Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

January 20, 2003

OAC launches first-ever lecture series on Agri-Food for the Quality of Life

What are “bioproducts?” What does ratification of the Kyoto Protocol mean for Canadian farmers? And what are the moral and social responsibilities of individual scientists and universities when it comes to the introduction of new technologies and derived products such as genetically modified foods?

These and other important questions about the future of Canadian agricultural research and food production will be explored in a public lecture series organized by the University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). The four-part series, titled “Agri-Food for the Quality of Life,” begins Jan. 29 and is the first of its kind for OAC, said dean Craig Pearson. It’s also one of the many initiatives the college is undertaking to meet goals set out in its strategic plan, released last June.

Pearson says the lecture series illustrates how OAC scientists and students work on issues of vital importance to contemporary society, from genetically modified organisms to greenhouse gas abatement and many other key issues in between. “It responds to comments in the strategic plan that OAC should do more to showcase our research, and how the research has immediate benefits through informing society and stimulating innovation.”

The four sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room1714 of the Lifetime Learning Centre at the Ontario Veterinary College. Each will feature a lead speaker and three discussants, with an open discussion period to follow. There is no admission charge, but seating is limited to 150 people.

The series kicks off Jan. 29 with a discussion of “The Role of the University in Resolving Social Conflict — Genetically Modified Organisms in the Food System, a Test Case.” This lecture will explore the role the university can and should play in effecting social change and its elationships with government, industry and the public.

On Feb. 12, the topic is “Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol: Boondoggle or Bonanza for Agriculture?” This lecture will look at reactions and adaptations to climate change. It will also focus on practical strategies for agriculture based on the current meteorological and political climates.

“New Agri-Food Products: Opportunities for Rural Ontario” is the topic of the March 5 lecture. Discussion will focus on new “bio-based” products and opportunities such as biofuels, functional foods and molecular farming, as well as the potential economic, environmental and social impact of these products on rural communities and family farms. This session will be conducted as a video conference with U of G’s three regional campuses: Collège d’Alfred, Kemptville College and Ridgetown College.

The final lecture March 19 will try to answer the question: “Is It Safe to Eat?” It will explore current issues in food safety such as microbial hazards, antibiotic use in agriculture, pesticides and irradiation.

All lectures will be moderated by 1977 OAC graduate David Imrie, a news reporter with CKCO television. Previously, Imrie produced and hosted daily farm reports on CKCO, CFCA-FM and CKKW-AM, in addition to a weekly half-hour farm show on television.

The “Agri-Food for the Quality of Life” series is sponsored by the A.D. Latornell Trust and alumni gifts to the 2001 OAC Dean’s Fund.

Janice DeMoor, Ontario Agricultural College
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 56728

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338.

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