Open Talk on Sustainable Agriculture and Consumption at the City of Knowledge

The first Open Talk on Sustainable Agriculture and Consumption: What you buy in the supermarket makes a difference to the environment, by Andrew Bovarnick, was held on Thursday, August 30, at the Auditorium of the City of Knowledge Convention Center.

The event began with welcoming remarks by Professor Jorge Arosemena, Executive Director of the City of Knowledge Foundation, who thanked ParqueArte Foundation and the U.S. Embassy for sponsoring and organizing the event. Professor Arosemena stressed the importance of these talks since the City of Knowledge aims to become a sustainable city, referred in its Development Master Plan, and therefore it is important to create awareness about sustainable practices to build a healthier country and planet.

Speaker Andrew Bovarnick introduced some concepts about food in order to understand where it comes from and what are the production options. The idea is to think about what we eat, where our food comes from, how it is produced and what can be done about it.

He explained the concept of a commodity and the fact that consumers are changing their preferences because they want to know how the commodity was produced. He spoke also about the supply chain of products where he highlighted coffee and the fact that when we make decisions about the type of coffee we consume it can affect the lives of millions.

Mr. Bovarnick mentioned that agriculture is the most important use of land in the world and the main cause of deforestation and carbon emissions, with also an important role regarding climate change. But he stressed that sustainable agriculture is possible by using tree crops that can contribute to the biological connectivity between natural habitats.

Among the highlights of his Open Talk he said that we have the opportunity to minimize environmental damage, so big companies like Unilever, Kraft and Nestle, who control much of the market, know they are still dependent on the manufacturer and consumer and therefore are beginning to develop sustainable programs.

Then Mr. Bovarnick explained the work of the UNDP regarding their training programs for small producers, business awareness, product certification support and identifying practical ways to reduce carbon impacts and deforestation.

The talk ended with tips about what to do in Panama in order to make a change, for example: think before you eat and when you go shopping, talk to supermarket managers because companies often listen to the consumer, and consume more organic products.

Companies, producers and governments must speak the same language to agree on new farming practices that should benefit the Earth.

About the Open Talks

The Open Talks, five in total, will count with the participation of exhibitors from the fields of architecture, economy and other, talking about concepts and strategies for sustainability, urban development, and more. Their aim is to suggest other options and opinions on current issues relevant to Panama.

The next Open Talk, which will take place on Wednesday, September 26, at the City of Knowledge Ateneo, will be given by Elsa Yasukawa, one of the Founders of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Orange County chapter, who will speak about the Living Building Challenge.

All the Open Talks are free of charge.

Open Talks Calendar: http://festivalabierto.com/charlasabiertas/

 

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