McGill Experts: Global Food Crisis


The United Nations has described the current global food crisis as having reached emergency proportions. And many experts predict there will be no quick fix. Last year, the food import bill of developing countries rose by 25 per cent as food prices rose to levels not seen in a generation. Corn has doubled in price over the last two years. Wheat has reached its highest price in 28 years. These and other increases have sparked unrest from Haiti to Egypt. The rise in food prices is the result of such diverse factors as a worldwide hike in energy costs and the growth of the middle class in China and India, which has driven demand for meat, which in turn drives the demand for grain for animal feed.

We have put together a comprehensive list of McGill University experts on this broad subject. The list cuts across disciplines like economics and agriculture, geography and philosophy. We urge anyone working on food crisis stories to keep a copy of this list handy and consult it as needed. One day the story could be biofuels; the next, it could be social and economic changes in the Developing World that are having an unintended effect on the world’s food supply. From its Agriculture Faculty to the McGill School of Environment, the University has top academics involved in many of the various aspects of the food crisis.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the McGill Media Relations Office (details below).

Alternative forms of energy and food production
ariel.fenster [at] (Ariel Fenster)
Office for Science and Society, Department of Chemistry
Expertise: Alternative forms of energy, renewable energy, food production, international commerce, ethical issues.
English and French media

Geography/ ecological management
gary.peterson [at] (Garry Peterson)
Professor, Department of Geography, MSE
Expertise: theory and practice of ecological management
English media, French print media

REAP - Resource Efficient Agricultural Production
rsamson [at] (Roger Samson)
Executive Director, REAP Canada (member, McGill Biofuels Network)
Expertise: Biofuels, food security in developing countries, rural development programs, farm production
Tel: 514 -398-4400 x0868
English and French media

Agricultural economics
anwar.naseem [at] (Anwar Naseem)
Professor, Agricultural economics
Expertise: International agricultural development, economics of science and technology developing countries
Tel: 514-398-7825
English media, French print media

john.henning [at] (John Henning)
Program Director, Agricultural economics
Expertise: Economic aspects of ecological/organic farming and food systems, grain marketing and international trade, fuel ethanol production and other industrial applications of agricultural biomass, energy and carbon accounting.
English media, French print media

Human activity and sustainability
navin.ramankutty [at]">Navin Ramankutty
Professor, Department of Geography, Canada Research Chair in Land-Use and Land-Cover Change
Expertise: consequences of human activities for the sustainability of critical ecosystem goods and services. Impacts of human land use and land cover change on the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems, and in turn, the effect of those impacts on the vital services that humans derive from ecosystems.
English media, French print media

Climate change
nigel.roulet [at] (Nigel Roulet)
McGill School of the Environment
Expertise: Climate change, contributing author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the world's climate.
English media, French print media

don.smith [at] [at] (Don Smith)
Chair, Department of Plant Sciences
Expertise: scientific director of the Green Crop Network (GCN) — a network of leading Canadian scientists developing crops that reduce carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, and to create new plants whose conversion to biofuels requires less fossil fuel.
English media, French print media

Environmental and resource economics
paul.thomassin [at] (Paul Thomassin)
Professor, Agricultural economics
Expertise: environmental and resource economics, institutional design of domestic greenhouse gas emission trading, and environmental goods and services, biofuels, price of wheat.
English media, French print media

Soil Quality
guy.mehuys [at] (Guy Mehuys)
Professor, Department of Natural Resource Sciences
Expertise: Soil physics conservation hydrodynamics of wet soils, soil physical conditions and crop growth, use of organic amendments to improve soil quality
English media

Operations Management
tamer.boyaci [at] (Tamer Boyaci)
Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management
Expertise: Supply chain management, sustainability
English media

Environmental ethics
greg.mikkelson [at] (Greg Mikkelson)
Professor, Department of Philosophy, MSE
Expertise: Environmental ethics, ecological economics philosophy and conservation; the links between economic inequality and biodiversity loss
English media

Contact Information

Cynthia Lee
Media Relations Office
cynthia.lee [at]
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