Planting seeds for the future of food

Hilary Green*, Pierre Broun, Ismail Cakmak, Liam Condon, Nina Fedoroff, Juan Gonzalez-Valero, Ian Graham, Josette Lewis, Maurice Moloney, Ruth K. Oniang'o, Nteranya Sanginga, Peter Shewry, Anne Roulin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The health and wellbeing of future generations will depend on humankind's ability to deliver sufficient nutritious food to a world population in excess of 9 billion. Feeding this many people by 2050 will require science-based solutions that address sustainable agricultural productivity and enable healthful dietary patterns in a more globally equitable way. This topic was the focus of a multi-disciplinary international conference hosted by Nestlé in June 2015, and provides the inspiration for the present article. The conference brought together a diverse range of expertise and organisations from the developing and industrialised world, all with a common interest in safeguarding the future of food. This article provides a snapshot of three of the recurring topics that were discussed during this conference: soil health, plant science and the future of farming practice. Crop plants and their cultivation are the fundamental building blocks for a food secure world. Whether these are grown for food or feed for livestock, they are the foundation of food and nutrient security. Many of the challenges for the future of food will be faced where the crops are grown: on the farm. Farmers need to plant the right crops and create the right conditions to maximise productivity (yield) and quality (e.g. nutritional content), whilst maintaining the environment, and earning a living. New advances in science and technology can provide the tools and know-how that will, together with a more entrepreneurial approach, help farmers to meet the inexorable demand for the sustainable production of nutritious foods for future generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1409-1414
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 30 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Food security
  • Nutrition security
  • Plant science
  • Soil
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Planting seeds for the future of food'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this