Food security in an energy-scarce world: Conference Programme

Jun 01, 2005 Comments Off on Food security in an energy-scarce world: Conference Programme by

PROGRAMME SUMMARY

Opening Lecture at the Davenport Hotel, Dublin (19:30 Wednesday, June 22nd)

An evening lecture by Richard Heinberg introduced ‘Peak Oil’ and the potential effects on societies, on economies and on the world’s food supply. This lecture was introduced by Richard Douthwaite and is open to a wider audience.

Three Day Conference at the Faculty of Agri-Food and the Environment, UCD

Session 1: Food Under Threat (Thursday Morning, June 23rd)

Session 2: Examining Our Food Supply Systems (Thursday Afternoon, June 23rd)

Session 3: Possible Solutions 1 (Friday Morning, June 24th)

Session 4: Possible Solutions 2 (Friday Afternoon, June 24th)

Session 5: Precedents and Possibilities

Session 6: Feeding the World / Moving Forward (Saturday Afternoon, June 25th)

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

DAY ONE (Thursday, June 23rd, 2005)
Session 1: Food Under Threat
Energy scarcity is a major threat to the world’s food supply especially within the context of increasing environmental threats and loss of democratic control.


08:30 Registration and Coffee
09:15 Welcome – John Feehan
Conference Introduction – Richard Douthwaite


Why is Feasta interested in the relationship between food security and energy scarcity?

09:45 Threats of ‘peak oil’ to the global food supply – Richard Heinberg


Introduction to the possible threats of ‘Peak Oil’ and energy descent to the global food production, distribution and processing systems.

10:30 Questions and Discussion
10:45 Coffee Break
11:15 Environmental threats to agricultural production – Mae-Wan Ho

Exploring the idea of sustainable systems as organisms in order to understand the relationship between the conceptual model of infinite growth, the environmental bubble economy, and the threats of global warming.

12:00 Globalisation and loss of democratic control – Helena Norberg-Hodge


Effect of commodification and corporate control on farmers, consumers and the environment. Can current regulations, rules of global trade and structures of control be able to adapt to decreased use of fossil fuels?
12:45 Questions and Discussion
13:00 Lunch

Session 2: Examining Our Food Supply Systems
This session examined crucial food issues, the nature of our current food systems and the extent to which they rely on fossil fuels, and examines the challenges in changing these systems.

14:00 4 simultaneous workshops examining crucial food issues:

Workshop 1 – Land use conflicts: food, biofuel, settlement and natural processes – Barney Foran

Workshop 2 – Food poverty and the myth of oversupply – Darrin Qualman and Deirdre O’Connor

Workshop 3 – Ownership, control and taxation of necessary resources – Emer O’Siochrú

Workshop 4 – Subsidies, trade and WTO/WB/IMF/CAP reform – Colin Roche

15:15 Coffee Break
15:45 Feedback from workshops
16:00 Energy use in food systems – Dan Keech

Detailed exploration of fossil fuels use and greenhouse gas emissions within existing food supply systems.
16:30 Effecting a paradigm shift in food policy – Colin Sage

By concentrating on creating sustainable food supply systems, many other environmental, social and economic problems can be reduced or resolved in the process.
17:30 Close

DAY TWO (Friday, June 24th, 2005)

Session 3: Possible Solutions 1

Two sessions of presentations and panel discussions investigating technology and knowledge based solutions, in order to reduce fossil fuel use and respond to environmental threats and issues of democratic control.

09:00 Technology based solutions – 3 presentations followed by a panel discussion:

– GMOs and the possibilities of plant engineering – Sean McDonagh

– Integrated pest management and precision agriculture – Leslie Dowley

– Farm based alternative energy sources – Julian Darley

10:45 Coffee Break
11:15 Knowledge based solutions – 4 presentations followed by a panel discussion:

– Organic systems, soil fertility, crop rotation and natural pest control – Cáit Curran

– Intercropping, companion planting and the possibilities of multiple yields – Bruce Darrell
– Genetic diversity and the benefits of robust and region specific varieties – Anita Hayes

– Prospects for transition to organic farming – Ger Shortle

13:00 Lunch

Session 4: Possible Solutions 2
Four workshops examining controversial issues and a session of presentations and panel discussion investigating infrastructure based solutions, in order to reduce fossil fuel use and respond to environmental threats and issues of democratic control.

