Food Portfolios, Resilient Food Systems and Food Security

Speaker: Dr Xenia Morin # Princeton University and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

4th May 2011

15:30 - 17:00

Seminar room 1.06, Old Surgeons' Hall, HSY


In this talk, I’ll introduce a framework which I call 'food portfolios' for discussion. Thinking about food systems in the context of 'food portfolios' is a concept that gives rise to the idea that in order to assess our food system, and thus, food security, we need to consider what (and who) are actually in the food system and what level of risk or security they offer. Much like a stock portfolio, food portfolios can be diversified or narrow. Where there is diversity, food systems are much more likely to be resilient to shocks in the food system. What is particularly appealing about this framework is that it allows one to consider everything from one's backyard garden to the commodity food market or the thousands of products that move through a supermarket distribution chain. Additionally, the concept can apply at the individual, community or the corporate level. By assessing food portfolios, one can begin to assess food system access, resiliency and thus food security.


Xenia K. Morin is a Lecturer in the Writing Program at Princeton University. In 2005 and in 2007 Dr. Morin began teaching in the Princeton Environmental Institute's Environmental Studies Program. Her interests lie in the interplay between science, technology, and society, particularly in terms of agriculture and food production. She is concerned with a range of issues, from the acceptance of genetically modified foods to the emergence of the organic, local, and slow food movements. Dr. Morin also explores issues such as how to feed the world, food security, hunger and malnutrition, environmentalism and sustainability in agriculture, and the production of biofuels.

Dr. Morin has just recently taken up a new post as the Associate Dean and Liaison for Sponsored Programs at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Morin has a Ph.D. in plant biochemistry from Cornell University and has performed post-doctoral research at EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany, The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, and at Bryn Mawr College.