Kansas State University's Collaborative Approach to Research through Global Food Systems1
There is no “silver bullet” solution. Just trying to diagram the challenges of feeding a growing global population with safe, nutritious, and accessible food can prompt headaches and nightmares for the savviest chart makers and systems thinkers. With all the factors involved in growing crops, distributing raw food materials, and processing them, and factoring for spoilage, storage, weather, climate, widely varying national economies, population growth, consumer purchasing power, and much, much more, no one agency or institution will be able to deliver a single solution—or a menu of solutions. Everyone, even those who are only tangentially connected to the vast array of food-production industries, will have to work together to create effective solutions. Although the circumstances and challenges faced by farmers from Uganda to the United States may seem worlds apart, they are driven by a common set of biophysical factors. By uniting efforts globally, problem solvers can help improve food availability in developing and developed countries alike, with reciprocal benefits for all. As a key part of this, the United States' land-grant university system of public, research-focused, outreach-oriented institutions is well positioned to provide leadership and catalyze strategic partnerships along the research-for-development pipeline. A significant aspect of Kansas State University's service to the international community is its work in agricultural and food-science research. Training the next generation of leaders in a global approach to tackling these problems and building solution capacity first requires a deep understanding of the problems.