The 2008 World Food Prize festivities are taking place this week in Des Moines. Food Prize Foundation President Ambassador Kenneth Quinn says today’s 2nd annual Iowa Hunger Summit will involve several hundred community, business and civic leaders from across the state. The all-day event focuses on Iowa’s role in fighting hunger worldwide and features the "Hunger Luncheon" at noon.
The meal consists of food that’s provided by Iowa based organizations when they are feeding hungry people around the world or here in the state. The luncheon and all of today’s events will take place at the downtown Des Moines Marriott. The Borlaug Dialogue will take place Wednesday through Friday. Food security experts from more than three dozen countries will discuss how agriculture will need to adapt to feed the world over the next 50 years.
Over that time, the world’s population is expected to grow by three billion people. "What’s going to have to be done? We don’t produce enough food now to (feed that many people). So, we’re going to be looking at the needed technology, research, education exchange and partnerships," Quinn said. Around 100 teenagers, mostly from Iowa, will attend this week’s activities.
The so-called Youth Institute offers high schoolers an all-expensed paid trip to Des Moines to attend seminars and discuss issued related to food production and security. On Saturday, the students attend the Youth Institute Conference, where they present their own research papers to a panel of World Food Prize Council of Advisors and Laureates.
Cresco, Iowa native Norman Borlaug established the World Food Prize award in 1986 to honor men and women who make a vital contribution to the world’s food supply. Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work to develop disease resistant wheat and transform agricultural production in developing nations.
This year’s $250,000 World Food Prize will be awarded to former U.S. Senators Bob Dole and George McGovern. That ceremony will take place Thursday night at the statehouse. Dole, a Republican, and McGovern, a Democrat, helped create the International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. The program, established in 2000, is credited with providing meals to 22 million children in 41 countries and boosting school attendance by 14 percent.