Food security and sustainable food systems expert to give ISU's Hilton Chair lecture

AMES, Iowa -- As food recalls and natural disasters affecting the food supply continue to make headlines, an expert in community food security and sustainable food systems will visit the Iowa State University campus this month to discuss related issues and solutions.

Michael Hamm, the C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University and head of the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU, is the 2011-2012 Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Endowed Chair in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State.

As Hilton Chair, Hamm will deliver a free, public lecture on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The lecture will focus on U.S. food and farm policy and how it can build the economy and national security by ensuring public health.

Hamm will also serve as a speaker in the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach's Current Issues in Nutrition series webinar in February. He will deliver a keynote address at an ISU Nutrition and Wellness Research Center symposium on sustaining health in a changing environment, May 16-18, at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

"I actually think what we've seen and continue to see is that if we're going to have a sustainable food system in this country, it's not just about the production, and it's not just about the distribution. It's also about what people eat on a daily basis," Hamm said during a lecture earlier this month. "And part of what people eat on a daily basis is incredibly dependent on what they have access to in the marketplace and in the area surrounding their houses where they live. And unless we focus on that access piece of it, the rest of it is going to be very difficult to achieve."

In October, Hamm participated in the Iowa Hunger Summit with students from the ISU community nutrition class and talked with them about issues of world hunger. While visiting campus as the Hilton Chair, Hamm serves as a guest lecturer in classes and interacts with students.

Hamm heads the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems, which focuses on the viability of small and medium scale family farms, equal access by all members of a community to a healthy diet, and dispersion of animals in the countryside. He serves on the Michigan Food Policy Council and also co-founded and directed the New Jersey Urban Ecology Program, an effort that brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds to address sustainable food systems in New Jersey.

Established in 1995, the Hilton Chair was endowed by a gift of more than $1.3 million from the estate of Helen LeBaron Hilton, who served as dean of the College of Home Economics from 1952 to 1975. That college is now part of the College of Human Sciences.

More information is available online.