food security

2015 is the International Year of Soils

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2015 has been designated the International Year of Soils (IYS) by the UN General Assembly (A/RES/68/232).  The IYS aims to be a platform for raising awareness of the importance of soils for food security and essential eco-system functions. 

The UN has declared 5 pillars of action:

  1. Promote sustainable management of soil resources for soil protection, conservation and sustainable productivity

  2. Encourage investment, technical cooperation, policy, education awareness and extension in soil

  3. Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps and priorities and synergies with related productive, environmental and social development actions

  4. Enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information: data collection (generation), analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring and integration with other disciplines

  5. Harmonization of methods, measurements and indicators for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources   

You can contribute to the International Year of Soils

The Missouri Transect education and outreach participants have developed a “citizen science” project called Missourians Doing Impact Research Together (MO DIRT).  MO DIRT will address the interplay between climate and soil that has an impact on global carbon cycling.  Citizen scientist volunteers will collect and analyze soil samples and record meteorological information in their communities.  The results will be sent to Missouri Transect climate, soil, plant and environmental scientists to enhance real-time data from around the state.

To get involved with MO DIRT or for more information, contact Dr. Terry Woodford-Thomas, tthomas [at] danforthcenter [dot] org" rel="noreferrer">tthomas [at] danforthcenter [dot] org.

World Soil Day Events

To celebrate World Soil Day on December 5 and to launch the International Year of Soils 2015, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held an event at their headquarters in Rome with invited guests — from scientists to diplomats — from around the world.

World Soil Day was celebrated worldwide this year as seen in the map below:

FAO summarized the significance of soil for human and environmental health:

Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being. It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity. Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met.

Crop Improvement: Climate Resilience for Nutrition 20th Fall Symposium

Event date(s): Wednesday, September 25, 2019 to Friday, September 27, 2019
Location: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63132

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center will be hosting its 20th Annual Fall Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri, from 25–27 September. This year’s Symposium, Crop Improvement: Climate Resilience for Nutrition is being organized with an international focus on approaches to improving resilience, examining agricultural development through a gender lens, and exploring the pathway from agriculture to nutrition. Panel conversations will go beyond scientific and technical solutions to also address agricultural development priorities and policies.

The Symposium will begin with the presentation of the Danforth Award for Plant Science to Dr. Segenet Kelemu, Director General & CEO, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) on Wednesday, September 25. The Symposium will be held at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63132, phone: 314-587-1000. Free parking is available in lots adjacent to the building. For more information, email Tam McGuire, tmcguire [at] danforthcenter [dot] org

More Information:


Teacher’s Workshop: Plant Genotype-to-Phenotype Innovations in Genetics and Technology

Event date(s): Thursday, July 25, 2019
Location: Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Road, St. Louis, MO

Lincoln alum teaches community love for nature

June 11th, 2017

Jeff Hargrove, Lincoln University's community resiliency specialist, poses for a photograph at Thorpe Gordon Elementary's new outdoor classroom.
Photo by Julie Smith/News Tribune


Jeff Hargrove, community resiliency specialist at Lincoln University, turned his love for the outdoors into a career.

He advises anyone with an interest in the environment to follow their passion.

"I have always been interested in the outdoors," Hargrove said. "I am a true believer that the Earth needs to be cared for, and I want to do my part while teaching others to have a deep level of respect and care for the Earth as I do."

For Hargrove, it all started at age 12, when he helped build a bridge in a conservation area for his Eagle Scout project. The project, along with the numerous camping and hiking trips his father took him on, helped to instill the value of respect and love for environmental preservation, he said.

Since graduating from Lincoln University in 2012 with his master's degree, Hargrove has worked with the university in multiple facets, but he said all of his experiences have helped him to hone in on his love for agriculture, the environment and educating others.

As a master's candidate in the environmental science department, he worked as a supplemental instructor for plant physiology and botany classes and held the role of botany lab instructor.

