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American Food 2.0 at the Milan Expo

Food security and nutrition will be featured prominently as part of the USA Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, this year’s iteration of the World’s Fair, which will open to the public on May 1 and run through October 31.
 
The Milan Expo, which has the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” is organized around a central question: How do we feed nine billion people by 2050? The United States will be one of 145 participating countries along with dozens of international and non-governmental organizations that will gather in Northern Italy in a few months. Onsite attendance is expected to exceed 20 million people and millions more will tune in virtually.
 
The design and execution of the USA Pavilion are being coordinated through a public-private partnership that includes the Department of State, the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other federal agencies working in tandem with the “Friends of the USA Pavilion.” The Friends include the James Beard Foundation, the International Culinary Center and the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy. Thinc Design, the same company that created the 9/11 Museum in New York City, is the creative team behind the USA Pavilion.
 
The USA Pavilion, entitled “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” will showcase American leadership on global food issues, including food security and agricultural policy, science and technology, nutrition and health, and culinary culture. It will include high-tech interactive displays including an exhibit that features interviews on Feed the Future, climate-smart agriculture, and other foreign and domestic efforts to combat hunger. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and field-based Feed the Future staff will be among those featured.
 
Along with exhibition spaces, the pavilion will include innovative design features such as a hydroponic wall the size of a football field, a roof garden and an adjacent space for food trucks featuring regional American cuisine. Interactive exhibits will take visitors through the modern American food system, including American farming, policy, cooking, nutrition, economy and business, and research. Each section will represent uniquely American intersections of ingenuity, dedication, investment and infrastructure. A James Beard restaurant in central Milan will showcase highlights of American cuisine and a rotating group of top chefs.
 
The U.S. effort is being led by Commissioner General Doug Hickey, who was appointed by Secretary Kerry on December 1, 2014. In his introductory remarks, Secretary Kerry noted that Hickey, who serves on the board of Catholic Charities, has been focused for some time on the question of feeding people sustainably and nutritiously. Kerry stressed the challenge will grow along with populations and the impact of climate change.
 
The Expo will be more than a collection of pavilions; it will be a hub of activity that will include conferences and seminars on key questions related to food systems, including food production, consumption and sustainability, and serve as a gathering place for leaders from government, business and academia.  
 
Throughout history, the world’s fairs have often offered exciting visions of the future. The USA Pavilion will carry forward that tradition by underscoring U.S. commitment to leadership in the fight to end global hunger.

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