Join the Experts. Get Involved. Move the Planet Forward.


Thank you for joining us for the 2015 Feeding The Planet Summit!

Produced by The George Washington University's Planet Forward, the two-day Feeding The Planet Summit brought together college students, innovators, policymakers and storytellers to discuss and share the story of climate change, food and agriculture. Participants presented new ideas, identified climate and food challenges, and told stories of innovations and solutions.

Summit Agenda

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Keynotes, Panel Sessions and Storyfest
Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st St. NW

Morning Session: The Story of Climate Change and Food

Topic: Tomorrow's leaders kick off the Summit with their stories of why they're exploring innovations in food and agriculture and storytelling.

  • Eva Moss, Student, Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Benji Miller and Tommy Hyde, Host and Cinematographer, ‘Travels With Benji’
  • Sumner Byrne, Student, The George Washington University
  • KinoSol project - Ella Gehrke, KinoSol Co-Founder, Students, Iowa State University

8:35 a.m. - WELCOME
Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, GWU; Founder, Planet Forward

8:45 a.m. - KEYNOTE: The Future of Food
Topic: How can we feed the 9 billion people the world will have by 2050? We'll need more food, more water and more energy — and to get there, we'll need more innovative ideas in food and agriculture.
Speaker: Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, USDA

9 a.m. - DYNAMIC DIALOGUE: Snapshots from the Food Chain
Topic: A quick-moving, successive panel of one-on-one interviews. Students, policymakers, business leaders, farmers and climatologists will interview each other, telling their stories, revealing their expertise.

  • MODERATOR: Devin Greene, Digital Media Editor, Planet Forward
  • Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability, GWU
  • Michael La Cour, Global Head, IKEA Food
  • Jim Buizer, Professor and Director of the Climate Adaptation and International Development Program in the Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona
  • Emily Best, Apprentice Farmer, New Morning Farm
  • Brittany Watts, Student, Columbia University
  • Zazil Davis-Vasquez, Student, University of Arizona

9:35 a.m. - CONVERSATION with a Hunger Fighter
Topic: In the fight against hunger and poverty, we will hear stories and experiences from Rep. Jim McGovern and learn how he’s using policy and activism to spread the word.
Speaker: Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Representative, U.S. House of Representatives

9:45 a.m. - PANEL: The Next Generation of Hunger Fighters
Topic: McGovern will then interview the next generation of hunger-fighters and discuss their stories and ideas.

  • MODERATOR: Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Representative, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Maria Rose Belding, Founder/Director, MEANS Database; Student, American University
  • Elise Kendall, KinoSol Co-Founder, Student, Iowa State University
  • Gary Klopfenstein, Student, Ohio State University

10 a.m. - CONVERSATION: Farmers, Science and the Sustainability Story
Topic: We'll discuss the intersection of why farmers need technology and how we ensure those tools are effective, efficient and sustainable.

  • MODERATOR: Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, GWU; Founder, Planet Forward
  • Michael J. Frank, Vice President, Global Commercial, Monsanto Company

10:20 a.m. - BREAK

Mid-Day Session: The Story of Innovation to Address Climate Change and Food

10:40 a.m. - WELCOME BACK
Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, GWU; Founder, Planet Forward

10:50 a.m. - SPOTLIGHT: Sustainable Agriculture at 10,000 Feet
Topic: Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey grads Adam Stieglitz and Aaron Ebner will share their solution to the problem of malnutrition and challenging climate conditions at 10,000-plus feet above sea level in Peru.

  • Adam Stieglitz, Co-Founder and Executive Director, The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development
  • Aaron Ebner, Co-Founder and Director, The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development

11 a.m. - Q&A: What To Know About Climate, Food and Storytelling
Topic: As a former congressman and former chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Glickman will explore the stories that capture the attention of America around food security and agriculture.
Speaker: Dan Glickman, Former Secretary of Agriculture

11:10 a.m. - PANEL: Gender, Poverty and Food, How Climate Makes It Worse
Topic: Panelists will explore how climate "makes it worse," with women facing inequalities such as time and labor constraints, domestic violence and rape, lack of security during common tasks, land ownership laws and the tendency to let men control financial decisions. These challenges only intensify with poverty, lack of education and a rural environment.

