“Can agriculture feed the world?” Students’ answer is YES!
Students of the ELLS student conference say YES to ‘Can agriculture feed the world?’. Some on the photo stated YES, but it depends…on how we do it.
However, many students thought that the title of the conference was a bit strange. They wondered ‘If agriculture will not feed us, what then??’. Different technologies were presented throughout the two conference days and they were all linked to agriculture, either it was about GMO crops, urban vertical farms or improved storage facilities.
The idea of the conference was that students from several European Life science universities would have the opportunity to present their Bsc or MSc research projects. To present at an international conference was for many of the students a new experience which they did with great enthusiasm. The message was clear at the conference ‘business cannot continue as usual’.
We have at this moment huge global problems related to food and agriculture, firstly we got the two opposing problems, under nourishing and obesity. On top of this we got climate change, lack of water, pollution and a financial crisis. If we should be able to feed a rapidly growing population we might have to ask ourselves ‘how do we grow food?, what do we grow? and what do we eat?’. Questions that many of the students tried to answer in their research.
If agriculture will not feed us, what then?
During the conference important points were made about the unequal accessibility and availability of food. It was mentioned that there might be a need for a production slowdown and a better focus on if a region can feed its population rather than globally aiming for a new green revolution.
The student presentations I personally found inspiring emphasized that innovations and the need to work together over the scientific disciplines are essential aspects of continuous life science research.
The final impressions from the conference was a discussion about the need for a vision on how we want the world to be like since this will determine how we do things, also agriculture. Another thing that stayed was the provocative statement ‘Why do we want to feed the world?’ which made the audience in the room very quiet.
For more information about the yearly conference and Life science universities visit: http://www.euroleague-study.org/
Text: Matilda Rizopulos