IFSI activities seek to understand food systems, relate food insecurity to specific aspects of those systems, and intervene to improve food system performance. IFSI contributes to improved food security by coordinating activities following a food systems approach, by linking capacity in ACES with other resources of the University of Illinois, by cooperating with industry and institutional partners here and abroad, and by magnifying the impact of discoveries through domestic and international outreach and capacity building.
We implement a four-pronged approach to acheive food security--innovate, empower, educate, and evaluate.
Innovate: Our research efforts with partners around the world seek to identify solutions to complex problems that trap people in poverty and food insecurity. Innovations -- improved soy varieties and better farm equipment for African smallholders, for example--help make good food available and affordable.
Empower: By building the capacity of individuals and institutions, our programs enable people from some of the world’s least food secure regions to find solutions that work in their contexts. For example, rural extension and advisory service systems in Africa and Asia have been enhanced by work of ACES' Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) program.
Educate: Through multiple means -- lectures, seminars, publications, and innovative educational channels and curricula-- IFSI works with partners to inform the public and the scientific and policy communities about problems and progress in the struggle for food security. Our Distinguished International Lecture series brings global leaders in food security to local audiences.
Evaluate: Rigorous evaluation of the impact of interventions to improve food security is a key to progress. For example, our scholars assess the effectiveness of domestic and international food security initiatives such as animal donation in Zambia and food assistance in the U.S.
For more examples of IFSI work to innovate, empower, educate, and evaluate, please visit the Programs and Projects page. For examples of activities to educate see the Office of International Programs Newsletter.