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U of G President Takes the Reins of a Program to Address Food Security Issues

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

The University of Guelph’s outgoing president Alastair Summerlee was named the executive director of a new fellowship program, the Kirchner Food Fellowship, which seeks to combat global food security issues.

Summerlee is set to complete his 11-year tenure as U of G president this summer, and will take on the newly created role with the Kirchner Food Fellowship, while staying on as a faculty member at Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

According to a U of G press release, the Kirchner Food Fellowships is intended to draw students from universities across North America, and equipped them with training, industry mentors and financial capital to help tackle food security. The one-of-a-kind program provides monetary resources to agri-business to develop technologies that are deemed to be environmentally and economically sustainable.

The founding investor and principal mentor of the program, Bed Kirchner, says the curriculum will provide students with the opportunity to advance food security issues in a meaningful way, referring to the program’s design, combining academic training and real-life experience and working with agri-businesses to develop sustainability tools.

“This new initiative is exciting. By linking academic training, business acumen and exposure to real-life investment, students will have the opportunities to fund global food security issues in a meaningful way,” Summerlee said in a release.

Details on the curriculum and application will be announced soon. The fellowship program is a partnership with three groups – the Kirchner Group, the Hunger Solutions Institute and Universities Fighting World Hunger.

 “I am keen to be involved in this innovative effort, and look forward to working with the fellows chosen for the program,” he said.


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My name is Michael Wendling. I am a 6th generation farmer in East Central Illinois. We grow white & yellow corn for Frito Lay, and we also grow soybeans. The family farm was established in 1879.