OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

“Food for Thought” series begins seventh season

09/27/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The “Food for Thought” community lecture series will begin its seventh season this October at Oregon State University, bringing internationally recognized experts to discuss new options for producing sustainable food and fuel.

The series emphasizes roles that biotechnology, in both novel and traditional forms, can play in agriculture in terms of public health, ecological stability and economic viability.

All lectures are free and open to the public, and will be at LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus on Wednesday or Thursday evenings, beginning at 7 p.m. Talks are followed by audience discussion and a chance to meet speakers.

The Food for Thought series is a product of OSU’s Outreach in Biotechnology program based in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

The first presentation will be Oct. 6, by Wes Jackson, the founder and president of The Land Institute, online at www.landinstitute.org. This research, education, and policy non-profit organization is based in Kansas and dedicated to sustainable agriculture. It is developing an intensive, energy-efficient agricultural system based on perennial crops that would reduce agricultural inputs – water, fertilizers and pesticides – and enhance soil fertility and biodiversity.

Jackson’s lecture, “Natural Systems Agriculture: Bringing Wild Ecosystem Processes to the Farm,” will explain 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.

Other lectures include:

Nov. 9: “Ethics of Animal Biotechnology: Should Genetically Engineered Salmon be Allowed?” Alison Van Eenennaam, cooperative Extension specialist in animal biotechnology and genomics at the University of California, Davis, will review the benefits, safety and social acceptance of fast-growing, genetically engineered salmon.

Jan. 25: “Feast & Famine: The Future of Food.” Peggy Lemaux, cooperative Extension specialist in plant and microbial biology at the University of California, Berkley, will describe the use of genetic engineering to enhance crops for direct public benefits, including efforts to grow hypoallergenic wheat and produce anti-diarrheal drugs in rice.

Feb. 29: “The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans.” Mark Lynas, British author, environmental activist, and National Geographic emerging explorer will discuss the need for technologically aggressive mitigation strategies to reduce the predicted catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Apr. 11: “Looking Back: Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops.” Yves Carrière, professor of entomology at the University of Arizona, will summarize the findings of a recent U.S. National Research Council committee on which he served that examined the record of GMO crops with respect to ecological stability.

More information about the speakers and their presentations can be found on the Outreach in Biotechnology website at http://oregonstate.edu/orb. Also available are lecture study guides prepared for teachers of undergraduate students and high school honors students, as well as podcasts of 27 previous lectures, which can be downloaded from iTunes U and YouTube.

Outreach in Biotechnology and the Food For Thought lecture series are supported by the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, the Sun Grant Initiative Western Regional Center, and the OSU College of Forestry.