2023 Future of Food Forum (2023)

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Transforming Food Systems with Artificial Intelligence

March 20, 2023
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

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The Future of Food Forum promises to be an exciting one-day gathering, on March 20, 2023, presented by the Global Food Systems Institute at the University of Florida. This Forum will bring together great thinkers—academics, students, business leaders, farmers, growers, and policymakers—researching and implementing innovative ways to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) to transform food systems.

Join us as we explore the power of AI to transform the agricultural and food industries locally to globally. You will gain current ideas and perspectives from some of today’s thought leaders on how AI can be implemented into improving food systems.

The Program

Our speakers and panelists will discuss how alternative intelligence can be applied to agriculture to solve some of the most pressing issues of our time, with panels answering questions such as:

  • How can AI assist us in creating crisis-proof food systems?
  • How can AI assist us in creating climate-friendly food systems?
  • How can AI assist us in preserving biological diversity?
  • How can AI assist us to improve collaboration for sustainable global food systems?

Certified Sustainable Event

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We are proud to share that the forum has received the Green-Level Certification: the highest level of effort taken toward sustainability granted by the UF Office of Sustainablity.

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Registration Information

Registration for this event is limited with registrations accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration payment must be received to secure a space.

What does the fee include?

The registration fee includes access to all program sessions, light morning refreshments, lunch, and the afternoon break.

Regular Registration$60
Student Registration$10

Refund Policy

The registration fee is non-refundable. However, you may make substitutions until March 13, 2023 by contacting Kimberly Brand.

Special Needs

Participants with special needs can be reasonably accommodated by contacting Jennifer Johnson at least 30 days prior to the conference. She can be reached by email at johnsonjennifer1@ufl.edu, by phone at (352) 294-1014 or by calling 711 TTY/TDD.

Register Now »

Registration FAQs

You should receive a receipt or invoice via your email. Upon completing registration online, a copy of the confirmation is automatically emailed to the address listed in your attendee profile. This confirmation serves as your receipt or as an invoice for the balance due. If you have strict spam filters, your confirmation may not have reached you. If you cannot locate your confirmation, please email Kimberly Brand to request a copy.

No, your registration is not marked as complete until your form of payment has been submitted. If sending a check or deferring payment, you are considered registered as long as the “check” or “invoice” option has been selected and submitted. Registration is complete once you arrive at the confirmation screen and receive a copy of the confirmation in your email.

Yes, in order to defer payment, you will need to select the invoice option when prompted for payment. This will allow you to register your attendance while providing the flexibility to pay by check at a later date. You may also contact the registration office at 352.392.5930 with credit or p-card information once travel funds are authorized.

There are no cancellations or refunds, only substitutions. If you are unable to attend, please inform the Forum organizers for planning purposes. Substitutions will only be allowed until March 13, 2023.

You can email Kimberly Brand for assistance.

Venue Information

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Parking & Directions

Address: 655 Reitz Union Drive, Gainesville, FL 32603

Note: There is a campus-wide speed limit of 20 miles per hour.

We recommend parking in the UF Welcome Center & Parking Garage located on Museum Road. There is a daily fee of $6.00 to park in this garage. Visitors should park on the lower level of the Reitz Union parking garage and then follow payment instructions posted on signs at each space. These signs direct customers to one of four pay stations where electronic space meters accept payment in bills, coins or Visa and MasterCard. An attendant will be available to answer questions or assist you at the pay stations. If you are staying at the Reitz Union Hotel, you will receive parking privileges in the garage for one vehicle per room.

Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 4:30pm. Short-term and daily fees apply during this time. The garage may be used during non-operating hours for short-term parking, free of charge.

Directions to the UF Welcome Center & Parking Garage

Information about the UF Welcome Center & Parking Garage

Nearby Hotels

There are several hotels and motels in the Gainesville area available to accommodate your lodging needs:

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AC Hotel Gainesville Downtown

151 NW 14th Street
Gainesville, Florida

Visit Website »

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Aloft Gainesville University Area

3743 Hull Road
Gainesville, Florida

Visit Website »

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Holiday Inn University Center

1250 W University Avenue
Gainesville, Florida

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Travel Information

Plan ahead and start now. The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs website has the information you need. Visitors planning to visit or attend a meeting most likely will apply for the visa category B-1. Check the estimated wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview appointment at a US Embassy or Consulate. Some visa processes can take anywhere from 4-6 months.

Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV)
30 minutes from UF campus by car.

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
1.5 hours from Gainesville by car.

Orlando International Airport (MCO)
2 hours from Gainesville by car. Roads have tolls.

Tampa International Airport (TPA)
2 hours from Gainesville by car.

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Nearby Attractions

Gainesville, Florida is 'Where Nature and Culture Meet'! If you're looking for things to do and see while you are visiting, they have plenty of information and tips for your adventures! Here are some suggestions:

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The Florida Museum of Natural History

The Florida Museum of Natural History inspires people to value the biological richness and cultural heritage of our diverse world and make a positive difference in its future.

Visit Website

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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Nowhere else in Florida can visitors experience wild-roaming bison and horses. Nearly 300 species of birds also frequent the park along with alligators, deer and many other animals.

Visit Website

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Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is a man-made wetland habitat of more than 125 acres, filled with vast numbers of flora and fauna.

Visit Website

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Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention

Modern museum from the inventor of Gatorade featuring interactive science & technology exhibits.

Visit Website

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Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens (Gainesville, Florida) is a 68 acre facility comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway.

Visit Website

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Local Breweries

Gainesville has a vibrant craft beer culture with local favorites such as Swamp Head Brewery, First Magnitude Brewing Company, Cypress & Grove Brewing Company, and Blackadder Brewing Company.

Kent Fuchs

President, University of Florida

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Dr. Fuchs became the 12th President of the University of Florida (UF) in January 2015. Under President Fuchs leadership, the university has developed shared goals for the decade ahead. UFs overarching aspiration is to be a premier comprehensive research university that the state, nation and world look to for leadership. Previous to the UF presidency, Fuchs was provost of Cornell University, where he also served as Cornells Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering. He joined Cornell from Purdue University, where he headed the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and was the Michael J. and Katherine R. Birck Distinguished Professor. He started his academic career at the University of Illinois where he was a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and has received numerous awards for teaching and research. Fuchs earned his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Duke University. Dr. Fuchs has set UF on a path to joining the top-five public research universities and becoming the nation’s number one university for comprehensive excellence. UF is working toward those goals through the creation of 500 new faculty positions, the addition of advanced and beautiful university facilities and an ongoing $3 billion fundraising campaign.


Keynote Speaker

Chief Executive Officer, Syngenta Group

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J. Erik Fyrwald joined the Syngenta Group, one of the world’s leading agriculture companies, in June 2016 as Chief Executive Officer. Erik Fyrwald served as chief executive officer of Univar, a leading distributor of chemistry and related services, from May 2012 until May 2016. In 2008, following a 27-year career at DuPont, he joined the Nalco Company, a leading water treatment products and services company, serving as chairman and chief executive officer until December 2011, when Nalco merged with Ecolab Inc. Following the merger, Erik Fyrwald served as president of Ecolab, a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies. From 2003 to 2008, Erik Fyrwald served as group vice president of the agriculture and nutrition division at the DuPont Company. From 2000 until 2003, he was vice president and general manager of DuPont’s nutrition and health business. Erik Fyrwald attended the University of Delaware, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1981. He also completed the advanced management program at Harvard Business School. Erik Fyrwald serves on the boards of directors of Syngenta Group, Bunge, CropLife International, Eli Lilly, the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and the UN World Food Program Farm to Market Initiative. He is also Chairman of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.


Grower and Co-Chair, Solutions from the Land and Former Secretary of the California Department of Agriculture

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A.G. Kawamura is a third generation produce grower and shipper from Orange County, California. From 2003 to 2010 he was the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He is founding co-chair of Solutions from the Land (SFL), a nationally recognized non-profit that is developing innovative and sustainable climate smart collaborations for 21st century agriculture. He serves on several boards and committees including: The Farm Foundation Board; Roots of Peace Board; Western Growers Association Board and former chair; Cal State University Agricultural Research Institute Board; Ag Advisory Committee for the Chicago Council.

For over 40 years Mr. Kawamura has pursued a lifelong goal to work towards an end to hunger and malnutrition. Locally, he is founding chair of Solutions For Urban Ag (SFUA.org). For over 30 years he has worked closely with Second Harvest Food Bank to create exciting urban ag projects that focus on nutrition, hunger, education and advanced food systems. As a progressive farmer, Mr. Kawamura has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California. A.G. graduated with a BA from UC Berkeley.


