2017 Resources Roundtable

We are pleased to announce the 2017 BERC Resources Roundtable!

The triple threat of climate change, soil degradation, and water shortage are increasingly pressuring our food systems. Meanwhile, human population continues to grow exponentially in some of the world’s most resource-constrained areas. The question looms:  how can we feed an ever-expanding population in the face of persistent environmental degradation? During this event, we will look at two salient challenges:  optimizing agricultural yields and meeting the world’s protein needs. The event will feature two panels, as well as two keynotes and a round of lightning talks from emerging tech companies in the food and ag space.

Link to Eventbrite

Save the Date:

Feeding the World at 9 Billion:
Global Challenges for Food Production in a Compromised Environment

Monday, November 6th 9:30am-4:00pm
Banatao Auditorium, Berkeley CA
Sponsored by the Berkeley Food Institute


10:00AM – 10:35 AM

Registration and fruit provided by Imperfect Produce

10:45AM – 11:15 AM

Keynote by Nathanael Johnson – Senior Writer, Grist

Nathanael Johnson is an award-winning journalist who has written features for Harper’s, New York, Outside, and San Francisco magazines and produced stories for National Public Radio and This American Life. He is the author of two books and was recently nominated for the James Beard Award for Food Reporting.

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Panel Session: Sustainable vs. Synthetic Meat: The Scalability and Environmental Impact of Future Protein Choices 

Prof. Ricardo San Martin, UC Berkeley Alternative Meat Lab
Rohini Banskota, currently Master of Public Policy (MPP) Candidate ’18 (GSPP)
Sheila Barry, University of California Cooperative Extension
Saam ShahrokhiHampton Creek

By 2050, meat consumption per person is expected to double in China and India, the world’s two most populous countries. Lab-grown meat substitutes are being touted by some as the future of animal protein — a way to scale up high-quality food sources while decreasing the negative impact of farming on the environment. Yet while attention and financial resources are being poured into the creation of synthetic proteins, others argue that these advances are unproven in terms of scaling, safety, and environmental impact, and that there are existing sustainable farming methods that we should be emphasizing instead of synthetic meat. This panel aims to explore how we can scale current or new approaches while positively impacting global nutritional needs and the environment.

12:15 PM – 1:00 PM


1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Fireside Chat: Food for 9 Billion: Understanding the Nexus of Distribution and Production 

Miguel Altieri, Professor, ESPM
David Zilberman, Professor, ARE

If global population reaches 9 billion by 2050, the FAO says that world food production will need to rise by 70%, and food production in the developing world will need to double. On the other hand, many argue that we simply need to better distribute the food we already produce. This discussion between agriculture economist David Zilberman and agroecologist Miguel Altieri will face off on the key questions of how to produce enough food and, perhaps more importantly, how to get it into the hands of the hungry.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Lightning Talks: Innovation in the Agriculture Technology Space, featuring:

Digital Green – Karin Lion, Director Global Agriculture
Tule – Tom Shapland, CEO
Urine-to-Fertilizer Lab –
John Law, Researcher
Matt Schwartz, Co-founder

 3:00PM – 3:30 PM Closing Remarks