Food system “megatrends”

Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation is one of seven existing centers in the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network. The Development Impact Lab, hosted by our Blum Center for Developing Economies at Berkeley is one of the others. Under its support from USAID, GCFSI is sponsoring a Student Innovation Challenges competition with $5,000 grants to university courses (anywhere) that pursue solutions to big food systems problems in East Africa – problems that are replicated in plenty of other places, too. The money is to be used for student projects.

What is remarkable (to Nap and me) is that this opportunity came to us a week after we decided to focus Designing Innovative Public Health Solutions on food in Spring 2014.

Guiding this challenge are two “megatrends” that GCFSI defines:

  • Population Growth, Climate Change and Pressure on the Land: “With population growth many farm households face diminishing land holding sizes with little room to expand farms and help meet the growing demand for locally grown food.”
  • Rapid Urbanization and Transformation of Food Systems: “Rapid urbanization and growing per capita incomes in the developing world are transforming consumption patterns and creating major opportunities and daunting challenges for local farmers, traders, processors, consumers, and public officials.”

The second one is much more relevant to the work we plan to do in Spring 2014. More on these megatrends in the  request for applications.

Applications were due today. Notification to awardees by 15-Sep.

JaspalFood system “megatrends”