Program Director and Campus Food Systems Coordinator, UF Field & Fork Program

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Prizzia oversees the Field & Fork Program and works as the campus food systems coordinator for the University of Florida. She has 15 years of experience in sustainability and food system efforts, including working as statewide coordinator for the Florida Farm to School Program, management of sustainability efforts with institutional food service at UF, and serving on the boards of Slow Food Gainesville and the Alachua County Nutrition Alliance. She currently serves an Alachua County Commissioner for District 3. Prizzia was the president of the board (2012-2020) and co-founder for Working Food (formerly Forage), a non-profit focused on supporting and sustaining local food efforts in North Central Florida. She received her B.S. in marine biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and her M.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation with a certificate in Tropical Conservation and Development from the University of Florida. She served in the Peace Corps at Vanuatu from 2004 to 2005.


Dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition

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Dr. R. Elaine Turner is the Dean of the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, where she provides leadership for academic programs across the 16 departments and schools that comprise UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Serving more than 6,600 students in 23 undergraduate and 25 graduate majors, CALS is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive colleges of its kind. Turner earned her undergraduate degree in dietetics from Kansas State University before earning her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in nutrition from Purdue University. She served as faculty at Clemson University for 10 years before joining the UF faculty in 1996 in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. With a strong commitment to promoting excellence in teaching and academic advising, Turner has taught undergraduate courses in introductory and life cycle nutrition, collaborated in the development and teaching of a dietary supplements graduate course, created distance learning courses, and coauthored two popular introductory nutrition textbooks, both of which were endorsed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). Turner has received numerous awards from organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture and North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, for her excellence in teaching and advising. She also received the Morton Wolfson Faculty Award for Outstanding Service to UF Students in 2009. Prior to her appointment as dean in April 2014, Turner served the college as associate dean and senior associate dean.


Board of Directors, Lipman Family Farms

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Jaime is a lifelong Florida resident who grew up in Southwest Florida. He is a 4th generation Lipman family member, currently serves on the Board of Directors at Lipman, and is also the Director of Community and Government Relations for the company. Lipman is the largest open field grower and distributor of fresh tomatoes in North America with over 50 locations throughout the country, including greenhouse growing operations in Canada. He has held various roles with the company over his 22 year career and presently manages the company’s real estate holdings as well.

Jaime sits on a number of industry and non-profit governing boards. In August of 2017, he was appointed by Governor Rick Scott as one of 9 members of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District. He also serves on the Government Relations Committee with the United Fresh Produce Association and Florida Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association respectively. In his community role, Jaime is a member of the executive board of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), FGCU’s Athletic Advisory Council, Naples Botanical Gardens, and the Taste of Immokalee executive board. He is proud to have led Lipman’s annual backpack giveaway events that have raised over $200,000 and distributed over 10,000 school kits to students in Collier County over the last 8 years.


Research Director, Ellinbank Dairy Research Australia

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Joe Jacobs is the Research Director for Animal Production Sciences within Agriculture Victoria Research and leads the implementation of the Ellinbank SmartFarm.

His current research interests include developing novel feed-based systems using a range of alternative forages, improving feeding systems in a grazing context for dairy and livestock production, use of sensor technologies to measure and manage pasture and developing mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change. He is author to over 130 papers in refereed scientific journals. Joe is internationally recognized as an expert in all aspects of silage making and feeding, forage agronomy and in forage-animal interactions. He is an experienced applied research scientist with skills in farming systems research.

Agriculture Victoria Research aims to achieve carbon neutrality at the Ellinbank SmartFarm using offset and mitigation strategies to demonstrate management practices and innovative technologies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2026.


Professor and Chair, UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE)

