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INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABILITY, ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

iSEE Congress Fall 2021:

 

CIRCULAR FOOD

 

SYSTEMS

 

Oct. 26-27, 2021

 

Illini Union Rooms A/B/C

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Register!! >>>

 

#iSEECongressFall2021

About the Congress

 

In the eighth iSEE Congress, we are readdressing the topic of feeding the world. A major challenge for agriculture in the coming decades: providing a secure and safe supply of food, feed, and fuel to an ever-increasing human population using agricultural practices that are ecologically sustainable and adaptable to climate change.

Over two days, “Circular Food Systems” will bring together a speakers and panelists from different disciplines to dive deeper into the topic. Our modified “teach-in” event will introduce the Illinois campus and community to cutting-edge thinking from highly influential scholars on advancing sustainability of our agriculture and food systems. Achieving this sustainability while continuing to increase agricultural productivity is a critical national priority. Through this conference, we aim to raise awareness of the national dialogue on sustainable agriculture and pathways for scientists, economists, and policymakers to collaborate in transitioning our agricultural system to one that reduces, reuses, and recycles waste.

The iSEE Congress is an assembly of leading national and international scientists, researchers, educators, journalists, and activists who will present the latest scientific research and community action on grand world challenges of sustainability, energy generation and conservation, and the environment.

The Fall 2021 Congress organizing committee includes iSEE Associate Director for Education & Outreach Gillen D’Arcy Wood, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty members Carl Bernacchi, Adjunct Professor of Plant Biology and USDA Agricultural Research Service Plant Physiologist; Emily Heaton, Professor of Regenerative Agriculture in the Department of Crop Sciences; Don Fullerton, Professor of Finance; Andrew Margenot, Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences; and Vijay Singh, Distinguished Professor of Bioprocessing in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Director of the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory.

Accommodations

Venue, Parking, and Travel

Conference Program

 

TUESDAY, OCT. 26

 

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Undergraduate Environmental Writing Event

Student writers will read from prize-winning original essays on the theme of “Food-Life-Cycle.”

More details on the students and the titles of their works coming soon!

4:30-5 p.m. — Coffee Break

5-6:15 p.m. — Opening Keynote & Panel Discussion

Introduction TBA

 

Invited Speaker: Tom Vilsack

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Presentation title: Coming soon.

Abstract: Coming soon

Bio: Coming soon

Read more >>>

 

Panelists

Bruno Basso, MSU Foundation Professor of Crop Modeling and Land Use Sustainability, Michigan State University

James Jones, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Systems Modeling, University of Florida

Charles Rice, Distinguished Professor of Soil Microbiology, Kansas State University

6:15-7:15 p.m. — Reception

7:30-9 p.m. — Dinner (invitation only)

 

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 27

 

8-8:30 — Registration & Coffee

8:30-8:45 a.m. — Welcome & Introduction by Madhu Khanna, iSEE Interim Director

8:45-10:15 a.m. Session I: "21st Century Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture"

Moderator TBA

 

Ken Cassman

Emeritus Robert B. Daugherty Professor of Agronomy, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Presentation title: “Public Goods — Big Data and Metrics to Establish Circular Food Systems”

Abstract: Ensuring global food security for nearly 10 billion people by midcentury will require higher yields on existing farmland to avoid massive expansion of crop production at the expense of rain forests, grasslands, and wetlands. Substantial reductions in negative environmental impacts and natural resource degradation from intensive production practices are also required. Achieving substantially higher yields and large reductions in negative environmental impact, a process called ecological intensification, depends on precise management of all inputs to give high efficiencies for water, energy, and nutrients, as well as crop rotations and residue management to minimize soil erosion, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Robust, low-cost metrics are needed to monitor progress toward these environmental performance goals. Good quality, publicly accessible data on weather and soil properties with greatest influence on yields and input requirements are essential to help identify and implement crop and soil management practices that optimize both yield and environmental performance. Currently available climate and soil data are not up to the task. Modest public-sector investment is needed to establish the required public goods big data at fine spatial scale to support precision agriculture in time and space, and to accelerate innovation and technology transfer towards sustainable intensification of our major food production systems.

Bio: Cassman currently serves as an Emeritus Professor of Agronomy and agricultural consultant. Over a 40-year career, his research has focused on ensuring local and global food security while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment. He has worked on many of the world’s major cropping systems — from rice-based systems in the tropics of Asia and South America, to maize-soybean systems in the U.S., Brazil, and Argentina, and high-value irrigated crops in California, Peru, and Egypt. He currently works at the intersection of agriculture and environmental advocacy to improve yields, profit, and environmental performance. Cassman led development of the Global Yield Gap Atlas, an interactive map-based web platform developed to estimate exploitable gaps in yield and water productivity for major food crops worldwide. He is co-author of Crop Ecology, a seminal upper-division/graduate school textbook. In 2017, he received the Bertebos Prize from the Swedish Royal Academy of Agriculture and Forestry in recognition of his contributions to agricultural science.

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Emily Heaton

Professor of Regenerative Agriculture, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Presentation title: Coming soon.

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

Read more >>>

 

Girish Chowdhary

Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Presentation title: Coming soon.

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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David Zilberman

Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California at Berkeley

Presentation title: Coming soon.

