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TALK CANCELLED – Defining Food Security in the Modern World

March 30, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

| Free

Given the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, and following guidance from the University of Maine System and the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this talk has been cancelled. We will try to reschedule for a later date.

Defining Food Security in the Modern World: Nutritional and Food Management Policies in the US, Canada, and Great Britain in the Post-World War Two Era

Speaker: Brian Payne, Associate Professor, Bridgewater State University

When the United Nations released its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals on September 25, 2015, it listed “zero hunger” as its second priority, only after “no poverty.” While many commentators have since noted that these goals marked a significant redirection for the United Nations’ understanding of global development, historians note that ending global hunger has been at the forefront of the United Nations’ mission since the very beginning. In fact, this focus on global food policy goes back to even before the UN was officially established. A delegation of international representatives adopted a basic philosophy for global food management at the Hot Spring Conference in Virginia in June of 1943, two years before the closing of the famous San Francisco meeting in June of 1945.

This talk will present the basic history of international efforts to address global hunger and global food management and trace its historical roots to Progressive-era (1900-1919) and the U.S. New Deal (1932-1941) philosophies of social justice and managed states. It illustrates the interconnectedness of pre-war social reform ideals in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain with post-war global food structures. The goal of the presentation will be to spark a deeper conversation about what impact the idea of “sustainability” has, or may have, on global food policy. Has this new focus on the concept of sustainability changed how nation-states and international agencies approach the question of global food policy? How has sustainability altered the definitions of reoccurring concepts like “food security” and “nutritional and food management,” both core concepts in the United Nations’ global food policy since the very beginning?

Brian Payne is an associate professor of history and Canadian studies at Bridgewater State University. His teaching focuses on US and Canadian economic and environmental history during the industrial era (1877-1939).  Payne received both his MA and PhD from the University of Maine. His first book, Fishing a Borderless Sea: Environmental Territorialism in the North Atlantic, 1818-1910 (MSU Press, 2010) examined how fishermen constructed informal codes of conduct to regulate access to inshore fisheries, which, at times, conflicted with formal law or international diplomacy. In 2016-2017 he held the Fulbright Research Chair at Carleton University in Ottawa. His current research project looks at the influence of “heritage” in river and coastal restoration in New England and Atlantic Canada.


March 30, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Mitchell Center
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107 Norman Smith Hall
Mitchell Center - UMaine
Orono, ME 04469 United States
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