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Director named for the Food Institute

Professor Evan Fraser stands in front of the Gryphon statue

Professor Evan Fraser is the new director of the Food Institute

The Food Institute of the University of Guelph has a new director.

Evan Fraser, a geography professor and Canada Research Chair known for teaching about global food security issues in novel ways, was named to the position this week.

As a portal to food expertise at U of G, the Food Institute connects researchers with Canadian and international partners to help transform food systems and elevate Canada’s profile in the global food economy.

Spanning all seven U of G colleges, the institute builds on Guelph’s more than 150-year tradition as Canada’s “food university.”

Fraser plans to focus on ensuring research, training and outreach efforts support a healthy planet and a food-secure future.

“It is not only the amount of food we produce but the way we produce food that will be a defining challenge of the next century,” he said.

This includes producing more food on less land with fewer inputs, while dealing with climate change and other challenges such as waste, nutrition and distribution.

“We must also fully understand the ecosystems on which we depend for food,” Fraser said. “It’s the only way we’ll be able to address the great global challenge of protecting the environment while safely feeding the world’s rising population.”

Fraser joined U of G in 2010 as a geography professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Human Security.

He studies the social and environmental consequences of food price volatility and ways to reduce waste in global food systems. He uses his connections to Canadian businesses and organizations to inform public policy.

His “Feeding Nine Billion” project is intended to spark discussion through social media and in high school classrooms about feeding the Earth’s ballooning human population.

Co-author of the book Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, Fraser was the first U of G professor to receive a prestigious Trudeau Fellowship. He was also among the inaugural cohort of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.