Institute for Advanced Study, Northrop, and University Honors Program Present

Global Food Security and How We Feed Each Other

Past event
Sep 22, 2022
ear of corn on a blue background

Deepak Ray: Senior Research Scientist and Fellow, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota 
Valentine Cadieux: Professor of Environmental Studies and Anthropology and Director of the Center for Justice and Law, Hamline University

Despite the fact that we harvest more crop calories worldwide than ever before, researchers project that we are likely to fall short of the UN’s food security goals by 2030. Together, research scientist Deepak Ray and geographer Valentine Cadieux will unpack data showing how and why the use of harvested crops has changed over time, including how climate change is already impacting production of the world’s major crops. They will also look at community-driven food security efforts, including how small urban farms are changing how we understand the future of agricultural resilience. As they address the big questions facing agriculture and the food system, our panelists will discuss what it could mean if we reorient our sustainability goal from “how do we feed the world?” to “how can people feed each other?”

This Spotlight Series event is presented in partnership with the Institute on the Environment.



Deepak Ray: DKR received his PhD in Atmospheric Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he studied the impact of land use change on the climate of biodiversity hotspots using satellite remote sensing and climate modeling. He then built models to predict land use change at Purdue University before joining the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota where he first built high-resolution global crop statistics to understand crop productivity trends and global food security. He has published his findings in many of the top scientific journals including in the Nature group of journals and written about his findings in the popular press. Several of his publications have received more than a thousand citations each. His recent publication in Nature Food explores the issue for what intended use we harvest crops and what this means for achieving the UN SDG of food security for all by 2030.


Valentine Cadieux is grateful to be in community with a circle of learners and organizers growing and sharing food in the Twin Cities: in the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance, the Twin Cities Community Agricultural Land Trust, the Minnesota Agrarian Commons and other interwoven circles, including at Hamline University, teaching community food systems and environmental justice and sustainability. As an artist, learner, grower, neighbor, and peacemaker, Valentine is focused on mending, especially in spaces of urban community economic resistance, reimagination, and repair of land relationships. Commons and cooperative economic relationships are the center of these repairs—including community-led education of policy makers, peer-to-peer reciprocal support, and systems-change and code-switching translation work between “community wealth” as understood in our communities’ conversations and “regional (or global) economic development” as described in the language of people in power and governance roles.

Event Details

Event Info

You will receive an automatic email reminder one day and one hour prior to the event including the Zoom link and instructions for those who wish to attend in person.

Learn More - Explore These Themes

This Fall, the Spotlight Series brings together thought leaders to explore how geography and mapping practices inform identity, history, and the question of personal responsibility. The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between community and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.

Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested topics in the fall sessions.

  • Data Science
  • Computer Science
  • Mapping / Geography
  • Visual Arts
  • Art History
  • American History
  • American Indian Studies
  • Public Art
  • Agriculture and Food Business Management
  • Applied Economics
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Food Security

Start a conversation or reflect on this event using these questions as inspiration.

September’s Spotlight Series at Northrop will be focused on Deepak Ray’s research on crop harvests. In his paper, Crop harvests for direct food use insufficient to meet UN’s food security goal, Ray states that if the current trend continues, by 2030 only about 26 percent of global calories harvested may be for direct food consumption.

  • Ray’s article explores how the growing middle-class demand for high-value processed foods such as meat, dairy, and other convenient commodities are increasing pressure for agricultural producers to specialize in high-yield crops. What consequences do you think this poses to global food security? 
  • Conversations about sustainability often center the individual’s responsibility. In general, do you believe it should be up to an individual to change their actions or consumption habits, or is it up to the industry to alter what and how they produce?