Purdue University

Food Security

The world population has surpassed seven billion and is expected to continue growing before stabilizing at around nine billion people by the year 2050. Trying to meet the rising demand for food, feed, and energy with current technology and agricultural resources is a formidable task. Farms will have to produce more, on less land, and with more judicious use of inputs, requiring new science, technology, and innovations. Looking forward, the growing challenges of a looming water crisis, increasing energy demand, loss of biodiversity, and likely climate change will put additional strains on the global food production system. These factors, along with a wide-range of socio-economic issues, including how to develop better strategies to make food accessible and affordable to those that need it, form an interacting mix of grand challenges that underscores the complex nature of the global food security agenda in the 21st century.

See below for a selection of active food security projects.


Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety

PI: Haley Oliver (Food Sci)

Funding: USAID

Foods can be nutritious and available, but if those foods are unsafe, there is no food security. Contaminated foods are estimated to sicken 600 million people a year, contributing to impaired growth and development in children, food insecurity, and barriers to entry into the global food trade. The mission of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety (FSIL) is to reduce the burden of foodborne illness and break the cycle of disease, malnutrition, and food insecurity in Africa and Asia. By investing in data-driven approaches to identify the key points for intervention, FSIL supports countries in transforming the handling and processing of foods at the household, farm, and market level.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FSIL is jointly managed by Purdue and Cornell Universities. The Lab leverages extensive experience in international food safety research, education, and extension to develop and manage a portfolio of food safety and capacity development projects to meet the following objectives:

  • Increasing awareness of food safety
  • Enhancing global capacity to conduct food safety research
  • Developing policies that enable conditions for food safety research, translation, and practice
  • Accelerating translational research technologies and practices for households, communities, and the food industry

For more information, visit the project website.

AccelNet: GLASSNET: Networking Global to Local Analyses to Inform Sustainable Investments in Land and Water Resources

PI: Thomas Hertel (AgEcon)

Co-PIs: Matthew Huber (EAPS), Carol Song (Research Computing), Dominique van der Mensbrugghe (AgEcon)

Funding: NSF

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) describe a global resolve to transform our world across 17 related economic, social, and environment thematic areas. The compelling challenge, however, is the inevitable set of conflicts and tradeoffs among competing SDG demands for poverty reductions, food and energy security, clean water, biodiversity, and climate change mitigation. While local circumstances require fine-scale analyses, market forces and government policies drive global changes that compel macro-level analyses. Equitable and sustainable resource use requires harnessing new data streams and modeling approaches across natural and social science disciplines. The critical need for such analyses in land- and water-related SDGs inspires the team’s international network of networks Global to Local Analysis of System Sustainability (GLASSNET).