The Blum Center For Poverty Alleviation held the 2nd part of the two-part conference on Global Security at UC Irvine on May 5-6. Focusing on topics relating to food security, sustainability, and development, the conference featured speakers such as Janet Napolitano, Nora Gilbert, and Paula Daniels.

Dr. Wendy Slusser from Health Science Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, UCLA discussed the power of what we’re working on, saying that “Food is a hook for everyone.” She also spoke about how she’s seen the GFI “amplify” work through the UC system and beyond, saying it’s enabling us to “export solutions” around the topics of food security, health and sustainability, across California, the nation and globally.

Janet Napolitano stated her in her keynote address, “One of the underlying principles of UC is to tackle society’s most urgent problems.”

One of the panelists highlighted the importance of recognizing inequalities within food: “Structural racism in the food system has domestic and huge global impacts,” said Livia Marqués, the Program Officer of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The UC Irvine Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation offer five takeaways for everyone to keep in mind:

  1. Food is nutrition and taste, but it’s also economics and policy, climate change and water, technology and safe delivery from farm to people, and equity and ethics.
  1. Food insecurity is a problem in our own backyard and worldwide, but it’s also an opportunity for collective action.
  1. Food production can be the first step out of poverty and a stepping stone to equality for women and smallholder farmers.
  1. “Find something to be for, not just against,” said Robin Foster, team leader for the Responsibly Grown program at Whole Foods Market, one of the summit’s sponsors. Whether you’re an academic, a policymaker, a community member or a student, you can be an advocate and agent for change.
  1. “Everyone has a right to food, and the University of California can help transform the food system,” said Richard Matthew, director of the UC Irvine Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation. “Partner with us.”