Oregon State University

Food for Thought

OrB’s Food for Thought Lecture Series brings internationally recognized experts to OSU to talk about the best ways to use biotechnology for food and fuel.

Complete list of Food for Thought lectures from 2005 to 2012.

Environmental and biotechnological issues are often complex and difficult for people to come together around; this series brings the public inside the scientific community to promote dialog and find common ground.

Lectures are free and open to all. Each talk is followed by audience discussion and a chance to mix and mingle with the speaker. Refreshments are provided.

Press release for the 2012/2013 Food for Thought lecture series.



RSSiTunes U makes it simple to download and listen to any Food for Thought lecture — on any Mac, PC, iPod, or iPhone — anytime, anywhere!


YouTubeSimilarly, YouTube EDU lets you watch Food for Thought on your Mac, PC, iPod, or iPhone.

MediaSpaceOSU's MediaSpace allows you to watch lectures fullscreen.


Study guides

For teachers of undergraduate students and honors students grades 10-12, we've created study guides to accompany the online lectures. Each five-question guide highlights specific video segments and fosters comprehension of key lecture concepts.



Animal Welfare March 2013 posterUC Davis professor Joy Mech explores animal welfare from scientific, ethical, and marketplace perspectives.

Technology and food marketing in the age of animal welfare






Winners and Losers Feb 2013 posterAgricultural economist Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes discusses the relative costs and benefits of agricultural biotechnologies to seed corporations, farmers, and consumers.

Global Economic Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops: Who are the Winners and Losers?





Green Revolution 2.0 Jan 2013 posterDeputy Director of Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Prabhu Pingali explores the need for a second technological revolution in agriculture.

Green Revolution 2.0: Making it work for hunger and poverty reduction in the developing world




FFT Looking Back April 2012 posterUniversity of Arizona professor Yves Carrière, presented the findings of a recent National Academy of Sciences report on the sustainability impacts of genetically engineered crops in the United States.

Looking Back: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops iTunes U YouTube streaming video



FFT God Species Feb 2012 posterAuthor Mark Lynas discusses the nine planetary boundaries, including climate change, that humans are threatening to violate, the potential catastrophic impacts of transgression, and what can be done to mitigate or avoid them.

The God Species: How the planet can survive the age of humans iTunes UYouTube streaming video



FFT January 2012 posterPeggy G. Lemaux, a Cooperative Extension Specialist and faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley, highlights how new agricultural methods and improved crop species are needed to provide adequate food in an environmentally friendly manner without increasing cultivated land.

Feast, Famine and the Future of Food iTunes UYouTube streaming video



FFT November 2011 posterAlison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist in animal biotechnology and genomics at the University of California, Davis, reviews the benefits, safety and social acceptance of fast-growing, genetically engineered salmon.

Ethics of Animal Biotechnology iTunes UYouTube streaming video



Wes Jackson posterWes Jackson, the founder and president of The Land Institute, explains how for the first time in 10,000 years of grain production the processes of wild ecosystems could be brought to the farm using perennial crops.

Natural Systems Agriculture iTunes UYouTube streaming video




Environmental icon Stewart Brand encouraged us all to be more daring as we strive for sustainability.

Rethinking GreeniTunes UYouTube streaming video



Environmental researcher Jennifer Burney explained how two of the largest problems facing society — hunger and climate change — are intertwined.

Food's Footprint: Agriculture & Climate ChangeiTunes UYouTube streaming video .


Biological engineer Marty Matlock took a look at developing criteria to measure and certify sustainable agricultural practices.

Setting Standards: Measuring Sustainability in AgricultureiTunes UYouTube streaming video


Attorney and applied plant sciences researcher Esther McGinnis enlightened the battle over biotech sugar beets in Oregon.

At War over Biotech Crops in OregoniTunes UYouTube streaming video 


Professor of pediatrics Mark Manary talked about using biotech to help prevent malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.

