On Friday Oct. 3, 2014, more than 80 people crowded into the Rhodes Conference Room to attend a panel discussion on food security and climate change that was sponsored by Duke University and RTI International. The panel was moderated by Paul Weisenfeld, the Vice President of Global Programs at RTI, and the panelists included: Mary Eubanks, a Professor of Biology and corn scientist at Duke, Shana Starobin, a MPP alum and Ph.D student in Environmental Policy, Marc Jeuland, a Professor of Public Policy, Global Health, Environment and Engineering at Duke and Barbara Kowalcyk, a Senior Food Safety Risk Analyst in RTI’s Center for Health and Environmental Modeling.
For an hour and a half, the panelists discussed issues ranging from food supply to food distribution and food safety. The panel discussed the increase in population in regards to food security and agreed that policy makers and food producers cannot continue to think that food production must be increased at the same rate as the population. Instead, they need to consider how food is being produced now, how it can be produced more efficiently and how the population can be educated in food safety, sanitation and limit waste.
Kowalcyk noted that policy making in the food world is not as easy as telling farmers how to grow their crops or telling consumers which foods to purchase or how to properly prepare them, “We are trying to change a culture,” she said. “We have to change our attitude to the culture of food on many different levels and it is going to take a multi-faceted approach.”