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Jean Kinsey

Jean Kinsey
D.W. Brooks Lecture Date: 10/05/2010

Lecture Title: "Feeding Billions: Local Solutions or Global Distributions"


About the Guest Speaker

Kinsey is a professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, where she has been on the faculty since 1976. From 1995-2010, she was the director of The Food Industry Center, an Industry Studies Center focused on food industry research. She received a doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of California, Davis in 1976.

Jean was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Council on Consumer Interests in 1997 and of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in 2000. She served as president of the AAEA in 2002. She is on the board of trustees of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., and on the board of managers of PJM in Philadelphia, PA. She served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and was chair from 1996-1997.

Her research and teaching have been on topics of food consumption trends, obesity issues with food consumption, consumer buying behavior, consumer attitudes about food terrorism, food industry preparations for food protection and defense against potential terrorism, access to healthy food in urban neighborhoods and the global food supply system.

She has published widely in academic journals and is co-author of a 1991 book titled Food Trends and the Changing Consumer. One of the motives behind the book was to point out a sea-change in how decisions are being made about what food is produced and consumed.

Jean directed the departmental graduate program and served on that committee as well as on the UM College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences' FCC, was director of Graduate Studies for the Master's of Liberal Studies in 1998, on the university's Scientific and Scholarly Advisory Board, University Senate Research Committee, Faculty Senate, University of Minnesota Capital Campaign Committee and numerous other committees.

Throughout her distinguished career as a scholar, educator and public servant, Jean contributed greatly to expanding the field of agricultural economics from agriculture to food and from production to consumption. In more recent work, she illustrated that public policy that acts to change the relative prices of foods in various parts of the food pyramid will not induce people to eat more nutritionally-balanced diets.

Kinsey was born and raised in a large apartment over a Wisconsin creamery managed by her father. She grew up watching food being processed and selling butter and cream to local customers. Perhaps this, combined with her research interests, predisposed her leadership of The Food Industry Center, where she directed numerous research projects and graduate students studying how food moves from farm to fork.