By Chris Adams
Arlene Mitchell, executive director of a global hunger foundation, detailed 10 areas of the food and agriculture systems that need to change if the globe is actually going to produce enough food and move it where it needs to go.
At the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, Mitchell works to ensure children around the world have nutritious, locally-sourced meals at school. She also has experience working on food and development issues at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations World Food Programme, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
She led National Press Foundation fellows through 10 areas of concern, including the need to curb food loss and waste; the need to fully and equitably involve women in agriculture, as well as the need to bring younger farmers into the industry; the need to boost efforts to protect biodiversity and to explore unfamiliar plants and animals; and the critical need to build a transportation and storage system that can get food where it needs to be.
“We can get around on Mars and negotiate rivers, sand dunes, ice and snow, but fresh produce rots before getting to markets that are just a few miles away,” she said.
Mitchell pointed journalists to her testimony on the topic to a U.S. Senate committee in 2015; annual reports from the International Fund for Agricultural Development that detail rural poverty worldwide and efforts to assist farmers in those areas; and local-level data from the USDA’s Farm to School Program, which aims to incorporate local foods into school lunch programs.