  • MODERATOR: Tara Sonenshine, Coordinator for Global Partnerships, Planet Forward
  • Jolyne Sanjak, Executive Director, Land Alliance, Inc.
  • Aviram Rozin, International Director, Sadhana Forest
  • Ram Fishman, Assistant Professor of Economics, GWU
  • Imani M. Cheers, Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs, GWU
  • Eva Moss, Student, Sewanee: The University of the South

11:40 a.m. - PANEL: The Story of Innovation and Food
Topic: From drones to anaerobic digesters to methods to control farm runoff, agriculture is at the pinnacle of technology and is leading the way in managing a changing climate. This panel with bring together innovators from every layer of the food system to discuss how we feed a planet for 9 billion people.

  • MODERATOR: Julie Borlaug, Associate Director for External Relations, Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Texas A&M
  • Phil Ferguson, Vice President of Product Development, PrecisionHawk
  • David Hollinrake, Vice President of Agricultural Commercial Operations Marketing, Bayer CropScience
  • Sue McCloskey, Creative Director, Fair Oaks Farms
  • Jacqueline McCloskey, Student, GWU
  • Pete Johnson, Farmer, Pete’s Greens

12:15 p.m. - LUNCH: Food, Farmers and a CEO: How We'll All Feed the World
Sponsored by Land O'Lakes, Inc.

  • Steven Knapp, President, GWU
  • Chris Policinski, President and CEO, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
  • Oswin Chackochan, Student, Purdue University
  • Mandi Egeland, Student, University of Minnesota 
  • Anna Sumi, Student, The George Washington University

Afternoon Session: Tools to Tell Your Food Story

1:30 p.m. - WELCOME BACK
Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, GWU; Founder, Planet Forward

1:40 p.m. - SPOTLIGHT: Tomorrow’s Food, Tomorrow’s Farmers
Topic: Ramaswamy will explore how policy can help support the next generation of food producers, as they seek to address hunger and malnutrition while managing the issues of poverty, energy, climate change and water conservation.
Speaker: Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture

1:50 p.m. - CONVERSATION: Stories from Next Gen Farmers
Topic: The next generation of farmers will share their efforts to engage their generation about sustainable farming, climate change and more.

  • MODERATOR: Bryan Monroe, Journalist
  • Greg Peterson, Farmer and Video Producer, Peterson Farm Bros.
  • Emily Best, Apprentice Farmer, New Morning Farm
  • Melanie Heckt, Student, University of Minnesota
  • Simon Itle, Student, Pennsylvania State University

2:15 p.m. - STORYFEST: Using Media To Make a Difference
Topic: Storyfest will discuss the importance of storytelling in "The Age of Climate Change" and shares the most effective ways to tell these stories to make them compelling, memorable and to spark action. We will review the best entries in our Storyfest contest and highlight the exceptional ideas and presentations, leading up to the announcement of the winners of the UN-FAO / GW Planet Forward Innovation Award - a $500 prize and a trip to Rome with Planet Forward Founder Frank Sesno to share the winning story with leaders at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations headquarters in Rome.

  • MODERATOR: Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs
  • Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank
  • Mitch Gelman, Vice President of Product - Gannett Digital, Gannett, Co.
  • Adam Conner, Vice President of Politics, Brigade Media
  • Imani M. Cheers, Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs, GWU
  • Francesco Fiondella, Head of Communications for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University

2:55 p.m. - CALL TO ACTION: Powerful Stories to Move the Planet Forward
Speaker: Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, GWU; Founder, Planet Forward

3 p.m. - ADJOURN from JMA

Evening Session: Food + Innovation = Action

3:30 p.m. - Food + Innovation Networking Reception
Co-Sponsored by the GW Solar Institute
Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW

Please see program for restaurant recommendations


Friday, April 24, 2015

Breakout Sessions for Consortium Students
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
House of Sweden
2900 K St. NW

Attend the Summit


Jack Morton Auditorium
805 21st Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

April 23 & 24, 2015

Contact Us

Planet Forward
summit @ planetforward . org

Attend the Summit