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A World’s Food Fair

Meryle Evans - May 2014

Milan—An estimated 30 million visitors will be heading to Italy next year to attend Milano Expo 2015, a world’s fair where almost 150 nations will address the challenging theme: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

During a visit to Rome in March, President Obama officially announced the participation of the United States with American Food 2.0, a pavilion “that showcases American innovation to improve agriculture and the health of people around the globe.” Friends of the U.S Pavilion Milano 2015, the nonprofit organization designated by the State Department to spearhead fund-raising, design, and programming of the pavilion (which will be supported by private, not government, contributions) is headed by its president, Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO of The International Culinary Center; chief creative officer Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of The James Beard Foundation; and the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy.

At the launch in Rome, Hamilton explained, “We aim to showcase the incredible diversity that our food community brings to the global table today, not only through our trendsetting chefs and culinary innovators, but applying American innovation and ingenuity to address the critical issues we all face as a global community—food security, nutrition, quality, safety, and sustainability.”

During an hour-long webinar for chefs, Davis described design and programming plans, including a James Beard restaurant in the pavilion with a rotating cast of chefs, a “gourmet” hamburger bar, and food forums with lively debates on issues such as the role of GMOs and the future of food.

The pavilion is being designed by architect James Biber and will be funded by organizations, universities, individuals, and corporations, including DuPont, illy, and 3M. “We’re inviting all American food partners, enthusiasts, and innovators to join us,” said Davis. “This is a watershed moment for the food world—with more people engaged and informed about the complex issues associated with global food than ever before—and we want American Food 2.0 to be the very center for inclusive dialogue, partnership, and action. We all share one global food system. Let’s come together to figure out how we want it to work.”

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