Annual Nutrition Symposium explores food systems sustainability

UNE students on a boat putting a net into the water to investigate food systems sustainabilityThe undergraduate and graduate nutrition programs at UNE will host the 2nd Annual Nutrition Symposium with a theme centered around aquaculture, ocean food systems, and how food sustainability can be made possible by utilizing both. We will dedicate the the opening presentations to discuss ocean food systems and how UNE’s unique geography provides direct access for our experts to research and learn more.

Aquaculture & Aquaponics as Solutions

In the next 10 years, it is projected that the world will consume 20% more fish (over 66 billion pounds, live equivalent) when compared to 2016. Increasing demand for high-quality seafood and high-protein food sources has led aquaculture to become the fastest-growing food producing sector. If you live in the United States, chances are high that you’ve consumed fish-farmed seafood, as over 50% of seafood output comes from fish farms. Maine, home to two of the three University of New England campuses, lends an opportunity to researching marine aquaculture as a coastal state. The Nutrition and Marine Sciences departments at UNE are committed to supporting aquaculture in a quest to provide more economical, healthier, and sustainable food system option.

Aquaponics: Aquaculture + Hydroponics

Aquaponics provides a natural ecosystem that promotes plant growth, nourishes farm-raised fish and marine life, and uses 90% less water than soil-based water gardening. The process of aquaponics makes use of nutrient-rich fish effluent that offers all the necessary nutrients for ideal plant growth. Using this naturally-occurring bacteria, the plants purify the water and return it to the fish. This natural recycling process eliminates the need for pesticides or chemicals.

A tank with pipes and plants to showcase hydroponicsA plant used in hydroponicsA hydroponic tank in a classroom

2nd Annual UNE Nutrition Symposium

In addition to uncovering more details on ocean food systems and the expanding aquaculture industry, the Symposium will offer attendees the opportunity to:

  • Identify the components of ocean food systems and the ocean’s capacity for the future
  • Describe the processes for the productive aquaculture and aquaponics as solutions for food systems sustainability
  • Identify resources for creating connectedness amongst Maine’s food systems
  • Understand the challenges of planning healthy meals utilizing locally-grown commodities and staying on a limited budget.

You can read about the event’s presentations, learn the day’s schedule, and find out more about the topics we’ll address in the Symposium agenda.


Featured Speakers

Barry A. Costa-Pierce
, Ph.D., FAAS
Executive Director, UNE North: The Institute for Atlantic Studies

Zach Miller-Hope, M.S.
Assistant Director for Education, UNE North

Beth Falls, Ph.D., R.D.
Research Scientist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association

Jeri L. Fox, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Aquaculture and Aquarium Sciences Coordinator

Alethea Cariddi, M.S. Ed
Coordinator Sustainability

UNE will provide a light breakfast following attendance check-in. Guests are welcome to bring additional food and beverage items to the event.

Remote Attendance

UNE will once again offer a virtual attendance option for those unable to visit our Biddeford campus for this event.When registering for the symposium, select the virtual ticket option and we will email you a private livestream link 48 hours before the event so you’re able to join the conversation.

Note: All registrants will receive a video recording of the symposium to view on demand, should your personal schedule conflict with a topic or presenter you’re interested in joining.