Stanford-Cargill partnership strengthens to address food security issues


Deputy director Walter Falcon (l) with Gates Foundation's Jeff Raikes (c) and Cargill's Greg Page (r) at FSE's inaugural Global Food Policy and Food Security Symposium series.

Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSE) has received a $2 million grant from Cargill, a second gift from the company that raises its total contribution to FSE to $5 million over 10 years.

The announcement was made Nov. 10 at a dinner celebrating the launch of FSE as a full-scale research center. FSE has more than doubled in size in five years. Because of its growth and increasing importance of food security issues at Stanford and worldwide, it became an official center in September.

“The center’s rapid growth would not have been possible without the generous support of Cargill,” FSE Director and William Wrigley Senior Fellow Rosamond L. Naylor said. “Cargill’s initial investment provided seed-funding for the bold, new research and teaching that was happening at FSE while keeping our lights on and the staff running during our critical years of early development.”

A $3 million grant from Cargill in 2008 jump-started a visiting fellows program at FSE and helped build the infrastructure to support the center’s research.

The new grant will continue to provide program support, but will also be used to hire younger faculty and scholars to Stanford to work within the new Center.

Stanford-Cargill partnership

Stanford's partnership with Cargill extends back to 1976 when Cargill endowed Walter P. Falcon, then Director of Stanford's Food Research Institute and now FSE Deputy Director, with the Helen C. Farnsworth Professorship in International Agricultural Policy. The gift was intended to strengthen Stanford's work in agricultural policy, specifically as it relates to the international grain economy. FSI senior fellow Scott Rozelle now holds the Helen C. Farnsworth chair.

FSE and Cargill remain committed to helping feed a growing population while preserving the planet's natural resources. FSE is an applied group focused on providing real solutions to important food and agricultural issues.

“Poverty is the main issue driving food insecurity—it’s a question of access rather than food availability,” Naylor said.

FSE’s partnership with Cargill has demonstrated how Stanford-based research can be relevant to the private sector. FSE is conducting ongoing research on oil palm and land use issues in Indonesia that is helping inform and shape policy. Work on aquaculture feeds in China is another overlapping area of interest, as are ongoing assessments of biofuels in the U.S., Africa and Asia. Both have a stake in better understanding climate change impacts on agriculture and food commodity price volatility.

“It is clear to us at FSE—and increasingly to leadership of Stanford—that global food security will remain a critical issue within international policy circles,” said Naylor. “With support like the grant from Cargill, we are confident that Stanford can play a leading role in shaping the future policy discourse.”