When addressing food security, agricultural science has traditionally focused on increasing grain yield, particularly in carbohydrate-rich crops like wheat and rice, and metrics of global food security have emphasized the availability of calories. Recent studies have concluded that the greatest food security challenge in 2050 will be providing nutritious diets rather than adequate calories. Increased intake of whole grains, grain legumes, and pseudocereals can address these dietary imbalances, improve human health, and increase the sustainability of our diets and the food system. It is critical therefore to build robust linkages between crop, soil, and food scientists working on the development of nutritious varieties and healthy food products with medical scholars rooted in human-health disciplines such as epidemiology, nutrition, and the gut microbiome.
Given this need for sustainable healthy diets, the long-term goals of this project are to create more nutritious, affordable, and accessible whole grain-based foods through
the investigation of the contribution of novel, biofortified crop varieties and food products to human health through clinical and epidemiological evaluations, and
the development and deployment of nutritious food products made from improved crop varieties grown within sustainable cropping systems.
To develop these food products we will employ a Soil to Society (S₂S) pipeline strategy that addresses gaps in current knowledge and traces the flow of nutrients from agricultural systems and food production to human consumption, culminating in the synthesis of more sustainable agricultural management strategies and healthy and affordable food products to meet the needs of diverse individuals and communities.
AFRI SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE SYSTEMS
For more information about the USDA AFRI SAS program, their interdisciplinary approach to agricultural issues, and how to apply for funding, follow the link below.