U of S food security conference explores agriculture, nutrition and health

Saskatoon – Experts from research, industry, and international aid organizations are gathering to explore solutions to the challenge of providing enough nutritious food to a growing world population at the Linking Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health Conference from February 7 to 8 in Saskatoon.

In many parts of the world, farmers struggle to produce not only enough food, but food that provides the nutrition to keep people healthy. For example, some crops provide calories but few vitamins, and some nutrient-rich crops are neither practical nor profitable to grow.

“The challenge is to produce food of sufficient quantity – that is, enough calories – and quality – that is, vitamins and minerals needed by the human body – to feed households and communities so that they can lead healthy, productive lives,” said Carol Henry, associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at the U of S College of Pharmacy and Nutrition.

The conference brings together funders, researchers, industry leaders, graduate and undergraduate students, policy makers and dignitaries to discuss nutrition as an important component of agriculture and food security.

Researchers will also share initial outcomes from Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) projects and provide a forum to explore linkages among nutrition, agriculture and food security research and development efforts.

Speakers are tackling a variety of issues and offering ideas for innovative solutions to production, processing, and delivery of food to households and communities. Three keynote speakers explore various aspects of global food security.

CIFSRF projects that have provided impetus for this conference build on more than a decade of research and collaboration in Ethiopia. The country is one of the oldest agrarian cultures in sub-Saharan Africa, and agriculture provides the backbone for the economy.

Projects focus on on improving food security in southern Ethiopia through increased research and extension capacity, improved sustainable agricultural practices, training of Ethiopian agricultural specialists and developing graduate programs in agricultural sciences and in human nutrition.

Typical projects aim to enhance production potential of soils in the highlands by enhancing nitrogen inputs, and assessing how small-scale subsistence farms might benefit from growing pulse crops. By following the links from soil quality through food production to human health, the goal is to create knowledge to help improve human nutrition.

Conference sponsors include the U of S and Ethiopian institutions, the Canadian International Development Agency, the International Development Research Centre and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

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For more information, contact:

Heather Dawson
College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
(306) 966-2502
heather.dawson@usask.ca