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Dr. Migliaccio is Professor and Chair of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) at the University of Florida (UF) and a Professional Engineer in the State of Florida. She has a BS in Agricultural Engineering (1997) from Texas A&M University, MS in Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering (1999) from University of Kentucky, and a PhD in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (2005) from University of Arkansas. As a faculty member, Dr. Migliaccio focused on hydrology and water conservation with a research, teaching, and extension appointment. She published one book, 11 book chapters, and 77 refereed publications. Dr. Migliaccio currently leads the UF ABE department, which is national ranked by USNWR, 3rd in graduate programs and 7th in undergraduate programs. The department includes over 30 faculty and 20 staff, with academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Dr. Migliaccio also contributes to leadership efforts with ASABE’s Circular Food and Agricultural Systems initiative and the Artificial Intelligence Initiative at UF. She has received awards including a 2019 ASABE President’s Citation for Leadership in forming the Journal Editor and Chief Position and a 2020 ASABE President’s Citation for Leadership in forming the ASABE E-03 IDEA Committee. Other recent recognitions include the 2017 Recognition of Excellence in Extension by Southern Region Extension Directors, 2018 UF Research Foundation Professor, 2020 Outstanding Professional Award from University of Kentucky Biosystems Engineering Department, and the 2021 UF/IFAS Culture of Nominations Award.


Professor, UF/IFAS Soil and Water Sciences

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Maria-Lucia Silveira is a Professor in Soil and Water Science at the University of Florida (UF), Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, FL. She joined UF in August, 2006. She received her PhD degree in Soil Science from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She investigates the cycling of nutrients in soil-plant-water in grassland ecosystems. Her research interest includes environmental soil chemistry, nutrient management, and environmental services associated with cultivated and native grasslands. She works closely with farmers, county extension faculties, and regulatory agencies and her educational efforts are focused on promoting education programs that highlight the importance of sustainable use of soil and water resources. She has authored 120 peer-reviewed publications in top tier scientific journals, 89 extension articles, and more than 137 abstracts in national and international meetings. Her program has attracted over 6.2 million dollars in grants. Dr. Silveira is a member of the Soil Science Society of America, America Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and currently serve as an Associate Editor for Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and the chair of the USDA W4170 multistate research project entitled “Beneficial use of residuals to improve soil health and protect public, and ecosystem health”. Dr. SIlveira is actively engaged in graduate student training serving as the chair of 4 MS and 6 PhD students and more than 30 graduate student committees. She has received numerous awards including UF Research Foundation Professor, UF High Impact Publication, and Florida Cattlemen’s Association Research of the Year Award.

Pedro Sanchez

Research Professor, UF/IFAS Soil and Water Sciences Department

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Born and raised in Cuba, where he worked in his family´s farm, he obtained BS, MS and PhD degrees at Cornell University. Sánchez worked for the next 50 years alternating between American universities and CGIAR's international research centers, starting with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. As faculty at North Carolina State University, he brought the rice green revolution to Peru and coordinated the Tropical Soils Research Program, working in the Cerrado of Brazil to make acid tropical soils productive, and in the amazon of Peru in search of alternatives to slash and burn agriculture. He then joined the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, where he led the Tropical Pastures Program. Upon returning to North Carolina State, he expanded the Tropical Soils Research Program to Southeast Asia and Africa. In 1991 he joined the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya, as director general. After ten years at ICRAF, he spent a sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley and then joined Columbia University's Earth Institute in New York City, where he led the United Nations Hunger Task Force and the Millennium Villages Project, working in 12 African countries. After 14 years at Columbia he joined the University of Florida, where he currently works as a research professor of tropical soils and faculty member of the Food Systems Institute. In 2016, President Obama appointed him to the President´s Committee on the National Medal of Science. The second edition of his well-known book on tropical soils “Properties and Management of Soils in the Tropics” was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019 and its translation into Spanish, Portuguese, French and Chinese is in progress.

He won the World Food Prize in 2002, became a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2004 and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2012 whose president indicated that "Sánchez has led path-breaking research on soil management for improved food production in the tropical world. His work has influenced research in agronomy, ecology, and changed the way technology is used to increase food production.” On July 4, 2021, the New York Times published the list of “Great Immigrants, Great Citizens” selected by the Carnegie Foundation, which included Pedro Sanchez.


President, Waste To Syngas Circularity

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Mike Ferrari is President of the Consortium For Waste To Syngas Circularity. A non-profit focusing on science based solutions to return waste into an endless loop of circularity. Mike is growing the Consortium attracting industry members to align on the environmentally responsible transformation to create a world without waste. Mike was recruited to The Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati, OH upon completing graduation from the University of Florida, BSME ’78. He completed a successful 32 yr. career as a Global R&D Assoc. Director including 6.5 years as an international manager living in Germany. He delivered initiatives to the marketplace for some of the world’s leading billion dollar brands. He is the sole and co-inventor of several patents and winner of the prestigious 2009 and 2010 DuPont Global Packaging Innovation Award. Upon retirement from Procter & Gamble, Mike founded Ferrari Innovation Solutions, LLC, coaching consumer product companies to delight consumers and grow their brands through packaging innovation. Mike is a guest lecture professor at the University of Florida to the Packaging Engineering program teaching “Consumer Driven Innovation Methodology”. Mike is now enjoying the ocean breeze and life in the Florida Keys sharing a message of environmental responsibility.


