A recently established center at Purdue is working on food security on a worldwide scale by tapping into the campus population.
The Center for Global Food Security is a department based in the Mann building in Discovery Park. It was established last year.
Gary Burniske, the new managing director at the Center for Global Food Security, explained the purpose of his department.
“We have an overarching objective to tap into the knowledge and the expertise within Purdue and utilize that to resolve pressing issues with food security internationally,” Burniske said.
These pressing issues include problems such as famines and conflicts about food during food shortages. Proper food security could prevent such issues.
The term “food security” covers areas such as agriculture, livestock, veterinary sciences, water management and nutrition. According to Burniske, that’s only the beginning.
“There’s probably 200 definitions of food security,” he said.
To cover as many of these “definitions” as possible, the Center is part of a bigger department called the global sustainability initiative.
“The Center for Global Food Security works with other centers such as the Climate Change Center and the Water Community,” said Rose Filley, the managing director of the Climate Change Center and the Water Community, both of which are included in the global sustainability initiative.
The Center is doing its best to fulfill its role in the Sustainability Initiative, drawing on faculty as well as students, according to Filley.
The Center also plans on using grant money to send graduate students to developing countries in places such as Africa and Latin America so they can conduct research on how locals there handle the issues of food security.
“(The students) can go for research stays of six months to two years. It lets them really understand what’s going on there,” Filley said.
There will also be a distinguished lecture series the Center will begin promoting soon.
“We want to bring in thought leaders from across the world to talk about their unique perspective on food security,” Filley said.
According to Burniske, one issue mankind faces is how to feed our growing population.
“When you look at world population growth, we just passed the seven billion mark. By 2050, there will be nine billion people globally. To feed that extra two billion, we have a finite amount of resources in terms of arable land available,” he said.
The Center for Global Food Security is doing its part for humanity, Burniske said.
“Basically, we want people to be aware of the needs of mankind to produce and maintain food for itself,” he said. “We want people to have sufficient food to enjoy life.”