Johns Hopkins Bioethics Institute to study the futures of food systems, ethical labeling
Scholars at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics will continue their innovative work on one of humanity's oldest and most complex problems – how to ethically ensure enough nutritious food for the world's population – with a grant of more than $3 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
With this funding for the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, a collaboration between the Berman Institute and the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University is uniquely situated to become the world's leading research institution approaching food, nutrition and agricultural issues from a bioethics perspective.
As part of a growing portfolio of policy-oriented research, the program will pursue two of the crucial projects outlined in its groundbreaking 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security in 2015. One project, led by Berman Institute Hecht-Levi fellow Yashar Saghai, will work to introduce explicit and transparent discussion of ethical and political issues in studies that anticipate the futures of food systems, as well as in public policies and private sector investments that rely on these studies.
The other project, led by Alan Goldberg, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will develop methodology for ethical certification and labeling, with a mobile app to assist consumers in making informed decisions that reflect their values.
"Barriers to global food security are multifaceted and complex, but that is no excuse to ignore them," says Jessica Fanzo, Director of the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program. This funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will allow us to pursue these crucial yet distinct areas of global food ethics, both working toward the goal of ethical global food security."
Since the Stavros Niarchos Foundation's initial investment of $800,000 in 2013, the program convened a meeting of diverse global food ethics leaders and stakeholders in Ranco, Italy, which produced the groundbreaking 7 by 5 Agenda – seven projects to make progress on ethics and global food security in five years. The Berman Institute also worked with the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies to secure a joint Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professorship with the School of Advanced International Studies, held by Prof. Fanzo.
"Collaboration, both within Johns Hopkins and with others worldwide, is at the heart of this work," says Roula Siklas of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. "We believe partnership is the best way forward. The Johns Hopkins team has successfully brought together stakeholders from a broad range of perspectives in food production, distribution, and consumption to find the ethical common ground shared by all, and to develop a set of realistic and achievable goals that will address the scientific advancement, government policies and corporate practices that affect our global food system. The Foundation is proud to support the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program as it grows and takes on a leadership role in this complex but critical work."
In addition to the two projects, this latest grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will also support basic operations that will facilitate the pursuit of funding for other projects under the umbrella of the diverse Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, Fanzo explains. These projects will include work focused on climate change and "climate just" agriculture, food and water security, the ethics of meat consumption, and global agricultural research and development.
The Johns Hopkins Global Food Ethics and Policy Program addresses critical global issues of under- and over-nutrition and diet-related diseases, poverty, inequity and injustice across the food system, as well as environmental degradation caused by agriculture. More information is available at http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org/globalfoodethics
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is one of the world's leading private international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. The Foundation funds organizations and projects that are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact for society at large, focusing on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly, and also exhibit strong leadership and sound management. For more information visit http://www.SNF.org