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Americas: Purdue leaders join Commission against food challenges

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Three Purdue University leaders have joined The Challenge of Change Commission, which is comprised of 34 prominent university, government, non-governmental organizations, and business leaders.

The national commission aims to solve problems pertaining to food and nutrition security challenges in the US and abroad that pose significant humanitarian, environmental, and national security risks.

Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, distinguished professor or agronomy, and director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, served on the Challenge of Change’s executive committee.

Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture, and Vic Lechtenberg, special assistant to the president, served as Commission members.

Nearly one in 9 people were food insecure in 2014-16, including 42.2 million people in the US Food security problems – including hunger, obesity, malnutrition, low crop yields, inadequate food storage, poor sanitation, and the political instability they create are poised to intensify unless there is a deliberate effort to create true global food and nutrition security.

The search for sustainable solutions grows even more complicated in the face of a rapidly growing world population, limited natural resources, changing climates, and evolving diets that demand more high-value food products.

While many efforts are being undertaken to address the vast array of problems that comprise food and nutrition insecurity, a comprehensive, holistic approach that fully engages arguably the world’s greatest scientific and educational resource in food and nutrition security – public research universities – has been lacking until now.

The Commission, which the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities convened with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, began with the understanding that public research universities – with their broad academic, research, and community expertise and experience – were uniquely positioned to address the complex and diverse challenges of food and nutrition insecurity.