Santa Cruz Tech Beat

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Local Company Makes Worldwide Impact on Food Security

By Sara Isenberg
Founder, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, Santa Cruz Tech Beat

December 29, 2015 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Photo: Moscow State University, above, and Santa Cruz-based Monarch Media are collaborating on food security needs for the Eurasian region. Credit: Claire Schneeberger)

Monarch Media is leading a project to develop master’s programs for the Eurasian Center for Food Security

Monarch Media, a leading provider of digital learning solutions, is collaborating with the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) at Moscow State University (MSU) to develop two online master’s programs, both focused on food security needs in the Eurasian region.

The Master’s Programs are targeted to students from the Eurasian Region with the aim to equip them with appropriate knowledge and tools for careers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors related to agribusiness and natural resources management and food security. These learning programs will be delivered by the Eurasian Center for Food Security at MSU, in cooperation with the World Bank.

“This project is a great example of how our work in eLearning has a global impact,” explains Claire Schneeberger the learning designer for the project who traveled to Moscow in November. “We’re providing the design and engineering for the online program and collaborating with thought leaders from around the world.”

Consortium formed to complete the World Bank assignment

In addition to the role of ECFS and MSU, a consortium has been formed by Monarch Media, the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), and the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) to complete the World Bank assignment.

Schneeberger says, “Many people don’t understand what ‘food security’ means.” According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Food security exists when people have, at all times, physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for an active and healthy life.”

Food security is more than just a concern for producing and consuming sufficient calories. Food produced and consumed must be safe and nutritious, and it must be produced and consumed in a way that does not impair the long-term ability of a region, nation or the world to produce food for consumption. Thus, food and nutrition are closely linked with the environment and sustainability. Understanding food security is also about understanding the history, development and social, cultural and economic contexts of different regions of the world.

The vision of both programs is to go beyond strictly Natural Resources and AgroFood Management and to provide an interdisciplinary and inter-related foundation to the essential problems in agrofood security and how to solve them in long term and sustainable ways.

“The project is a perfect fit for Monarch because of our specialization in designing online learning systems that tackle challenging learning goals. As an industry leader in online training here in the States, it’s very rewarding to be working at the global level.”

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