GW Launches "Feeding the Planet"

The George Washington University Launches “Feeding the Planet” to Identify and Celebrate Innovative Solutions in Global Food Production and Nutrition Security With Funding from Land O’Lakes, Inc.

May 15, 2013



Jill Sankey

202-994-6466; [email protected]                                                       

WASHINGTON — By 2050, close to 9 billion people will live on planet earth and these global citizens will need twice as much energy, 40 percent more water and 70 percent more food than we have today.

In anticipation of these changes, and recognizing that all people need and deserve access to sustainably sourced and nutritious food, The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, with significant funding from Land O’Lakes, Inc., will launch “Feeding the Planet: Innovations in Food Production.”

The first year of this ongoing initiative will feature:

- Four gatherings that convene high-level policy makers, experts and thought leaders with a range of experiences and perspectives for an open exchange of ideas;

- An October 30, 2013 summit in Washington, DC with leaders from academia, corporations, media entities, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, trade associations, government agencies and foundations; and

- A Feeding the Planet Summer Fellowship, enabling GW students to compete for the opportunity to travel internationally with a producer/professor to find and report captivating stories of innovation in food production.

Feeding the Planet is an outgrowth of GW’s “Planet Forward” domestic and global sustainability effort, which identifies and promotes innovative ideas that address the environmental, energy and sustainability challenges confronting the planet.

Feeding the Planet is one more way we are working with students, professionals and leaders in the field to use media in creative ways to engage, teach and inform policy makers and the public.  The project reinforces GW's position as a leader, researcher and convener in innovation and sustainability,” said Frank Sesno, director of GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs and creator of “Planet Forward.”

“Land O'Lakes is pleased to support Feeding the Planet,” added Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc.  “Assuring food security for the growing global population is a vital topic that has broad implications for world stability.  Finding and deploying innovative, efficient and sustainable methods of food production will be critical if we are to meet the rapidly growing need for food and nutrition worldwide.”

Among the issues Feeding the Planet will consider are the challenges and game changing innovations in food production, communications technology, plant and animal science, nutrition and supply chain.  Additionally, three recurring themes – gender, changing tastes/nutritional needs and climate change – will be woven through all aspects of the initiative.  Feeding the Planet will devise strategies to better communicate these issues to the public and policy makers through engaging digital and social media elements.

In addition to funding from Land O’Lakes, Feeding the Planet will receive financial support from CropLife International and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Strategic partners include the World Food Program USA, Second Nature, and National Geographic.

Commenting on the partnership, Rick Leach, president and CEO of the World Food Program USA, said “Hunger is a solvable problem.  Innovative technologies and practices allow us to be confident that we can feed and nourish a growing population.  The Feeding the Planet initiative will help shine a spotlight on these innovations and the progress being made in addressing global hunger.”

GW will also produce a multimedia report summarizing the observations, outcomes and research assembled from the Feeding the Planet gatherings, to extend the impact of the project.

For more information on Planet Forward, visit

The School of Media and Public Affairs is dedicated to the rigorous stGW Launches "Feeding the Planet"udy of journalism and political communication with a focus on understanding the impact media have on how societies inform and govern, connect and communicate. As media undergo transformational change, SMPA’s goal is to advance both theoretical insight and innovative practice. SMPA conducts groundbreaking research, offers inspiring teaching, encourages hands-on work in the field and in our production facilities and engages directly with thought-leaders in Washington, D.C. and around the world.

Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America’s premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from farm production to consumer foods. With 2012 annual sales of more than $14 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, ranking in size at #194 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 92 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today includes some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. The Land O'Lakes International Development division is one of the major agricultural outreach and food aid programs in the world. Since 1981, this division has helped generate economic growth and improve the quality of life for millions of people through more than 275 projects in 76 developing nations. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, MN.

World Food Program USA (WFP USA) works to solve global hunger, building a world where everyone has the food and nutrition needed to lead healthy, productive lives. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) works in over 75 countries, saving lives in emergencies, providing school meals to hungry children, improving nutrition of the most vulnerable people at critical times in their lives and helping build the self-reliance of people and communities. WFP USA works together with WFP to solve hunger globally through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. 

– GW –

Read more at: