January 15, 2019
It was delightful to welcome Raj Shah to the ASU DC campus and interview him about the work of the Rockefeller Foundation and his insights on how we meet the challenge of achieving global food security. You can watch the entire interview here.
I first met Raj when we served together in the Obama Administration. He was the first Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics at USDA but was eventually kicked upstairs, as they say, to be Administrator of USAID. Raj has had a marvelous career and so it was not surprising to find our 8th floor pavilion full of people engaged in international development anxious to hear what he had to say.
One thing we talked about is the power of “food systems” as the organizing frame for conceiving solutions to food and agriculture challenges. I have found increasing recognition that food systems analysis can lead to better decision-making by policymakers and other actors seeking to understand potential trade-offs of proposed interventions, technologies, and policies by taking into account the many aspects of food and agriculture typically studied -- agricultural land, inputs, fisheries, infrastructure, labor, and the like -- and placing these component parts within an integrated social and environmental context.