James A. Rising

Integrated Food System Speed Talk

December 2, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Below is my Prezi presentation, from a 4 minute “speed talk” on my research a week ago:

The main points of the narrative are below:

  1. Frame 1: My pre-thesis research:
    • I’m going to give a brief sense of where my research has gone, and my hopes for where it’s going.
    • My research has evolved– or wandered– but I’ve realized that it centers around food.
    • Food represents some of the most important ways humanity both relies upon and impacts the planet.
    • We need better models to understand this relationship– models that are sensitive to changing environmental conditions (including climate), and changing management (including adaptation).
  2. Frame 2: My thesis:
    • Perhaps more importantly, we need models powerful enough to capture feedbacks.
    • Harvests feedback and affect the harvesters: Fluctuations in a harvest affect producers in immediate and long-term ways.
    • Producers aren’t mechanical or linear: they respond dynamically to conditions.
    • Producers are part of the system, and I’m interested in understanding these systems as wholes.
  3. Frame 3: The greater whole:
    • These feedback loops are part of a larger integrated system of how food works.
    • Example: When farmers use excessive inputs in the course of their management, it impacts the environment, including that of fishers.
    • Example: 1/3 of fish caught is sold as fishmeal, which goes to feed livestock. These are all connected.
  4. Frame 4: What we eat becomes a driving force throughout this integrated system.
  5. Frame 5: A call for help:
    • Consumption patterns feed back on the production system, which feeds back on large environmental processes like climate change.
    • We need integrated models with all these parts to understand the whole and find leverage points where policies can make a difference.
    • I’d like to invite people from many fields to help out: biologists, computer scientists, economists, and foodies too.
    • Help me better represent the vast opportunities the food system holds for a sustainable future.

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