Sustainable Agri-Food Technology Summit

May 21, 2024, NC State Plant Sciences Building | USDA-NIFA Funded Workshop


Join us at the Sustainable Agri-Food Technology Summit (SAFTS) on May 21, 2024, as we delve into the forefront of agri-food technology sustainability, fostering collaboration and dialogue among diverse stakeholders.

Register for SAFTS by April 30th

Download full-sized SAFTS flyers: light version >; dark version >

Addressing Global Food Challenges

With the world population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, demanding a 50% increase in global food production and a 70% growth in nutrient-dense foods, agri-food systems are at a pivotal juncture (Searchinger et al., 2019; The World Bank, 2007). Balancing this demand with environmental sustainability is crucial, as agri-food systems contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions (Lynch et al., 2021). In response, new and novel agri-food technologies offer promising solutions, presenting opportunities for abundant, nutrient-sufficient foods without compromising the planet’s health.

Exploring Sustainable Solutions

The SAFTS workshop, led by North Carolina State University, aims to deepen our understanding of “sustainability” in food systems. Through a multi-stakeholder approach, the summit will bring together scientists, industry experts, advocates, and policymakers to explore diverse perspectives on sustainability, share real-world innovations, and identify collaborative opportunities for the future.

Keynote and Spotlight Presentations

The summit will feature keynote and spotlight presentations from experts covering emerging areas of sustainable agri-food technology development. Topics include gene-edited fruits and vegetables, genetically engineered microbes for livestock, and cell-cultured meat as alternative protein sources. Participants can engage in real-time feedback sessions, contributing to responsible research and innovation in the agri-food technology industry.

Stakeholder Engagement and Collaboration

SAFTS is designed to be a collaborative “incubator,” fostering dialogue and consensus-building. Roundtable discussions will unpack the meaning of sustainability, and real-world agri-food technologies will be showcased for immediate participant feedback. This dynamic environment aims to build bridges between diverse perspectives and catalyze impactful collaborations.

Disseminating Insights

Following the summit, the SAFTS project will analyze and compile data, leading to high-impact publications and informative seminars. The outcomes will contribute to defining sustainable agri-food technologies, fostering ongoing engagement, and inspiring future research initiatives. SAFTS is not just a workshop; it’s a catalyst for positive change in the agri-food technology landscape.

Workshop Goals

  1. Diverse Perspectives: Engage stakeholders across sectors in discussions to deepen our understanding of sustainability in agri-food systems and its implications for new technologies.
  2. Real-time Innovation Insights: Witness presentations on gene-edited foods and cell-cultured meats, collecting immediate stakeholder feedback on their sustainability and societal impacts.
  3. Collaborative Opportunities: Network and identify potential opportunities for future research, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration in agri-food technology.
  4. Funding Exploration: Explore funding avenues, including USDA NIFA and NSF grants, by synthesizing key takeaways from SAFTS and outlining a high-level STEPS research proposal on sustainability in agri-food technology.

Workshop Organizers

Lead Organizers

  • Dr. Khara Grieger, Assistant Professor in Environmental Health and Risk Assessment, Department of Applied Ecology
  • Dr. Minliang  Yang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences
  • Dr. Katie Sanders, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist of Food Systems Communication

Co-organizers include: Sharon Stauffer, Katie Barnhill,  Dawn Rodriguez-Ward, Patti Mulligan, and Lakshmi Tharuni Sivakuma


SAFTS will feature six speakers with expertise in diverse topics such as new technologies in food and agriculture, gene editing with CRISPR, societal implications, risk analysis, plant-based foods and alternative proteins, and innovative approaches to address climate change through genetic engineering.

Coming soon: List of workshop speakers


Participant Resources

Coming soon: Resource Portal with access to resource files for registered workshop participants and speakers, including speaker abstracts and articles


Funding and support for SAFTS provided by:

Related Publications

  • Ruzante, J. M., Shumaker, E. T., Holt, S., Mayer, S., Kokotovich, A., Cuchiara, M., Binder, A. R., Kuzma, J., & Grieger, K. (2022). Eliciting stakeholder perceptions using a novel online engagement platform: A case study on nano-agrifoods. RTI Press. RTI Press Occasional Paper No. OP-0071-2201. doi: 10.3768/rtipress.2022.op.0071.2201
  • Kokotovich, A.E., Kuzma, J., Cummings, C.L., Grieger, K.. Responsible Innovation Definitions, Practices, and Motivations from Nanotechnology Researchers in Food and Agriculture. Nanoethics (2021). doi: 10.1007/s11569-021-00404-9
  • Grieger, K.D, Merck, A.W., Cuchiara, M., Binder, A.R., Kokotovich, A., Cummings, C.L., Kuzma, J. Responsible innovation of nano-agrifoods: Insights and views from U.S. stakeholders. NanoImpact, Volume 24, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.impact.2021.100365.
  • Cummings C.L., Kuzma, J., Kokotovich, A., Glas, D., Grieger, K. (2021). Barriers to responsible innovation of nanotechnology applications in food and agriculture: A study of US experts and developers. NanoImpact, 100326, ISSN 2452-0748. doi:10.1016/j.impact.2021.100326.
  • Kuiken T, Barrangou R, Grieger K. (Broken) Promises of Sustainable Food and Agriculture through New Biotechnologies: The CRISPR Case. CRISPR J. 2021 Feb 10:1-7. doi: 10.1089/crispr.2020.0098.

See all GES faculty publications >