Professor, UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences

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Dr. Nicolas DiLorenzo received his degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, in 2002. He obtained his Masters and PhD degrees in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. From 2008 to 2010 DiLorenzo worked as a postdoctoral Research Associate at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. In 2010 he joined the University of Florida, at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016, and to Professor in 2021. His primary research and extension interests are in the area of beef cattle nutrition, with the objective of improving the efficiency of use of forages and byproducts, minimizing the environmental impact. His research focuses on ruminal metabolism and fermentation, emissions of greenhouse gases, and nutrient use efficiency in livestock systems. His Extension activities include the coordination of the Florida Bull Test with the objective of improving beef cattle genetics in the southeast.


Director of Innovation, EIT Food

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Paola Giavedoni is Director of Innovation and Member of the Management Board at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Food). Paola owns a master’s degree in food science and a PhD in food biotechnology. She has over 25 years international experience in the agrifood industry, where she held different leadership roles in R&D and Innovation at corporate level (Unilever, Chiquita Brands Int. and Migros Industry). Paola collaborated with the Mass-Challenge Switzerland and the Kickstart Zurich accelerator programs as judge and mentor. She was member of the Industry board at the Integrative Food and Nutrition Centre (IFNC), of the Polytechnic of Lausanne (EFPL).


Executive Vice President, Elanco International

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Ramiro Cabral serves as executive vice president, president, Elanco International. In this role, he leads Elanco’s international commercial operations.

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Ramiro brings a lifetime of global experience across diverse portfolios of animal health to his position. In over twenty years with Elanco, he has been a valuable member of the Elanco team, serving in roles including technical sales at Elanco Argentina, global marketing manager, beef business unit director in the U.S. affiliate and affiliate director at Elanco Canada. Prior to joining Elanco, he worked on his family’s farm and served as a consultant in the veterinary and agribusiness industries.

Ramiro earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree at UNICEN, Argentina in 1995 and a Master of Business Administration from Purdue University in 2005.


UF/IFAS Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

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Robert Gilbert is the UF/IFAS Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of UF/IFAS. He became dean in January 2019 and is responsible for overseeing the research mission and administration. His office manages more than $9 million in resources that are used to strengthen the capacity and innovation of UF/IFAS research.

Dr. Gilbert holds a B.A. in biology from Carleton College, an M.S. in agronomy from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in soil science from Texas A&M University. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship with The Rockefeller Foundation in Malawi, he joined the agronomy faculty at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, FL in 2000. He then became the Center Director until 2014 when he was appointed as the Agronomy Department Chair on UF’s main campus.

He is extremely supportive of international research collaborations and the depth and breadth they bring to faculty programs but realizes that these collaborations often have logistical challenges. He oversees the UF/IFAS International Support Team, an office conceived in September 2018 and housed within the research suite in McCarty Hall D.

His past research experience has focused on breeding sugarcane varieties and working with stakeholders to improve one of South Florida’s signature crops. He has co-authored 88 refereed journal publications, developed 33 sugarcane cultivars, and presented at 17 international meetings.

His administrative philosophy has always been to hire the best faculty and staff possible and then facilitate their success by providing straightforward annual metrics, devoting resources to promising initiatives, and supporting training and mentorship opportunities.


Program Director, Circular and Climate Neutral Society, Wageningen University

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Dr. Saskia Visser is program director of the knowledge development program: Circular and Climate Neutral Society (Wageningen-UR). Saskia builds partnerships that jointly seek for circular and climate neutral solutions that contribute to the realization of the SGDs. She makes use of the theory of transition management for the large scale implementation of circular and climate neutral solutions. Within the organization Saskia works on topics like Circular agriculture, Sustainable Food Production, Climate Smart Land Management and Land Use optimization. Saskia is currently co-coordinator of the European Joint Program on Agricultural Soils under climate Change.


