Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems: Feeding Our Passions

Currently, the world’s population stands at over 7 billion and counting.  It is no small feat to determine ways to feed our expanding population using sustainable practices. One of the key messages from the United Nations 2012 State of Food and Agriculture Report is “Investing in agriculture is one of the most effective strategies for reducing poverty and hunger and promoting sustainability.”

February’s theme, Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems, will spotlight the important areas where work is being done to solve local and global food issues, as well as focus on others where we still need to innovate and design solutions that will allow all people to thrive.

Throughout February, we’ll be blogging, sharing, and starting conversations on Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems. Below you’ll find more information on the events happening this month and how you can add value to the blog or on social media:

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February Change Agents in Residence (CAIR)

As part of the integrated MBA curriculum, CAIR gives current students and the BGI community the opportunity to talk to industry leaders. These pioneers advance sustainable business practices, research social and ecological sustainability, and lead organizations for social and economic advocacy.

This February, BGI is honored to host the following Change Agents:

Tim Crews | Director of Research and a Research Ecologist at the Land Institute

Tim Crews is broadly interested in what agriculture can learn from the prairie or forest about sustainability. Tim’s current research focuses on reducing and eliminating dependence on synthetic fertilizers in perennial agriculture. For 18 years prior to coming to The Land Institute in September 2012, Tim was a Professor of Environmental Studies and Agroecology at Prescott College in Arizona. He was a visiting researcher in Australia with CSIRO in 2002 and with Rothamsted Research in the U.K in 2009. Tim received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and was an Ecology post-doc fellow at Stanford University before taking his faculty position at Prescott.

Carol Sanford | Consultant

Carol Sanford has been leading major consulting change efforts in both Fortune 500 and new economy businesses for more than 30 years. Her client list includes long-term relationships with Colgate Europe and Africa; DuPont Canada, US, Asia and Europe. She also works with new economy companies like Intel, Agilent and leaders of corporate responsibility such as Seventh Generation. In addition, Carol is a judge and mentor for University of Washington Global Business Center Social Entrepreneur Competition in Seattle.

She combines her economic development experience with her extensive business education and background when working with Responsible Governance in Community, Provincial and Regional Policy and Education. Carol has published dozens of works in 10 languages, including a series of articles in Executive Excellence, Stephen Covey’s newsletter and At Work, a Berrett-Koehler Journal. Her highly anticipated book, The Responsible Business: Re-imagining Sustainability and Success, was published in February 2011.

Central to Carol’s philosophy and approach is a fresh look at what makes an organization truly responsible. “It’s important to find out what differentiates your business from the crowd,” she says, “and then thinking about HOW to do business so that communities, societies, and ecology as a whole are improved . These are not separate but interwoven pursuits. It’s completely doable, and a conversation worth having.”

She holds undergraduate degrees from UC Berkeley in Economics and Public Law and graduate degree from California State University, San Jose in Urban Planning. She currently lives in Seattle.

Frederick L. Kirschenmann | Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Frederick Kirschenmann is a longtime national and international sustainable agriculture leader. He served as the Leopold Center‘s second director from July 2000 to November 2005, when he was named a Distinguished Fellow. He joined the board of the Stone Barns Center in 2004 and was elected president in 2007. In January 2008, he assumed a half-time appointment at Stone Barns, dividing his time between Iowa and New York, to explore ways that rural and urban communities can work together to develop a more resilient, sustainable agriculture and food system. He has held numerous appointments, including the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board and the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production operated by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and funded by Pew Charitable Trusts.

Upon his return to North Dakota in 1976, he converted his family’s 2,600-acre farm in south central North Dakota to a certified organic operation. He has developed a diverse crop rotation that has enabled him to farm productively without the synthetic inputs of fertilizers and pesticide, while simultaneously improving the health of the soil. Kirschenmann’s farm has been featured in National Geographic, Business Week, Audubon, the LA Times and Gourmet magazine.

In April 2010, the University Press of Kentucky published a book of Kirschenmann’s essays, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher, that trace evolution of his ecological and farming philosophy over the past 30 years. He has written extensively about ethics and agriculture, with articles published in a number of books and professional journals. He is also a professor in the Iowa State University’s Department of Religion and Philosophy.

February BGI Events

February 13: Net Impact BGI: Food and Agriculture | BGI Seattle Office

Net Impact BGI hosts another community social, this time focusing on Food and Agriculture, featuring Fred Kirschenmann, renowned professor and farmer who has been at the forefront of sustainable agriculture nationally and internationally, pioneering the concept of Agriculture of the Middle. ATOM explores the ways in which value-based food supply chains can address the disappearing middle sector of agriculture and Fred will lend his years of expertise and insight to kick off the week’s ongoing conversation.

>> More information and register now

February 14 – 17: Change Agents in Residence (CAIR) | Islandwood, Bainbridge Island

Current Metro and Hybid MBA Students, along with Alumni, are invited to join the CAIRs Fireside Chat at 8:00 PM on Thursday night, January 17, in the Great Hall at Islandwood. Watch the schedule for other lectures and private events throughout the MBA Intensive weekend. Don’t miss this opportunity to interact with Carol Sanford, Tim Crews, and Frederick L. Kirschenmann  in person!

We’ll also be live tweeting the Fireside Chat as well as other events throughout the MBA Intensive weekend so the public can join in the conversation. Follow @BGIedu to join the Change Agent conversation on the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems.

February 15: Building a Sustainable Economy (BASE): Sustainable Building Lecture | Bainbridge Island Library, Bainbridge Island

Join us for a Bainbridge discussion on sustainable building with our guest Frederick L. Kirschenmann. Explore the agriculture of the middle to understand how we can strengthen this nation’s agriculture infrastructure for a more sustainable and conscious food system for all.

>> More information and register now

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