Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen visits DC

The Danish Minister for Environment and Food visited Washington D.C. on a two-day trip to the US in the beginning of January 2018. Each day evolved around a different topic. The focus of the first day concerned the Minister’s movement “Better Food for More People” aiming at securing sufficient food at a high quality for future generations while reducing food waste and loss. This day included meetings at the World Resource Institute (WRI) and a formal dinner in the Danish Ambassador’s residence where guests were encouraged to share their thoughts on “Better Food for More People”. The second day had a political focus, featuring meetings with the US administration and in the Congress.

As protector for the World Food Summit in Copenhagen and as part of the “Better Food for More People” movement, H.R.H. Princess Marie accompanied the Minister on the first day in Washington DC. To begin with, they had a meeting at WRI with President and CEO, Dr Andrew Steer, who presented the work WRI is doing. Dr Steer was supported by a group of experts from WRI who talked about subjects such as the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, food waste, P4G, water, forestry and cities. At WRI Denmark’s role in promoting the reduction of global food waste was acknowledged. At the WRI the Minister also addressed an audience of WRI employees talking about Danish initiatives in regards to food waste followed by a Q&A session.

On the evening of day one, the Danish Ambassador Lars G. Lose invited a number of people to join him, HRH Princess Marie, and the Minister for dinner to talk about food waste. It gave rise to an interesting discussion between the guests that represented large American corporations, local government, and previous members of the US administration as well as a food critic.

On the second day of his visit, the Minister attended three political meetings. The first person the Minister met with was the newly appointed Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the USDA, Ted McKinney. The aim of the meeting was a “meet and greet”. The discussion mainly focused on issues related to trade and rural development.

The next meeting was with Congressman Mike Gallagher from the 8th district of Wisconsin. The two of them had an interesting discussion on rural development in his district and the Congressman invited Denmark to participate in one of the quarterly meetings at local initiative “Save the Bay”. Denmark has proven that the Ag sector can increase the production while at the same time reducing nitrate, phosphor and cO2 emissions. Furthermore, there was a discussion about the Danish Dairy company Arla Foods and their Dairy plant in the district and how Arla Foods are involved in the local community and working with the local Dairy farmers. Congressmen Gallagher showed great interest in learning more about Arla Foods and a site visit was discussed. As a member of ADBC, Arla Foods is working closely together with the Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries team at the Embassy.

Finally, the Minister had one last meeting before returning to Denmark in the afternoon. This meeting was with Congressman, Jim Sensenbrenner from the 5th district of Wisconsin, where another Danish company, Chr. Hansen A/S, is located. The topics discussed during the meeting mainly centred on trade issues, and the Congressman expressed his appreciation of Danish companies seeing the export opportunities out of Wisconsin.

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