2011 Fall Symposium

HFHL Third Annual Symposium:
Optimizing Food Systems for Human Health

Presented by the University of Minnesota Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Dates: October 10 & 11, 2011
Location: University Hotel Minneapolis (formerly the Radisson Hotel), East Bank, University of Minnesota (October 10) and The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (October 11)
Time: 8 - 4:30 pm

2011 SymposiumConference Summary: This symposium examined the health impacts of current food system practices, from production, through processing, food manufacturing, distribution and consumption. The goal was to identify critical points in the food system where intervention can improve human health, exploring both 'conventional' and 'sustainable' food system approaches. Our goal was to find common purpose, presenting research and best practice case studies that represent the innovative integration of human health research and food system decision-making. Speakers brought together knowledge and expertise from public health, medical science, environmental and natural resource sciences, production agriculture, business and public policy to provide a framework for coordinated, collaborative research and policy.

The first day of the conference (October 10) focused on the research side of these issues, with academic presentations by experts from across the globe and representing many sectors (academia, government, industry, NGOs). On the second day (October 11) we presented best practice case studies representing the applied side of health promotion in the context of food production, delivery and consumption. How are communities engaging in creative strategies to improve their own food environments, and what are industry, academia, government, and non-profits doing to support improved health outcomes across all populations?

This symposium sought to examine the health impacts of current food system approaches and the role the University of Minnesota has to play in finding collaboration from across disciplines within the University and across sectors throughout the state and nation. Therefore, the outcome of this two day symposium was be to build a collaborative framework through which researchers can work with community groups, policy makers, food producers, processers and manufacturers, and public health groups to improve human health through optimizing the food system.

Videos of Day One Presentations


View Day 1 agenda (.pdf)


Video: WELCOME given by ROBERT J. JONES, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, System Academic Administration, University of Minnesota and MINDY S. KURZER, Ph.D., Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute


Video: "The Global Nutrition Transition from Undernutrition to Obesity – Can it be Prevented?" Juan Rivera, Ph.D. , Founding Director, Center for Research in Nutrition and Health, National Institute of Public Health, and Professor of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Mexico


Video: "Where are the Critical Points in the Food System for Improving Public Health?" KATE CLANCY, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, MN Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Visiting Scholar, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Video: "Food Safety Risk Assessment in the EU versus US" –JORDI SERRATOSA, Ph.D., European Food Safety Authority Liaison Officer to FDA 

Video: "Evaluating the Impact of the Food Production and Consumption System on the Environment and Options for Reducing this Impact by Healthy Dietary Choices," HANS BLONK, Founder Blonk Environmental Consultants, Netherlands

Video: "The Role of Food Security & Economic Well‐Being in Promoting Human Health" –MARILYN S. NANNEY, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota

Video: "The Role of the Food Industry in Improving Public Health" – HANK CARDELLO, former food company executive and author of Stuffed

Video: Panel Discussion: What are the critical points in the food system for intervention and how can public health, agriculture, food industry and policy makers collaborate for improvement of human health? What are the priority research questions?


View Day 2 agenda (.pdf)