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Can we make food security failsafe in the age of climate change?

Why the global food system – from agriculture to supermarket shelf – is no longer sustainable
As the world's population steadily rises and we combat the omnipresent threat of climate change, global food security is on borrowed time. But how can we achieve a sustainable diet?

Event details
Date and time:
Wednesday 3 July, 6 – 7.30pm
Venue: Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium
The University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington Campus)
Entry: free and open to all with online registrations essential.

While global food production is at a record level, elimination of hunger and malnutrition is beyond our reach. The United Nations predicts that the great divide between well-fed and hungry people is expected to widen as the world's population soars to 9.7 billion by 2050, and with over 821 million people already going hungry.

Climate change-related extreme weather events can reasonably be bracketed as one of the major reasons for the intensifying hunger and malnutrition crisis. But there are other key factors at play. 

The world has traditionally relied heavily on the 'business as usual model' of industrial food production and supermarket-oriented consumption. However, this system is not sustainable if we’re to secure a healthy future for people and the planet.

Professor Hilal Elver will interrogate the root causes of the current universal crisis, the major stumbling blocks to narrowing the hunger-overnutrition gulf and how we can achieve a sustainable diet that promotes both human and planetary health. Ronni Kahn will respond to Professor Elver’s talk, drawing on her work as Founder of OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue charity, while Mellissa Wood (ACIAR) will discuss the importance of global agriculture to creating a healthy and sustainable food system.

The event will be chaired by Dr Alana Mann, one of the founders of FoodLab Sydney, which aims to increase access to healthy and affordable food by empowering individuals and communities in the creation of new food businesses.

The speakers

Hilal has been the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food since June 2014. She is an international law professor and Global Distinguished Fellow at the UCLA Law School Resnick Food Law and Policy Center; as well as the Co-director of the Climate Change, Human Security and Democracy project at the Orfalea Center, UC Santa Barbara, where she was a Distinguished Visiting Professor from 2002-12. She has also served the Turkish Government as the founding legal advisor of the Ministry of Environment, and as General Director of the Women Status at office of the Prime Minister. Until 2014 she was one of the members of the Turkish delegation at the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC).

She has published three books – Peaceful Uses of International Rivers: The Euphrates and Tigris Basin (2002); Headscarf Controversy: Secularism and Freedom of Religion (2012) and Reimagining Climate Change (2016).

Ronni is the CEO and Founder of OzHarvest. Driven by a determination to find purpose in her life, Ronni realised that the simple act of rescuing good food and delivering it to people in need would quickly catch on, and in 2004 OzHarvest was born.

She is renowned for her boundless energy, infectious enthusiasm and not taking no for an answer! Her ability to inspire and motivate everyone she meets has seen OzHarvest grow from humble beginnings to become Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. Her journey in the fight against food waste became the feature of an independent film, Food Fighter, and in 2019 she was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia.

Mellissa Wood, GAICD, is ACIAR’s General Manager, Global Programs where she leads ACIAR’s engagement with global and multilateral fora, such as the G20 and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and leads the formulation and implementation of Australia’s international stakeholder engagement strategies with the CGIAR and other international Agricultural Research Centres (IARCS).

She returned to Australia and joined ACIAR as the Director of the new Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC) during 2012-2015. She has a strong research interest in improving the adoption of research outputs for food and nutrition security outcomes, with a focus on partnering with policy makers and the private sector to facilitate this. 

Alana Mann is a Key Researcher in the University's Sydney Environment Institute and Chair of the Department of Media and Communications in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. Through her work she aims to promote citizen engagement, participation, and collective action in food systems planning and governance.

She is Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project FoodLab Sydney: Addressing food insecurity through participatory social enterprise (2018-2020) with partners including the City of Sydney, TAFE, and FoodLab Detroit. In 2018 Alana was a visiting scholar at both Harvard Law School and Cornell University.  Her new book Voice and Participation in Global Food Politics (2019) foregrounds the communicative dimensions of resistance by diverse rural and urban coalitions of food producers and eaters against the corporate capture of our foodways.

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Simply click the 'Register now' button or follow this link.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first-in, best-dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open 30 minutes before the advertised start time. 

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

This venue provides wheelchair access and infrared hearing system.

Access requirements

If you have other access requirements or want more information, get in touch with us on 9351 2943 or email with 'Access | July 3 – Food security' in the subject line at the earliest opportunity to allow us time to organise for any additional services in time for the event.

Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium is on Level 1 of the building opposite Charles Perkins Centre on John Hopkins Drive (next to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital), off Missenden Road.

You can also enter via the Ross Street entrance: the venue is next to the ovals.

Public transport

The closest bus stop is the University of Sydney Ross Street Gate, Parramatta Road (Opposite Glebe Officeworks). It is a five-minute walk to the venue. Use the University Campus Map tool to locate the bus stop. You can take the bus from Central Station (routes 412, 413, 436, 438, 440, 461, 480).

The venue is roughly a 30 minute walk from Redfern station.

There is some on-street parking around Forest Lodge and Glebe.

There is also paid parking available at Western Avenue Carpark. Head to the University's Parking page for more information about fees and opening hours.

Use our Campus Map to find out more details about parking and access areas: search for the 'Charles Perkins Centre'. 

Lead image: Photo by Joao Marcelo Marques on Unsplash

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