May 23, 2023 - Energy & Environment

José Andrés unveils U.S. food and climate institute

Photo illustration of José Andrés with various shapes and a photo of tractor harvesting a field

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Amanda Stronza/Getty Images for SXSW

Celebrity chef and founder of World Central Kitchen José Andrés is teaming up with George Washington University to launch a new research institute focused on the intersection of food production and climate change.

Driving the news: The venture unveiled Tuesday identifies the warming planet as one of the greatest challenges facing the global food system.

Details: The just-announced Global Food Institute will focus on some of the "biggest challenges in our food system," including food insecurity, health, and climate change, per today's announcement.

What they’re saying: “The world we live in today is confronted by a wide range of complex crises, and the global food system sits at the heart of each of them,” Andrés tells Axios in a written statement.

  • “These challenges, from hunger and poverty to climate change, are immense in scale and require a response to match them," says Andrés.

Between the lines: Among advocating for structural change in global food strategies, the newly-formed research organization is slated to develop solutions to disruptions in the food system associated with climate change.

Zoom out: The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report flags climate warming as one of the influences behind the exposure of millions of people worldwide to acute food insecurity.

  • Plus, last month saw global food prices increase for the first time in a year, with worldwide growth slowing as consumers are still feeling the effects of high prices, Axios' Ivana Saric and Javier E. David report.

What's next: The Global Food Institute, or GFI, will identify a physical space and staff for its D.C. location in the coming months, and students at George Washington University will get to engage with it in a classroom setting in the fall, according to GW provost and executive vice president for academic affairs Christopher Alan Bracey.

  • Part of the institute's approach will include making "evidence-based actionable recommendations to improve existing food policies and establish new food policies" and develop research that "creates and improves food policy both domestically and globally," says Bracey in an email.

The intrigue: GFI will not serve as a policy advocacy organization, Bracey also noted, but will be "facilitating dialogue between public and private sector partners on food strategies."

  • Initial funding has come in the form of an undisclosed amount of philanthropic contributions, with one allocation coming from Andrés himself.

The bottom line: Aiming to inspire "the next generation of leaders," the research institute's formation is "driven by the understanding that food has the power to change the world," Andrés tells Axios.

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