University of Maryland Extension

UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Launches Initiative to Combat World Hunger and Food Insecurity

Dr. Gebisa Ejeta

COLLEGE PARK ‒ The University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) is working at the forefront of solving one of the most pressing global challenges ‒ how do we feed a rapidly growing population and ensure equitable access to healthy, nutritious food?

With a projected population of 9.1 billion by 2050, and a growing scarcity in available land and water resources, there is an urgency to the situation that requires an alliance between progressive thought leaders in the field. From protecting our farms through effective business management, to developing sustainable household level strategies for ensuring food security and preventing disease, UMD and AGNR are developing a hybrid model of solutions and recommendations to help build a healthier worldwide food system.

In an effort to involve the campus community as well as major partner institutions and nearby land-grant Universities, the college will host “Global Challenges: Building Healthy Food Systems,” punctuated by a keynote address from Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, World Food Prize Laureate and Distinguished Professor of plant breeding and genetics at Purdue University, on Oct. 4 at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union at College Park, Md.

“I see the struggle to reduce hunger, poverty, and attain sustainable global food security to be humanity’s foremost challenge in the 21st century,” said Dr. Ejeta, who grew up in rural Ethiopia and has spent over 30 years researching international agriculture with an emphasis on African agricultural research and development as a professor with Purdue University.

The multi-disciplinary summit is the first free, public event initiated to open discussion about how to feed a growing global population with emerging sustainability challenges. The college is taking a proactive approach to this critical issue, not only in conducting cutting-edge research in agricultural science, crop yield and climate change, but by educating the public and building partnerships to help communities think differently about food production, access and consumption. Topics to be presented throughout the day will include the role of microbiology in today’s food supply, food safety regulations, sustainable water reuse and public health, amongst many others.

"We are thrilled to present this first-ever AGNR Cornerstone Event, a nod to our history as the University's founding college. We are proud to be seen as a national leader in issues related to domestic and international food safety and security and this exciting event will provide key opportunities to build partnerships and foster innovation to help feed and sustain a rapidly expanding global population," said Dean Craig Beyrouty of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "We are honored to welcome Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 World Food Prize Laureate as our keynote speaker, which is a talk not to be missed. We look forward to broad participation from the campus community, stakeholders throughout the state of Maryland, and partner agencies, organizations and universities."

To register for this event, please visit For more information about AGNR’s role or the event, please contact Graham Binder, Director of Communications, at or 301-405-9235.

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