 1.7% Asian American; 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander; 1.9% Multiracial American; 0.1% Some other race. In 2011, 3.7% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin. 

Missouri is known for some great food, toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, St. Louis-style pizza, Kansas City barbecue, pork steaks, Missouri is also known for its wine.

Weather is Missouri is unpredictable (Show-Me State). It has cold, winters and hot, humid wet summers. Affected by tornado, floods (recent Missouri Floods, 2019 - picture attached) affects both life and agriculture sector. 

Social dynamics of this place is separated between the wealthy white population and white population living in food deserts, black populating living in poverty. 

Majority of its population living in cities St. Louis, Kansas City, and the rest spread across smaller cities and rural areas. 

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries contributed $9.4 billion to Missouri's economy. Soybean, cattle, corn, hogs, chicken, hay, turkeys, cotton, milk, eggs, wheat, rice, alfalfa, potatoes, watermelons, sorghum, peaches, grapes, oats, wool are Missouri's top agricultural commodities. 

People of Missouri hope to lead a happy stress free life, to improve Missouri based Agro-forestry products value added processing sector.   

Missouri is one of the tops states in the US affected by poverty and hunger, obesity and overweight are big challenges faced by Missourians, esp. women and children in lower income groups. 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

5000

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

6000000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Current 2020: Chronic hunger affects 821 million people. Hidden Hunger affects 2 BILLION people, and no one talks about this serious silent killer. Every country on this planet is affected by hidden hunger challenges. Hidden hunger is due to micronutrients deficiencies in food, lack of vitamins and minerals leading to malnutrition. Malnutrition involves both under nutrition (stunting , underweight) and over nutrition (obesity , overweight). One hand we have 1.3 billion tones of food being lost/ wasted on the other hand hunger/ malnutrition. Creating an awareness that the food system is interconnected (Sustainable Development Goal 2 & 17) and touches our lives every day among young minds is critical. 

Future 2050: it is estimated we have a 9.3 billion people on this planet. Our earth is finite, and optimizing the natural resources to meet the needs of the future is a big challenge. I envision a future 2050 to be prosperous and with abundance of healthy food and happy people, it is possible to meet the future needs by using the natural resources efficiently for sustainable development. In order to achieve this reality, education among young mind is a key factor. Children from kindergarten age to adulthood, should be educated about the complexity of food system and how food, health, environment, technology, policy are all interconnected: creating the next generation of change makers.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

FEAST - Future (2050) envisions to create a platform for children, school teachers, university students, university faculty members, experts in different sectors of the food system, local governments, NGO’s, Industries, start up companies and the public. FEAST aligns with the momentum created by UN SDG's and FAO’s World Food Day. Three day of events dedicated to food systems - current (2020) & future (2050). Activities during the three days WILL NOT be traditional conference style. We envision everyone to contribute from school children to university students to scientist to journalists to public. Comprising of art competitions, painting, music, dance, drama, mimes, poetry, along with scientific findings and food system dialogues, cultural food fest - to revive back ancient foods. This is to create a FEAST movement and momentum about healthy food system for people and planet!

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

At present the whole food system is fragmented due to lack of communication. Most of Missouri being rural and with increasing number of small scale farmers - it is required to find innovative ways of sharing the interconnected nature of food system story among young minds. The average age of a farmer is 50-60: a common scenario around the world. In order to attract young people into agriculture in rural areas, we need a new strategy of thinking. Changing the mindset that agriculture, that is not only what happens in the field but much larger and is connected with food, health, technology, policy, economic development, and culture- touches our lives everyday- needs to be instilled in the minds of our children from an young age. If we could successfully create this positive mind set, the future of food system will be young and bright. Considering our food systems- our earth as ONE HOME, we collectively have the potentials to feed 9 billion people.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

For a sustainable future it requires a whole systems approach. The first thing is creating awareness among young people that the food system is a complex subset of systems. Food, Environment, economics, culture, technology, and policy all are interconnected. To create awareness, that this is a grand global challenge and cannot be addressed in a silo. All Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are connected with other SDG goals and point them towards, SDG 17 : partnership of the goals. To connect the dots! This awareness must be created since a very young age, so the concept of interconnected holistic food system becomes second nature to our children, adolescents and young adults: towards a creative sustainable food system. If we could install the seeds of interconnected concepts of food systems to teachers (Kindergarten, Primary, Middle and High schools) it will be easy to reach children. Mothers are the nutritional gatekeepers at home, creating a program targeting mothers, young women and making them stewards of healthy food and food systems, the message will reach the whole family. When children are exposed to the concepts of healthy sustainable food system from home and school from a very young age, they will be more likely to consider professions in food systems when they become adults. To implement and bring people from different walks of life, we need a common platform- UNIVERSITIES can be center of focus, to bring people together. For the Rockefeller Food System Vision, University of Missouri, Columbia would be a perfect to test the proposed vision. Mizzou is located closely to rural communities and at equidistant with urban St. Louis and Kansas City. It is also close to Des Moines, Iowa and every year students participate at the Global Youth Institute during the World Food Prize. Another key factor for selecting University of Missouri, Columbia is that it is a AAU member (American Association of Universities) with R1 research capacity and it is a Land Grant Institution. A rare combination to have both these unique strengths together. MU Extension shares university research and science-based knowledge, with people to understand change, solve problems, make informed decisions to improve the health and well-being. MU has extension specialist in all 114 counties in the state of Missouri reaching the rural communities, urban poor and food desert regions. University of Missouri is well connected with Missouri School Systems, Food Bank, small scale farmers, start-up companies, Agri based technology Industries so it will be feasible to implement this vision at the state of Missouri. In order to address Grand Global Food System Challenges we need diversity: Cultural, Ethnic/Racial, Age, Gender, Differently abled. FEAST envisions to create a platform for children, school teachers, university students, university faculty members, experts in different sectors of the food system, local governments, NGO’s, Industries, start up companies and the public. FEAST aligns with the momentum created by UN SDG's and FAO’s World Food Day. Three day of events dedicated to food systems - current (2020) & future (2050). Activities during the three days WILL NOT be traditional conference style. We envision everyone to contribute from school children to university students to scientist to journalists to public. Comprising of art competitions, painting, music, dance, drama, mimes, poetry, along with scientific findings and food system dialogues, cultural food fest - to revive back ancient foods and introduce to young generation. Every year during October organizing FEAST - Future 2050 aligning with the FAO World Food Day will be a good start to create an optimistic future for food system.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Conference/event
  • World Food Prize

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Photo of Kiruba Krishnaswamy
Team

Village Development Center (VDC) : Please check out our website for more information,
http://feastlab.org/global-goals-sdgs/

Photo of Village Development  Center (VDC)
Team

Thanks

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