Julian Cribb’s Coming Famine Spearheads AIFST Convention

An action-provoking keynote address by well-known visionary and science communications specialist Julian Cribb headlines the 44th annual Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology convention, to be held 10 – 13 July 2011 in Sydney.

In keeping with the convention’s theme ‘Tackling Tomorrow Today’, Cribb will speak about the major risks to global food security over the coming half century, the implications for food, science, technology and society, and of the effects of a 30 year lack of local investment in agricultural and food science and technology.

Cribb believes the world faces the probability of extreme regional food insecurity by the mid-century unless we take action now on land, water, nutrients, energy, fish, technology and climate instability. One of the challenges he will put to the industry is to help reinvent our cities and food systems so they recycle water, energy and nutrients, to help head off the ‘coming famine’.

He returns to the stage later to present a proposal for a national nutrient plan’, prompting the design of systems that recapture the current phenomenal waste of nutrients by agriculture, processing, retail, foodservice and consumers. He will also speak on the need to totally redesign the Australian diet.

Other speakers at the Food Production Security session include David Barling (City University, London, UK) addressing ‘impact of food policy on food security’, and Alison Bowman (Industry & Investment NSW, Wagga Wagga, NSW) on ‘The value of investing in R&D to secure the food supply’.

The AIFST Convention is co-located with FoodPro at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW Australia.

It opens on Sunday 10 July and concludes Tuesday 12 July, with additional workshops Wednesday 13 July 2011.

For registration details visit www.aifst.com.au. Bookings made before 3 June attract an earlybird rate.


Julian Cribb is the principal of Julian Cribb & Associates, specialists in science communication. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

From 1996-2002 he was Director, National Awareness, for Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO where he oversaw a 150 per cent growth in the organisation’s media profile.

A journalist since 1969, he was editor of the “National Farmer” and “Sunday Independent” newspapers, editor-in-chief of the Australian Rural Times, and chief of the Australian Agricultural News Bureau. For ten years he was agriculture correspondent, science and technology correspondent and scientific editor for The Australian and still writes a regular column for the national daily. He edits Australian R&D Review and ScienceAlert.com.au, the nation’s leading scientific news site.

He has received 32 awards for journalism including the Order of Australia Association Media Prize, the inaugural Eureka Prize for environmental journalism, the inaugural AUSTRADE award for international business journalism, the Dalgety Award for rural journalism, two MBF Awards for medical journalism and five Michael Daley Awards for science journalism.

He was national foundation president of the Australian Science Communicators (ASC), president of the National Rural and Resources Press Club, a member of CSIRO advisory committees for agriculture, fisheries and entomology. He has served as a Director of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Crawford Fund, the Secretariat for International Landcare, CSIRO Publishing, the Australian Minerals and Energy Environment Foundation, the National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon) and the Council of the Academy of technological Sciences & Engineering.

His published work includes more than 8,000 print articles, 1000 broadcasts, 3000 media releases and 400 speeches as well as “The Forgotten Country”, six editions of “Australian Agriculture”, “The White Death”, “Dry Times” and “Open Science”. His most recent book is “The Coming Famine: the global food crisis and what we can do to avoid it”, which explores the issues around food security and the actions by nations and individuals necessary to assure it.

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About Susan Kirk

Susan Kirk is a freelance science journalist, with a degree in journalism and qualifications in horticulture. She has written for many different publications but lately writes extensively for Fairfax media. She wrote a number of the Taste booklets (Global Food and Wine) which showcased Australian produce and producers and even did a stint as a restaurant critique. She loves growing, cooking and consuming food so over the years the interest in ornamental plants turned into an interest in food plants, especially herbs. She is a member of the Media Alliance, and is a member of and the Queensland web editor for the Australian Science Communicators.

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