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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10:15-10:30 a.m. — Coffee Break

10:30-noon — Session II: "Turning Agricultural Waste into Usable Products"

Moderator TBA

 

Thomas Trabold

Professor and Head of Sustainability, Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rochester Institute of Technology

Presentation title: Coming soon.

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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Roland Cusick

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Presentation title: Coming soon.

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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Yuanhui Zhang

Founder Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Presentation title: “From Biowaste to Transportation Fuel — and Environment-Enhancing Paradigm”

Abstract: Single-cycle nature fertilizer use would not meet the increasing food and bioenergy demand; thus agricultural and biofuel production addictively rely on fossil fuel-derived fertilizer, which is the largest single source of reactive nitrogen in biosphere contributing to climate change. Renewable energy can be obtained via various viable sources such as solar, wind, and even geothermal. However, there is no clear sustainable pathway for renewable liquid fuels yet. A new paradigm, dubbed as “Environment-Enhancing Energy (E2-Energy)”, has been investigated in Zhang’s lab. In this paradigm, biowaste (food, manure, algal bloom, and sludge) are first converted into biocrude oil via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL). The HTL biocrude is then upgraded into transportation fuels via catalytic hydrotreating and distillation. The post-HTL wastewater (PHW) is treated to recover remaining carbon, energy, and nutrients for biomass production including growing algae. This presentation gives an update of the E2-Energy research in the lab, including the biocrude oil conversion and PHW valorization.

Bio: Zhang is a Founder Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering and an Affiliated Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering as well as Bioengineering. He is a registered professional engineer; a Fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); and a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). His research includes hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of biowaste and algae into biocrude oil, upgrading HTL biocrude into transportation fuels, and valorising post-HTL wastewater (PHW) by recovery of nutrients and energy. He has published 238 peer-reviewed journal papers and is the author of a textbook Indoor Air Quality Engineering. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on built environment, HVAC systems, indoor air quality engineering, and research methodologies.

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Noon-1:15 p.m. — Lunchtime Keynote

Introduction TBA

 

Invited Speaker: Elizabeth Kucinich

Documentary Producer, Organic Food Advocate, Professor at Coventry University, UK

Presentation title: Coming soon.

Abstract: Coming soon.

Bio: Coming soon

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1:15-1:30 p.m. — Break

1:30-3 p.m. — Session III: "Agriculture and Decarbonization"

Moderator TBA

 

Will Horwath

Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry, University of California at Davis

Presentation title: Coming soon

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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Benjamin Gramig

Associate Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Presentation title: Coming soon

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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Kaiyu Guan

Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Presentation title: Coming soon

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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3-3:30 p.m. — Coffee Break

3:30-5 p.m. — Session IV: "How Can We Reduce Wast from Agricultural and Food Systems?"

Moderator TBA

 

Brian Roe

Van Buren Professor of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, Ohio State University

Presentation title: Coming soon

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

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Tom Thies

Professor of Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering and Director of The Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois Chicago

Presentation title: Coming soon

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Coming soon

Read more >>>

 

Invited Speaker: Alison Taylor

Chief Sustainability Officer, Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM)

Presentation title: Coming soon

Abstract: Coming soon 

Bio: Taylor oversees ADM’s global sustainability strategy and works closely with the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Committee of the company’s Board of Directors. She oversees many facets of the company’s progress toward achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger and Climate Action. She guides implementation of the company’s Respect for Human Rights policy, No-Deforestation policy, Strive 35 environmental stewardship program, and ADM’s philanthropic efforts through ADM Cares. Prior to joining ADM, Taylor worked for Siemens Corp., where she was Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of the Americas. Taylor also worked on Capitol Hill as counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, and chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. She was previously a partner in the law firm now known as Davis, Graham and Stubbs, LLC. Taylor currently serves on the boards of the Nicholas Institute at Duke University, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, the Nature Conservancy-Illinois, and the Leadership Council of the Corporate Eco-Forum. She is also chairs the ADM Cares Committee and serves on the external advisory board of the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss. She holds a B.S. from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of Denver.

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5 p.m. — Closing Remarks by Madhu Khanna, iSEE Interim Director

Accommodations & More

Venue

North side of Illini Union facing Green Street.

The Illini Union is located on Green Street, right at the meeting point of Urbana and Champaign. This facility is a warm and welcoming space perfect for soaking in the latest knowledge on how water, agriculture, and energy interact in our world today and in the future.

Address: 1401 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801

View on Google Maps or the Illinois Campus Map.

Illini Union website

Getting here:
Many of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District’s bus routes pass right in front of the Illini Union on Green Street, or stop close by at the Illinois Transit Plaza. The 2 Red, 5 Green, 8 Bronze, 10 Gold, 12 Teal, 13 Silver, 21 Raven, and 22 Illini stop on Green at the newly renovated stops.

Bicycle racks are available, and active transportation is encouraged.

Parking is available at meters in nearby lots and along the street. Please be sure to read the specific instructions of your meter; each street and lot can be slightly different from others nearby.

Nearby eats: In addition to the Union’s own food court and eateries throughout the building, there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat between sessions on Green Street.

Air Travel

Willard Airport (CMI)

The quickest, easiest way to travel a long distance to the iSEE Congress is to fly into Willard Airport (CMI) in Savoy.

Website

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