Dr Kim Johnson started out wanting to disrupt the general perception of agricultural sciences as “a male farmer on a tractor in the middle of a paddock.”
“The agricultural sciences I know is a diverse research field filled with new technology, new ideas and a strong commitment to sustainability,” she says. What she ended up with was Taste of Tomorrow, National Science Week events exploring what nutritious foods we might be eating in the future and what we can do to make food production more sustainable.
“Poor diets are a major cause of health, economic and environmental problems,” explains Johnson. “At the same time, the world’s population is increasing, so there are more mouths to feed. We are inviting people to question the experts on their proposed food security solutions and explore how to eat for a healthy mind, body and planet.”
Johnson, along with Dr David Hoxley and Susan McLeod, have developed the series of free events, featuring 15 experts from across the College of Science, Health and Engineering. Over 900 free boxes of sustainable foods have been distributed to participants so that they can explore how future foods rate for taste, sustainability and nutrition.
It’s La Trobe’s most successful National Science Week contribution to date, promising a fascinating, multidisciplinary conversation on something we all depend on: food.
“We have researchers who understand the relationship between agriculture and the environment,” says Johnson. “We will also be talking to experts about what nutrition our bodies need and how what we eat influences our health. And, we will discuss the ethical and cultural food choices that people make every day.”
The result? Communication that makes research relevant, accountable and valued by the community.
“We’re not asking people to dramatically change everything they do, but to raise awareness of issues around food,” adds Johnson. “We hope that participants will understand the importance of investing in research and that young people will think about careers in agricultural and environmental sciences and nutrition. We need people with a range of different skills and points of view to work together so that we can tackle these global challenges around the future of food.”
Find out more about Taste of Tomorrow.
Learn more about Dr Johnson's research by watching the video below.