Biofortifying Crops: Food Security for the Poorest AfricansiTunes UYouTube streaming video 


Historian Jimmy McWilliams made some surprising suggestions about good ways to intensify agricultural production while respecting the environment (and asked us all to eat less meat).

(Not) Business as Usual

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Political scientist Robert Paarlberg questioned the logic (and the morality) behind the ban on biotechnology in Africa.

Organic Foods vs Frankenfoods

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Jason Clay, Senior VP at World Wildlife Fund, discussed how to grow more food without turning more land over to agricultural production.

Freezing the Footprint of Agriculture

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Journalist Daniel Koeppel took listeners to banana plantations across the globe that are being destroyed by a fast-moving blight, and to the biotech labs where a race is on to save them.

The Banana Dead-End

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Playing God posterA specialist in agrarian reform, Ron Herring explains why so many smart people get it wrong when it comes to Bt cotton.

Playing God?

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Beyond Environmentalism posterEnvironmental hero Michael Shellenberger explores the need to shift political focus issues and interests to core needs and values.

Beyond Environmentalism

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Savage posterSteve Savage, agribusiness consultant, proposes a surprising combination of traditional and biotechnological options for progressive agriculture.

Agriculture 2.0

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Wu posterFelicia Wu, food safety expert, reviews the worldwide environmental record of genetically engineered, insect resistant corn.

The Surprising Role of GMO Corn

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Tomorrow's Table posterScientist Pamela Ronald and organic farmer Raoul Adamchak talk about improving agricultural productivity while decreasing chemical inputs.

Tomorrow's Table

iTunes UYouTube streaming video


Shapin posterHistorian Steven Shapin talks about those modern do-gooders, locavores

Eating Good in the Neighborhood

iTunes UYouTube streaming video


Kevles posterHistorian Daniel J Kevles talks about early — and lovely — attempts to denote plant cultivars as intellectual property

The Apples of Our Eyes

iTunes UYouTube streaming video


Tilman poster thumbG David Tilman, the world's most highly cited environmental scientist, talks about stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions while meeting our food and energy needs.

Getting Biofuels Right

iTunes UYouTube streaming video


Pilcher poster thumbHistorian Jeffery Pilcher sympathizes with the chagrin of Mexicans who find Tex-Mex wherever they travel.

Planet Taco

iTunes UYouTube streaming video


Marchant posterAs a geneticist and lawyer, Gary Marchant explains ways that law could more effectively address ethical and social concerns about biotechnology.

The Role and Rule of Law

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Ankeny posterRachel Ankeny, professor of gastronomy, talks about big-picture bioethics.

Molecular Gastronomy

iTunes UYouTube streaming video


Beachy posterScientist Roger Beachy explains why access to genetically improved seed is critical to feeding the hungry in the third world.

Fulfilling the Promise

iTunes U YouTube streaming video


Hallman posterHuman ecologist William Hallman explains how people make up their minds, and how their choices impact individuals, communities, and the environment.

People Know Not What They Eat

YouTube streaming video




Silver posterMolecular biologist Lee Silver explores the widespread public concern that biotechnology somehow affronts nature.

Challenging Nature

YouTube streaming video




Kinney posterAnthony Kinney, agbiotech specialist, talks about engineering plants to produce oils that are better for us.

Enhancing Plants for Human Health






Charles posterIndependent writer and radio producer Dan Charles talks about what makes agriculture green.

Searching for Green Agriculture






Arntzen posterCharles Arntzen

Plant-Made Vaccines





Barton posterJohn Barton

Owning Genes and Organisms





Newell posterMartina Newell-McLaughlin

International Political Battles over Biotech Crops




Swords posterKathy Swords

All Natural GMOs





LaReesa Wolfenbarger

Environmental Impacts of GMOs





Federoff posterNina Federof

GMO Myths and Realities





Potrykus posterIngo Potrykus

Golden Rice

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