Speaker to address 'triple bottom line' of food and agriculture policy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Between rising costs, a sluggish economy and a changing climate, these are uncertain times for those involved with food, agriculture and health.

David Wallinga will reveal the hidden opportunities in the midst of these challenges when he delivers a talk as part of the M.E. John Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The event will take place at 2:30 p.m. April 19, in 101 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building on the University Park campus.

Wallinga is senior adviser in science, food and health at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis. His lecture, "Growing Health: A Vision for U.S. Food and Agriculture Policy," will offer a vision for the future of the U.S. food system that he claims will be healthier and more sustainable and will provide more economic opportunity in the long run.

The founder of HealthyFoodAction.org, Wallinga applies a systems lens to think about health impacts of food and how it is produced, processed, packaged and distributed in today's globalized food system.

Wallinga argues that the food system, and the agricultural ecosystem on which it depends, face issues related to climate change, fossil-fuel reliance and uneven economic development. In addition, he notes that the nation's health care system is beset by an epidemic of food- and diet-related chronic diseases that threatens to bankrupt private and public budgets.

He will describe a new, science-based vision of ecological public health, based on the premise of a "triple bottom line." This emerging concept envisions not only improved public health, but also ecosystem resilience and more robust long-term economic health.

A physician who has worked on food and agricultural policy issues for 16 years, Wallinga also will talk about the promises and challenges this emerging vision presents for the modern-day, land-grant university.

The lecture will be followed at 3:30 p.m. by an informal discussion. A reception will be held from 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m., in 214 Ferguson Building.

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Last Updated April 05, 2013