The Precarious Alliance Symposium

I’ve learned a lot in the past year and a half about our local food system, both as a journalist and a consumer. But I will confess that sometimes I get a little overwhelmed trying to sort out what is best for my family, my community and the world, at least when it comes to my food choices.

So I am excited that Delaware Valley College will be hosting the Precarious Alliance Symposium on October 7 – 9th. The conference pulls together experts from all sides, and various disciplines to explore how we can best go forward in this complex world, making the right choices and protecting our environment while still feeding our people.

On the symposium’s website they explain the impetus behind the symposia:

Humankind depends on natural systems to survive, yet the ways we live and consume goods are destroying the planet. We are already facing some serious issues that will worsen over time: increased highway congestion, flooding, extreme weather conditions and competition for clean water and good land.

Delaware Valley College will host a series of symposia exploring how we can adapt our human networks to reduce and reverse these trends without jeopardizing the needs of future generations.

The symposia will integrate business, science and humanities to explore the ways our human, natural and human-made systems interconnect, and how government policies affect them.

The first symposium is scheduled for October 7 – 9, 2010 and will focus on feeding ourselves: the business, science and human aspects of the food systems – adapting how we produce, process, package, and transport our food to reduce negative impacts and improve air quality, water quality and quantity, soil health, and social equity. Other symposia will explore land use, energy, and the economy.

The symposium will bring together academics, corporations, environmentalists, planners, engineers, local, state and federal officials, architects, planners, and farmers from across the United States to explore a broad array of issues and perspectives, share ideas and collectively explore ways to reverse negative trends.

Here are some of the speakers. You may know some of the names, but some you won’t. Many are the “behind-the-scenes” people who are working to figure things out for our future. What has impressed me most about the list of speakers and topics is the representation from all perspectives – environmental, corporate, agriculture, government, academic and non-profit. I’m looking forward to some interesting discussions in the sessions!

  • Michael Mandelbaum, Ph.D., author, professor and one of America’s leading authorities on international affairs, known for his ability to explain, in clear and accessible ways, the meaning and consequences of complicated global developments and trends. He is author of  The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy, and Free Markets in the Twenty-First Century.
  • Marion Nestle, Ph.D., professor and author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety,  and What to Eat (2006).  Her research examines scientific, economic, and social influences on food choice, obesity, and food safety, with an emphasis on the role of food marketing.
  • Robert Kenner, filmmaker and director, of Food Inc., the award-winning, powerful documentary about our nation’s food industry. Mr. Kenner will speak after a showing of the film at The County Theatre on Thursday evening, October 7th.
  • Chuck Alpuche, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Operations, PepsiCo, and graduate of Delaware Valley College.
  • Brian Snyder, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA).

And some of the session topics

  • The Consequences of the Collision of Natural Systems and Human Networks
  • Choking on Our Failing Food System
  • The Paradigm Shift – Performance With a Purpose Profit, Environment, and Fair Workplace
  • Leading the Way to Sustainability
  • Economic Development and Regional and Local Issues
  • Food Waste and Innovations to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Building Social and Ecological Resilience in our Food Systems

If you are interested in attending, go to the symposium’s website for more information and register AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The cost varies depending on your position (student, professional, nonprofit).

I hope to be tweeting and posting from the conference. See you there!

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  1. Lynn,
    Thanks for the mention of this symposium, which has been in the planning stages for more than a year. I’m glad to hear you will be attending. The list of speakers is pretty impressive. It is bound to be an education for all of us. By the way, I’m now working as communications director at DelVal. Had been the Intel editor for years.

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