S-E1 A Systems Approach to Understanding the Energetics of Global Agriculture

The objective of this symposium is to conceptualize the global agricultural system as a planetary energy transfer system and to account for energy pathways through the system with a focus on redirecting available energy output to food resources for human consumption. Over a half century of data regarding global agricultural output suggests that total output greatly exceeds human demand for food energy, but energy losses within the system dominate to create global food insecurity. Addressing food loss terms within the global agricultural system may be a more manageable strategy to increase the availability of agricultural production for human consumption, particularly when faced with presumed losses of agricultural production related to land conversion, climate change, and biological limits of intensified food production.​

Moderators and Speakers:

  • Stephen K. Boss, Director, Environmental Dynamics Program, University of Arkansas
  • Quinn Montana, Doctoral Candidate, Environmental Dynamics, University of Arkansas

Stephen K. Boss is Professor of Environmental Dynamics and Sustainability in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas. He served as director of the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Environmental Dynamics from 2002-2015 and was the primary architect of sustainability curricula at the University of Arkansas. He served dual duty at Director of Sustainability Academic Programs and the Environmental Dynamics Program from 2010-2015. His current research interests are investigating allocation of non-renewable natural resource s, systems dynamics of global agriculture, and development of metrics of natural resource consumption to document progress toward or retreat from sustainability at global scales. (479-575-7134, sboss@uark.edu)

Quinn Montana is a PhD student in the Environmental Dynamics program at the University of Arkansas. Her research has centered on food policy and climate concerns. A longtime board member of the local chapter of Slow Food USA, she was one of 250 chosen to represent the U.S. at the International Slow Food Conference in Turin, Italy in 2012. Formerly Co-Chair of Fayetteville’s Green Economy Group, and one of the founding members of the community Climate Change Book Forum, she is currently spearheading an initiative to ban plastic bags in the city of Fayetteville, AR. She is also the author of the book Workship Your Food, an exposition on the ills of our food system.

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