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Expert Voices

Science can't be at the expense of culture

Our Expert Voices conversation on food security.

Society and science have to work together to develop solutions to historical and unforeseen food and health challenges.

The culture piece: Food culture is human culture. Our humanity is woven into the tapestry of our culinary traditions and our species' omnivorous requirements. Over history we rarely change habits in light of scientific progress. Even clear, direct scientific solutions to food crises and health epidemics push against the weight of thousands of years of cultural identity.

Three scientific questions: What is actually happening with human health and our diets? What information and tools can be produced that address our food and food-related health problems? And, how effective are those future food solutions likely to be generations from now?

Bottom line: To feed a hungry future world, human culture and traditions may need to consider how to better incorporate scientific conclusions into their everyday lives, or failing this, place greater trust in science and technology to provide betters options and evidence for the future of food.

Other voices in the conversation:

Pamela Ronald, plant geneticist, UC Davis, Focus on results new technologies bring

Henk Hobbelink, agronomist, GRAIN, Support small farmers

Deborah Delmer, plant biologist, Genetic modification is an important part

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