“Food for Thought” lectures on ag, food biotechnology begin in January


CORVALLIS, Ore. – The “Food for Thought” community lecture series will begin its eighth season this month at Oregon State University, bringing internationally recognized experts to discuss new options for food and fuel production, and implications for the environment, public health, and their economic and social viability.

The series emphasizes the roles of biotechnologies, in both novel and traditional forms.

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

The series is part of OSU’s Outreach in Biotechnology program based in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and is designed to promote understanding of biotechnologies and related issues. The series and outreach program are supported by the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and the OSU College of Forestry.

The first presentation will be Thursday, Jan. 24, by Prabhu Pingali, deputy director of agricultural development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His lecture is titled “Green Revolution 2.0: making it work for hunger and poverty reduction in the developing world.” He will provide a retrospective on the first Green Revolution, including both its achievements and limitations in increasing global food supply and reducing poverty, and the urgent need for a second revolution to sustainably feed the world and enhance the prosperity of small farmers.

There are two other lectures in the series on Wednesday evenings:

  • Feb. 13: “Global economic and environmental impacts of agricultural biotechnology.” Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, an endowed professor of agribusiness and the director of the Center for Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology at the University of Missouri, will discuss the distribution of economic benefits and costs from the first wave of transgenic biotechnologies in agriculture, including for farmers, companies and consumers.
  • March 13: “Technology and food marketing in the age of animal welfare.” Joy Mench, a professor in the Department of Animal Science and the director of the Center for Animal Welfare at the University of California, Davis, will discuss what animal welfare means from both scientific and ethical perspectives, and how it is represented in the marketplace to enable consumers to make more informed purchasing and care decisions.

More information about the speakers and their presentations will be available online at http://oregonstate.edu/orb. Podcasts of 38 previous lectures are available online (downloadable from iTunes U and YouTube), as well as study guides prepared for teachers of undergraduate students and honors students, grades 10-12.