Senior Vice President, UF/IFAS

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Dr. J. Scott Angle has served as the University of Florida’s vice president for agriculture and natural resources and led the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences since July 2020. He previously led the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, where he helped establish funding priorities for agriculture and natural resources research. He has also done extensive work in Africa and Asia as president and CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center, a non-profit that delivers sustainable solutions for soil health, food security and livelihoods.

Dr. Angle’s tenure at UF/IFAS has so far been highlighted by an investment in artificial intelligence applied to agriculture and natural resource science, expansion of experiential learning, a commitment to a more diverse faculty, staff and student body, and the prioritizing of research focused on monitoring and increasing ecosystems services delivered by the state’s agricultural landscapes.


Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

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Dr. Ziynet Boz is an Assistant Professor, Sustainable Food Systems Engineering at the University of Florida (UF), Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE). Her background includes education and research in food engineering, food process engineering and modeling, and packaging. After completion of her Ph.D. and postdoctoral research at the ABE at UF as a Fulbright scholar until joining as a faculty in 2020, she had worked as a senior research consultant at the Packaging Technology and Research LLC. In this role, she mainly focused on sustainability and food loss and waste reduction through packaging technologies and became committed to tackling sustainability issues in the food industry. Her current research addresses food loss and waste mitigation strategies and solutions at various value chain members (E.g., retail and consumer) through processing and packaging, valorization of waste into bioproducts, optimization, and digitalization to improve sustainability and shelf-life of food systems, and the assessment of environmental sustainability through Life Cycle Assessment. She is also active in various circular economy concepts and applications in the food industry such as reusable food packaging and committed to training the next generation of agri-food professional workforce on circularity and sustainability concepts. Dr. Boz currently serves as the chair of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Sustainable Food Systems Division, and as the Editorial Board member of the Journal of Food Science.

Cheryl Palm

Associate Director, Food Systems Institute and Professor, UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

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Dr. Cheryl Palm is Associate Director of the Food Systems Institute and a Research Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. A biogeochemist and ecosystem ecologist, Dr. Palm’s research focuses on land-use change, degradation and rehabilitation, and ecosystem processes in tropical agricultural landscapes. She led a major effort quantifying carbon stocks, losses and net greenhouse gas emissions following slash and burn and alternative land-use systems in the humid tropics in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, Indonesia and the Congo Basin. She has spent much of the past 20 years investigating soil nutrient and carbon dynamics in farming systems of Africa, including options for soil and land rehabilitation. Her most recent work investigates human-natural coupled systems and the tradeoffs and synergies among agricultural intensification strategies, the environment, and rural livelihoods, including nutrition and income generation. She has conducted this research across diverse agricultural ecologies and farming systems in SubSaharan through the Millennium Villages Project, Vital Signs Africa, and the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab. Palm received her Ph.D. in soil science from North Carolina State University after completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in zoology at the University of California, Davis. She served as Senior Research Scientist at The Earth Institute, Columbia University (2003-2016), Principal Research Scientist of the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Program in Nairobi, Kenya (1991-2001). She has also served on the faculties of North Carolina State University and Colorado State. Palm is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomists and served as chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) from 2008 to 2011.


Professor of Sustainable Food Systems and Global Change, Department of Global Development
Cornell Atkinson Scholar
Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences

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Mario Herrero is a professor of sustainable food systems and global change in the Department of Global Development, a Cornell Atkinson Scholar, and a Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences. His research focuses on increasing the sustainability of food systems for the benefit of humans and ecosystems. He works in the areas of sustainable intensification of agriculture, climate mitigation and adaptation, livestock systems, and healthy and sustainable diets.

Professor Herrero is a regular contributor to important global initiatives at the heart of the sustainability of global food systems, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Lancet Commission on Obesity and the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. He has worked extensively in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Before joining Cornell, he was Chief Scientist of Sustainability, for Australia’s National Science Agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Mario has published more than 200 peer reviewed publications and over 350 publications in his areas of expertise. He is an editor for Global Food Security and is currently on the editorial boards of The Lancet Planetary Health, Tropical Grasslands, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. He is also a guest editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal (PNAS).

Adegbola Adesogan

Director, Feed The Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems
Professor of Animal Sciences

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Dr. Adesogan is a Professor of Animal Nutrition and Director and Principal Investigator of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (LISL). His research interests include sustainable improvement of livestock production, using animal-source foods to improve human nutrition and health, improving the quality, conservation and utilization of forages to improve animal production and welfare; using feed additives to improve manipulate rumen digestion and enhance animal performance; using legumes to enhance the sustainability of animal production, and using plant nutraceuticals to improve animal health and performance.

