Changes in Food Security Focus of Forum

February 10, 2014 - News Release

Changes and challenges in food security will be the focus of a food security forum this month at the University of Guelph.

Sponsored by the U of G’s Food Institute, the National Food Security Forum will bring together Canadian academics, industry professionals and other speakers Feb. 19-20 at the Guelph Delta Conference Centre. The event follows a similar forum at the University of Saskatchewan in May 2013.

The Guelph event will explore food processing, retailing and distributing, and consumer trends in the food industry, said U of G professor Sylvain Charlebois, who is co-chairing the event with U of S Prof. Mary Buhr.

“Exploring the challenge of global food security will help our community to consider the nature of our national food systems and our role in the development of global food systems,” he said.

“Canada’s agricultural and food landscape varies from one region to another. These events have been designed to be complementary, capitalizing on two different agri-food knowledge hubs.”

The Guelph forum will focus on food security and waste; competitiveness in food manufacturing; global opportunities for the Canadian food industry; research, development and innovation for food security; health, diet and food security; and food system challenges and changes.

Charlebois said there is a clear need to integrate western and eastern Canadian agricultural knowledge.

“The east-west divide prevents Canadian researchers and policy-makers alike from fully utilizing the knowledge base produced across the country. By connecting east and west, participants will experience an innovative way to transfer knowledge and share different perspectives, while allowing participants to appreciate how Canada can lead efforts to mitigate food insecurity in the global economy.”

Charlebois said changes in global food security led him and U of Saskatchewan colleagues to create the two-part food forum.

“This forum can provide information on how to deal with everything from natural constraints to satisfying global food needs, to climatic factors such as flooding and natural disasters, to socio-political changes, to even how war, corruption and ethnic unrest impacts on food security,” he said.

“What we need to develop are mechanisms to cope with unpredictability which may influence any region's ability to become food-secure. It’s the new normal in global food security.”

The forum is open to anyone interested in food security, food processing, retailing and distributing, and consumer trends in food. To register and for more details, visit

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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