The Yale Food Systems Symposium

The Yale Food Systems Symposium

One of the great things about being a student at F&ES is that you have the opportunity to step into different worlds, hear new perspectives, and collaborate with your peers and outside experts almost every day of the week. On Friday September 30th, F&ES hosted the Yale Food Systems Symposium (YFSS) in Kroon Hall. The day-long event was planned by a small group of Yale F&ES, School of Management, and Divinity School students, and included speakers, panelists, and workshop facilitators from across the country. Topics included sustainable food systems and innovations in the fields of agriculture, conservation, climate change, food consumption, and urbanization. The theme for this year’s Symposium? Feeding a growing world.

Wes Jackson of the Land Institute

Wes Jackson of the Land Institute

About 200 attendees, including students, researchers, and practitioners, spent the day sharing ideas, experiences, and incredible food. The day began with keynote speaker Ann Tutwiler of Bioversity International, who spoke about agricultural biodiversity as a sustainable solution to food security issues, ensuring both the future of our planet and a growing global population.

I volunteered to work at the registration table at YFSS for a few hours, and had the chance to step into a couple of sessions, including Sharing Food as Ritual: Building Community in Faith-Based Spaces. Sharing Food as Ritual was a fascinating workshop that focused on expanding the role of the church into building communities around food production, strengthening connections within the community through service and hospitality. Other sessions included Strengthening Local Food Systems from Within: The Role of Community Gardens, Livestock and Greenhouse Gases: Technology, Policy and Law, and a screening of the film Soil, Struggle, and Justice: Agroecology in the Brazilian Landless Movement.

The day ended with speaker Wes Jackson of The Land Institute. Jackson spoke about the Institute’s research into perennial grains and the potential of integrated agricultural systems to curb soil erosion, fossil fuel consumption, and chemical contamination of land and water systems. Afterwards, attendees enjoyed dinner in Kroon Hall and mulled over the ideas and projects discussed during the day—as with any F&ES event, you leave with some questions answered, new connections made, and a few more questions posed. All food for thought.