John Arthington

Professor and Chair, UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences

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John Arthington serves has Professor and Chair of the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences since 2019. Prior to this time, he served as Professor and Director of the University of Florida, Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona (2005 to 2019). He is a graduate of the Animal Sciences Departments of Purdue and Kansas State Universities and has been a member of the University of Florida, Animal Sciences faculty since 1998.

John’s research and extension faculty programs focus on the management and nutrition of grazing beef cattle with a specific emphasis on mineral nutrition. This program has contributed over 100 peer-reviewed publications to the discipline it serves and has mentored numerous graduate students. As an extension specialist, John has raised awareness of important trace mineral deficiencies affecting Florida’s beef industry. As a result, effective and efficient supplementation strategies have been developed and implemented. John is a past President of the American Society of Animal Science’s Southern Section. He has served two terms as Associate Editor for the Journal of Animal Science and served on the editorial board for the Professional Animal Scientist Journal. John is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, American Dairy Science Association, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Jeanna Mastrodicasa

Associate Vice President of Operations, UF/IFAS

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Dr. Jeanna Mastrodicasa is the Associate Vice President for Operations at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), where she manages budget, facilities, shared services, conferences and institutes, compliance, and supports government relations for the land-grant part of the university. While She has been in five roles the University of Florida since 1997, beginning as an academic advisor and most recently as Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.

Dr. Mastrodicasa holds 4 degrees from 3 SEC institutions: a Ph.D. from UF in higher education administration; a M.S. in college student personnel from the University of Tennessee; and a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Georgia. She is currently in process of earning a non-degree certificate in food communication from the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg.

Dr. Mastrodicasa is in a 2-year term as the national chair of the Public Policy Division for her professional association of higher education professions, connecting her passions for higher education and public policy. She also served two terms on the Gainesville City Commission from 2006-2012, and currently serves on several community boards.

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Jack Payne

Former Senior Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources, UF

2023 Future of Food Forum (38)

Jack Payne is the former Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida. Appointed senior vice president in June, 2010, Payne was the administrative head of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) which includes the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, elements of the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, 13 Research and Education Centers throughout Florida, and the Florida Cooperative Extension Service with offices in each of the state’s 67 counties.

Daniel Friedline

Sustainability Project Manager, Office of Sustainability & Resilience, City of Orlando)

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Daniel currently manages sustainability initiatives in local foods and livability for the Office of Sustainability and Resilience. His key focus areas include advancing urban farms and use of community land to aid in the education of food systems and prevention of food insecurity for Orlando residents. Daniel facilitates the collection of residential and commercial food waste which reduces landfill impact and creates energy fed back into the grid. He also works to increase residents access to native trees and plants and ensure the City maintains consistent pathways for native and migratory pollinators.

Felcia Wu

John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Food Safety, Toxicology, and Risk Assessment, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University

2023 Future of Food Forum (40)

Felicia Wu, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, joined the faculty of MSU in 2013 with a joint appointment in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. Previously, she was an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh.

Wu’s research examines the national and global burden of foodborne disease, how improved nutrition can counteract the harmful effects of toxins, and how cost-effective strategies can improve food safety in the United States and worldwide. Recently, her work has expanded to examine the risk of antimicrobial resistance from antibiotic use in livestock production, as well as how we can curb these risks. For her research on the impact of aflatoxin regulations on global liver cancer, Wu was awarded a U.S. National Institutes of Health EUREKA Award. She was commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) to estimate the global burden of disease caused by aflatoxin and arsenic in food, and co-authored the WHO 2015 report on the Global Burden of Foodborne Disease.

Currently, Wu serves as an expert adviser to the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives of the United Nations. She is an area editor for three journals: Risk Analysis, World Mycotoxin Journal, and Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health. Recently, she was on the U.S. National Academy of Sciences panel on the future of animal sciences research for global food security. Currently, she serves as an invited reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She has also been selected to serve on the MSU Presidential Search Committee. Wu earned her A.B. and S.M. in applied mathematics and medical sciences at Harvard University, and her Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Robert Bertram

Chief Scientist, Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, United States Agency for International Development

2023 Future of Food Forum (41)

Rob Bertram is the Chief Scientist in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, where he serves as a key adviser on a range of technical and program issues to advance global food security and nutrition. In this role, he leads USAID’s evidence-based efforts to advance research, technology and implementation in support of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future.

