By Milton Stokes, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., Global Health and Nutrition Outreach Director, and Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, M.S., R.D.N., Global Lead for Food, Nutrition and Culinary Partnerships
The 2014 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo™ (FNCE) wrapped up this week in Atlanta. We were delighted to be there among 9,400 registered dietitians/nutritionists (RD/Ns) and other food and nutrition professionals from across the country and around the world. FNCE® is to the food and nutrition world what the World Series is to baseball fans – a few fine days in October that we look forward to all year long.
While at the conference, we re-connect with long-time food and nutrition colleagues, build new relationships, soak in sessions about nutrition science, food and nutrition policy, as well as culinary and foodservice topics, and come away, exhausted. Yet, we are inspired by the opportunities we have to contribute to greater understanding and awareness of food, nutrition, and the agricultural realities of what it will take to feed a growing population in the years ahead. The Monsanto team invited farmers, Jennifer Holle and Sherri Kannmacher, to join us in our booth for an Ask-A-Farmer opportunity with FNCE® attendees. The RD/Ns had a chance to chat with Jennifer and Sherri about the inextricable link between agriculture, food and nutrition and how the decisions they make on their farms make a real difference in the U.S. and global food supply. We also served up our Crop Pops, which are tasty frozen treats made with Monsanto seed-grown produce. A delicious time was had by all.
But, more important than what was served up in the booth, was what was served up in the conversation at FNCE®. We were particularly interested in the many agricultural topics that surfaced, including biodiversity, soil health, access to agriculture technology and innovation, nourishing a projected nine billion people by 2050, and sustainably increasing agricultural production to do so. It’s clear a comprehensive conversation about food and nutrition is not complete without a discussion of where the seeds sprout.
At Monsanto, we also deeply appreciate that food starts with farmers. As such, we are dedicated to providing them with agricultural solutions they can use to help make a balanced meal accessible to all. We have big goals and big challenges ahead of us. We are committed to doing our part, but, we don’t have all the answers. We want to hear from and learn from food and nutrition experts and to collaborate with people and organizations that recognize the complexities of today’s food system. That is why we were in Atlanta. The conversation doesn’t start or stop at FNCE. But, it is a few fine days in October for inspiring dialogue; engaging in healthy discussion and debate; and fostering ideas and collaboration…not to mention for grabbing a Crop Pop or two.
For more information, please visit www.Discover.Monsanto.com.