On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future held a lunch seminar on ‘The Global Land Rush: The Future of Food, Fuel, and Agricultural Development”. Part of the ‘Pardee House Seminars’ series, the event featured Rachel Nalepa (BU Department of Geography and Environment), Sarah Philips (Department of History) and Mutlu Ozdogan (University of Wisconsin-Madison). The seminar was moderated by Pardee Center Director, ad interim, Prof. James McCann.
Rachel Nalepa is a doctoral student in the Geography and Environment Department at Boston University. She was also a 2010 Pardee Center Summer Fellow. This seminar is based on Rachel’s summer research, which looks at trends in foreign direct investment in land and its implications for the development and food security of rural communities in Africa. She kicked off the seminar by giving an overview of her research and discussed the influx and long-term impacts of foreign direct investment (FDI) in agricultural land developing countries and the complexity of issues surrounding such investments.
Mutlu Ozdogan is Assistant Professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Forest Ecology & Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He discussed the use of geospatial satellite technology to track where changes in land use are and also discussed the environmental impact of FDIs.
Sarah Philips is Assistant Professor of History at Boston University and a Pardee Faculty Fellow. She discussed the history of political power held by farmers and rural communities in the United States during its development in the 20th century as a basis of comparison for what is happening with the global land rush.
Following the presentations the audience engaged in a lively discussion with the panelists. Some of the other issues discussed include the the effect of foreign land investments on domestic food prices and domestic hunger, the effect of the land rush on the environment, the policy response to these foreign direct investment and future implications for the global landscape.