He previously served as Director of the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, which leads implementation of the Feed the Future research strategy and related efforts to scale innovations in global food security efforts, working with a range of partners. Prior to that, he guided USAID investments in agriculture and natural resources research for many years.

Dr. Bertram’s academic background in plant breeding and genetics includes degrees from University of California, Davis, the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland. He also studied international affairs at Georgetown University and was a visiting scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. He has been especially active in plant genetic resources policy as it relates to research for development, including applications of biotechnology in food security-related research.

Before coming to USAID, he served with USDA's international programs as well as overseas with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system.

Andra Johnson

UF/IFAS Extension and Director, Florida Cooperative Extension Service

2023 Future of Food Forum (42)

Dr. Andra Johnson received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Forestry Resources from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. He also received a B.S. in Urban Forest Management from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Prior to accepting the position of Dean and Director of UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension, Dr. Johnson served as the Associate Director of Extension for The Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension Service preceded by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Development at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Assistant Director of Research at Alcorn State University College of Agricultural Research, Extension, and Applied Sciences in Lorman, MS.

Dr. Johnson has served on numerous boards and committees, including participating in the Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) Monthly Meeting, ECOP Subcommittee on Workforce Development Working Group, the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA) Multi-State Activities Committee and recently on USDA’s Civil Rights Working Group.

Andra grew up on a farm in rural Louisiana. His family raised cattle and grew cotton, corn and wheat, and his aunt has worked for the USDA Forest Service for more than 30 years. Those early experiences motivated him to pursue a career in Extension where he could bring the knowledge of the land-grant university to families like his who produce our food, fuel and fiber.

Samuel Thevasagayam

Deputy Director, Livestock Team, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2023 Future of Food Forum (43)

Dr. Samuel Thevasagayam leads the program’s livestock portfolio, overseeing implementation of the foundation’s strategy for animal health, animal production, and animal systems. Before joining the foundation in 2012, Sam spent most of his career within the pharmaceutical industry, working in clinical development, regulatory affairs, business development, and external research alliances.

Sam was responsible for the development and registration of several drugs and vaccines (human and animal) in North American, European, and international markets. Previously, he served as the director of research and development for global alliances for livestock veterinary medicine with GALVmed, a not-for-profit animal health organization. He spent his early career teaching and practicing companion animal internal medicine before spending five years in veterinary virology research at the United Kingdom’s Pirbright Institute.

Sam holds a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, a Ph.D. in veterinary virology for his research on foot-and-mouth disease virus at the Pirbright Institute, and an MBA from the Säid Business School at the University of Oxford. Sam is a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Jose Rossignoli

Vice President, Global Sourcing, Robinson Fresh

2023 Future of Food Forum (44)

Jose Rossignoli has 17 years of experience in fresh supply chain management and execution. Before Robinson Fresh, Jose served as Vice President of Sales and Business Development for two different privately-held, medium-size grower-shipper companies in Florida and California. During the last 10 years, he has served in various roles for CH Robinson/Robinson Fresh where he currently serves as Vice President of Global Sourcing. In his current role, Jose leads strategic planning, category investment, and business execution of global supply. Additionally, he oversees various supply chain departments, including Food Safety, Compliance, Freight Forwarding, and European operations. Jose received his BS degree in Agriculture in 2003 followed by his Master in Agribusiness in 2004 both from the University of Florida. Originally from Ecuador, he resides in Atlanta GA with his wife and two daughters.

Libby Putnam

CALS Student

2023 Future of Food Forum (45)

Libby Putnam is a second-year double majoring in Agricultural Education and Communication and Family, Youth, and Community Sciences and minoring in Leadership and International Development and Humanitarian Assistance. She is a member of the Global 2050 Challenge program where she focuses on connecting the issue of food insecurity on campus and in the state of Florida with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through this program, she has worked with the staff at Feeding Florida to develop an organizational strategy plan for their 12 member food banks. This summer, Libby will be interning at Land O’Lakes headquarters in Arden Hills, Minnesota, as a Global Food Challenge Intern. She will travel to Africa to see their international agricultural development efforts and visit rural farmer cooperatives across the US. On campus, she is a member of Student Government and serves as a CALS Ambassador.

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