Upon graduation, he began his career with the Lincoln University Extension, where he helped to implement the on-campus community garden and worked closely on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institution of Food and Agriculture Grant, which helped the LU Farmers Market attain a commercial kitchen.

His most recent role as community resiliency specialist has allowed him to work under a federal grant from the National Science Foundation. His core objective is to teach youth and community members about food production, agriculture, and how components of food production can be affected by weather, soil and land management practices.

Thorpe Gordon Elementary has a new outdoor classroom complemented by two garden beds as a result of Hargrove's work with the NSA grant and a collaboration between Jefferson City Public Schools and the Missouri Foundation for Health, which provided additional grant monies for the project.

Now, he will be able to work with children and educate community members on how to become more resilient when it comes to food preservation and nature.

Hargrove credits LU with providing him the opportunity to pursue what he loves in life.

In his free time, Hargrove manages a 14-acre farm that produces a host of native edible plants such as gooseberries, peaches, asparagus and apples.

"Every day, from the time I get up to the time I go to bed, I'm outside doing what I can to take care of the land," Hargrove said.


Read the full article on the News Tribune website:

Tags: Lincoln University, Community Team, Jeffrey Hargrove, outreach, food security, Missouri Transect, Missouri EPSCoR, NSF funding

Graduate Student Rachel Kerns Attends U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security

Rachel Kerns presenting her research poster during the poster session of the US Borlaug Summer Institute to Patrick Slack, program analyst, Purdue Center for Global Food Security.(Photo credit: US Borlaug Fellowship Program, Purdue University)       Photo credit: Rachel Kerns, University of Missouri      L-R: Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, Gary Burniske, Managing Director, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, Rachel Kerns, participant in the 2015 US Borlaug Fellows Summer Institute in Global Food Security receiving her completion award from Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President, The World Prize Foundation at the closing reception of the 2015 US Borlaug Fellows Summer Institute held at Purdue University on June 19, 2015.(photo credit: Charles Jischke, Purdue University)

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security at Purdue University. The institute was a two-week long program for graduate students interested in developing a better understanding of international development and global food security issues. The participating students came from many different backgrounds, including food science, nutrition, agronomy, soil science, economics, policy studies, sociology, anthropology, plant breeding, and pathology. When I was at Iowa State University for my undergraduate degrees, I was able to travel to Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe, and I have always had a passion for travelling and working in developing countries, so I was thrilled to be selected for this program!

Our training mainly consisted of lectures and practicums by world-class experts on food security from a variety of academic backgrounds. Most were faculty members with international research work, but we also heard from leadership at the US Agency for International Development and research scientists from local and multi-national NGOs. Dr. Gebisa Ejeta (2009 World Food Prize Laureate) was the program director and spent time getting to know each of us and answering our questions on working in international development and food security. We also completed an intensive group project where we were asked to respond to an RFA from USAID’s Feed the Future grant program. I was a member of the Kenya country group, and my team proposed a program to introduce cowpeas into the supply chain in Western Kenya. I learned so much from my teammates and from researching existing programs and conditions in that area.

One of the major themes that arose from the speakers was the need for climate change adaptation research, which fits well with my EPSCoR research project. In the coming decades, it is going to be increasingly important to understand how various ecosystems respond to the impacts of climate change and to develop strategies to make those ecosystems more resilient. I am so excited to look at the effects of increasing temperature and changing hydroperiods on playa wetlands on the Great Plains, and to take a close look at how climate change is affecting soil.

After I graduate from Mizzou, I hope that I am able to work on research in international development and global food security, and this conference has opened my eyes to the many ways to do so. I am so thankful for the network of fellow “hunger fighters” that I’ve gained, and also for my advisors and colleagues at University of Missouri for their support for me to attend this institute. I would highly recommend the Borlaug Summer Institute and Fellowship program to graduate students interested in global food security. You can find more information at

Tags: climate team, food security, summer institute, borlaug, graduate student