We are creating a new national institute for food!
Announcing the Global Food Institute at GWU
Hola my friends,
This is an exciting day for me because I can finally tell you about a project that’s been in the works behind the scenes for several years....the creation of the Global Food Institute at the George Washington University in Washington, DC! Some of you know that I have been teaching a class called The World on a Plate: How Food Shapes Civilization, since 2013, but this is an opportunity to do something much, much bigger.
I’ve been thinking about ways to fix our broken food systems for so long now… I shared some of my big picture ideas with you in September when we had the first ever White House Food Conference. I had (and have!) a lot of ideas…creating a secretary for food, a national security adviser for food, and a National Food Agency, and more. As I shared in an op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday, unfortunately I have not yet succeeded in convincing my friends on either side of the aisle on Capitol Hill or at the White House that food must stop being a policy afterthought. And you know me. I don’t like to wait around to, you know, watch the paint dry. I’m one of those guys who likes to make things happen.
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So my friends, the time has come for us to make things happen! We are living with rampant hunger and poverty, a climate crisis that is getting worse and worse, deteriorating public health and nutrition, and systemic inequities that put the majority of these problems on the shoulders of low-income and historically marginalized communities.
We can’t keep talking more and more about these problems or doing the same thing and expecting a change. You know what Albert Einstein said: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, we are done with that. We are not insane…well mostly not.
You know what I always say: Food is not the problem…it is the solution! Food is connected to immigration, defense, climate change, culture, and so much more. It can rebuild lives and communities, heal both people and the planet, and create hope for the future, but only if we think and act differently than we have done before. And that starts now with the Global Food Institute.
I know we’re creating an institute with a big fancy title that sounds like it might be one of those think tanks, but it is not just for thinking…it’s for doing. I see the Global Food Institute like this. We will be working on all the ways food relates to policy, innovation, and the humanities. What does that mean…what does that really look like?
Let me share some of the highlights of what we plan to do. This is a place where we are going to talk about the impact of food on all of us. No one will work in their own silos…we will break down barriers across industries, politics, and nations. Everyone will be part of these critical conversations.
We will work in areas like food deserts and school meals, on sustainable restorative agriculture and local food. We will tackle foreign aid and world hunger, and work on innovative solutions to the biggest problems we see. We will invest all our resources to support the development of policy around food issues, whether that’s offering space to bring together all those talented minds to rethink the problems or creating courses for students to learn and faculty to teach, so we empower and inspire the next generation of food fighters. And we will talk about the cultural side of food, examining and sharing its central role in our human story.
I’ll be talking more about some of these questions next week on my podcast with Senator Cory Booker, so I hope you’ll listen in and share your thoughts. And please write and tell me what you think. We do not have a monopoly on good ideas. You can always reach out here or through our Global Food Institute website, where we have a place for you to share your ideas and insights.
You will always have a seat at this very long table…to tell us what you see happening, ways where you see community change possible, and how you believe food policy can make the most transformative impact possible...for all of us living together on planet Earth.
You are a sustaining visitor to hurricane sites around the globe, Jose. Perhaps that is because you ARE a hurricane. I admire you and your efforts which is why i continue to support you in my own little contributions. Thank you and your legions for all that you do. .....
This is big. Everything Jose Andres does is big and a good thing for our world. Gracias Jose Andres.