The future of food to be explored at University of Auckland symposium

Big food issues in today’s world, and how they can be addressed to create food systems that are sustainable, just and resilient, are at the heart of a special symposium titled “The Future of Food”, which will be held at the University of Auckland on 17 April.

Organisers Dr Manuel Vallee and Dr Maria Armoudian, both from the University’s School of Social Sciences, say things like soil depletion, freshwater shortages, reduced biodiversity, massive pollinator die-offs, terminator seeds and a host of other big business practices threaten the long-term availability of healthy food.

“We are eroding our food systems because we are focused on the short-term and not thinking long-term,” says Dr Vallee who is a medical and environmental sociologist.

In two panels, the symposium will first explore and diagnose the problems, such as climate change and short-term thinking that prioritises economic growth at the expense of long-term food security and preserving our life support systems.

“In a second panel we will explore alternative ways to organize our food systems and offer pragmatic solutions to produce just, resilient and sustainable food futures,” says Dr Vallee.

The symposium will feature special guest Dr Michael Carolan, a Professor of Sociology from Colorado State University, who has written extensively about food issues, including on the sociology of food systems and agriculture. Dr Michael Joy, a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science form Massey University will also take part.

University of Auckland participants include Professor Richard Le Heron, from the School of Environment who is a geographer and an expert in rural value chains and Anastasia Telesetsky, a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law and an expert in environmental law who has researched marine food security and sustainable fishing practices.

The symposium will be recorded by Radio New Zealand for broadcast at a future date.

DETAILS: April 17, 1 -5 pm University Great Hall, ClockTower.

For more information email or

Source: University of Auckland


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