14:00 4 simultaneous workshops examining controversial issues:

Workshop 1 – Lean Food – applying “Lean Thinking” to food production – David Fleming

Workshop 2 – Developing technologies vs propagating knowledge – Julian Darley

Workshop 3 – The challenges of genetic modification – Mae-Wan Ho and Sean McDonagh

Workshop 4 – The possibilities of alternative energy sources – Seamus Hoyne and Bernard Rice

15:15 Coffee Break
15:45 Feedback from workshops
16:00 Infrastructure based solutions – 3 presentations followed by a panel discussion:

– Localisation of food systems – Annie Sugrue

– Closing nutrient cycles – Folke Günther

– Urban and peri-urban agriculture – Andre Viljoen

17:30 Close

DAY THREE (Saturday, June 25th, 2005)

Session 5: Precedents and Possibilities
Examples of food systems which reduce fossil fuel use and offer additional environmental, social and economic benefits.

09:00 Introduction
09:15 Holistic approaches to food production during energy descent – David Holmgren

Exploration of Permaculture as a holistic method of creating sustainable food production systems during energy descent.
10:00 Sustainable Local Food Systems – – Lori Stahlbrand
The North American experience using eco-labels to link eaters and growers in local sustainable food systems.
10:30 Questions and Discussion
10:45 Coffee Break
11:15 Coping with the sudden absence of fuel, fertilizers and pesticides – Micheline Sheehy Skeffington

Details about Cuba as the primary example of a country that has already dealt with many of the issues facing the rest of the world.
12:00 Sustainable, productive and culturally supportive farm systems – Jules Pretty
Exploration of diverse examples of local, organic based systems throughout the majority world that concentrate on both the social and ecological aspects of food production.
12:45 Questions and Discussion
13:00 Lunch

Session 6: Feeding the World / Moving Forward
Summary which asks how the world’s population can be fed without the extensive use of fossil fuels and explores the way forward locally, nationally and globally.

14:00 Food, energy and population – Richard Douthwaite

Without cheap and abundant energy, the world’s human population would never have grown to its present size and mega-cities would not have developed. Is it possible to unwind the situation over the course of this century or do resource depletion and environmental degradation mean that mass starvation cannot be avoided?

14:30 Roundtable discussion
Can the world’s present population be fed without the extensive use of fossil fuels in the production, processing and distribution of food?
15:30 Coffee Break
16:00 Acting locally: Setting the global municipal agenda for oil-free food – Wayne Roberts

What changes can we make to implement food security at the local level, while promoting popular education, public health and community control?
16:45 The Irish context – John Feehan
Changing the food supply systems in Ireland.
17:30 Close

Conference introduction page

Links to multimedia files of the conference sessions

Contact us at food@feasta.org, or by phone at +353 (0)1 4053615.

This conference is being organised by Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability in association with the Department of Environmental Resource Management at the Faculty of Agri-Food and the Environment, University College Dublin.

This conference is being financially supported by:

Events organised by Feasta, Video

About the author

Caroline Whyte collaborated with Richard Douthwaite on an online update of his book Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economies in an Unstable World in 2002-3 and went on to study ecological economics at Mälardalen University in Sweden in 2005-6, writing a masters thesis on the relationship between central banking and sustainability. She compiled the conclusion for Feasta's 2011 book Fleeing Vesuvius and was a contributor to the Feasta Climate Group's book Sharing for Survival in 2012. She lives in central France, from where she edits the Feasta website.

Feasta is an open, membership-based organisation. If you're interested in supporting our work please consider joining Feasta or making a donation.

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