International Food Security at Illinois

Our Challenge and Mission

The challenges for the world’s food systems are daunting. Almost a billion people suffer from chronic hunger. As the global population grows, areas already struggling to feed people will be put under even more stress by having millions of additional mouths to feed. Agriculture faces increased demands for food and fuel even as the planet’s natural resource base for production is under threat.

To answer this threat, the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) has established the International Food Security at Illinois (IFSI).

Our intention is to build the most comprehensive university program for global food security in the nation.

ACES is an interdisciplinary college—focused on food, agriculture, the environment, and people—is uniquely positioned to devote current and future intellectual capabilities and other resources to a range of issues vital to food security.

By applying ACES’ research, innovation, and outreach expertise to food security, IFSI can enable food systems in the United States and worldwide to better serve the world’s food-insecure people.

The goal is food security—meaning that all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for active and healthy lives.

You can view our IFSI publications for more information.
 

Strategy

IFSI coordinates many activities that help us investigate and address food security. We link capacity in ACES with other resources of the University of Illinois, cooperate with industry and institutional partners here and abroad, and magnify the impact of discoveries through domestic and international outreach and capacity building.  

Through these activities we are able to implement a four-pronged approach to achieving food security:

Innovate 

Coordinating research efforts with partners around the world, we work to identify solutions to the complex causes of poverty and food insecurity. This includes efforts such as improved crop varieties and practical equipment implementation for smallholder farmers. 

Empower 

Building the capacity of individuals and institutions ensures our programs enable people from some of the world’s least food secure regions to find solutions that work in their contexts. For example, rural extension and advisory service systems in Africa and Asia have been enhanced by work of AgReach, based in the College of ACES.  

Educate 

Working with partners, we to inform the public and the scientific and policy communities about problems and progress in the struggle for food security. This is accomplished through several channels, including lectures, seminars, publications, and educational curricula. Our Distinguished International Lecture series brings global leaders in food security to local audiences.

Evaluate 

Performing rigorous evaluations of efforts to improve food security is a key to progress. For example, our scholars assess the effectiveness of domestic and international food security initiatives such as animal donation in Zambia and food assistance in the U.S.