Food Forever Experience Cusco

Cusco, Peru

A three-day gastronomic and scientific voyage to celebrate the International Day on Biological Diversity 

Led by the Food Forever Initiative, in close collaboration with CIP, the Crop Trust and Inkaterra Hotels, the Food Forever Experience Cusco will take place from 22-24 May 2019. Featuring experts from the food and agriculture community in Latin America and beyond, the experience seeks to raise seeks to raise awareness of the enormous opportunities and vital importance of agrobiodiversity to food and nutritional security, climate resilience, business innovation and economic competitiveness. Through this event, we hope to catalyze support for the sustainable use of agrobiodiversity in Peru and internationally by bringing together leaders from government, business, science and the media to Cusco, in the heart of the Andes and the birthplace of the potato. Together, we can plant the seed for a more diverse, sustainable and delicious future.

Day 1: Welcome cocktail at Calle del Medio restaurant

On May 22, participants will be greeted at Calle del Medio, a hip restaurant overlooking the main square of the city of Cusco, for a cocktail showcasing biodiversity from Cusco and the Andes region. The cocktail will showcase different endemic and native crops to the Andes, such as tubers like oca, mashua and yacón, legumes like tarwi, grains like kiwicha, quinoa and cañihua and fruits like aguaymanto and chirimoya. The cocktail will exclusively work with locally sourced ingredients, including dozens of varieties of potatoes and other endemic species from the Cusco region, to create a unique culinary experience.

The cocktail will start at 7 pm with speeches by the Vice President of Peru, Mercedes Araoz, the Executive-Director of the Crop Trust, Marie Haga, and the Director-General of the International Potato Center, Barbara Wells, will give short speeches on the importance of safeguarding agrobiodiversity for the future of food.

Day 2: The Agrobiodiversity Symposium

9:30 a.m.     Registration

10:30 a.m.     Introduction by Food Forever Chair, Vice President Mercedes Araoz*

10:40 a.m.    Welcome address by Minister of Economy and Finance, Carlos Oliv (TBD)

10:50 a.m.     Keynote – Barbara Wells (CIP): An Outlook of our Global Food Systems*

11:05 a.m.    Panel 1: The main challenges for food and nutrition security

Moderator: Alberto Suárez, Radio host, Te Quiero Verde*

      • Óscar Ortiz, Deputy Director-General for Research and Development, CIP*
      • Paola Bustamante, Minister of Development and Social Inclusion*
      • Mei Xurong, Vice-President, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)*
      • Alejandro Argumedo, Director, ANDES Foundation (Parque de la Papa)*

11:35 a.m.    Coffee Break

11:45 a.m.    Keynote – Marie Haga (Crop Trust): Safeguarding crop diversity *

12:00 p.m.    Panel 2: The nutritional and resilient power of diversity

    Moderator: Rebecca Wolf, National Geographic Society*

      • Palmiro Ocampo, chef*
      • Lucía Ruiz, Minister of Environment*
      • Santiago Bucaram, Sector Specialist – Natural Resources, IADB*
      • Vasco Masias, CEO, Alimenta*

12:30 p.m.    Keynote – Jorge López-Dorica (AJE): The Natural Revolution: harnessing the power of biodiversity*

12:45 p.m.    Panel 3: Biodiversity as a driver for competitiveness and business development

    Moderator: Carlos Loret de Mola, former Vice Minister of Regional Development, PCM*

      • Monica Contreras, Vice President Foods – Andean Region, Pepsico*
      • José Koechlin, Founder, Inkaterra*
      • Gustavo Crespi, Science and Technology Specialist at the Competitiveness Division, IADB*
      • Unilever representative*

1:15 p.m.     Keynote – Carlos Añaños (Patrimonio Pikimachay): Biodiversity, food systems and regional development in Ayacucho*

1:30 p.m.    Closing remarks by the Minister of Agriculture, Fabiola Muñoz

2:00 p.m.    Lunch  

4:30 p.m.    Buses leave for the City of Cusco

Day 3: Visit to the Potato Park

On May 24 all participants will be part of a visit to the Potato Park, one of the most groundbreaking examples of in situ conservation globally. In the Park, which is roughly an hour away from Inkaterra Hotel, five indigenous communities have joined efforts to safeguard one of the most precious collections of potato diversity, containing more than 3,000 varieties in less than 9,000 hectares. Alejandro Argumedo from the ANDES Foundation, Director of the Potato Park, will guide the visit.

Participants will be transported from Cusco city at around 8 a.m., and the visit to the Park will start at 10 a.m. At noon, a small reception is planned in the Park, where guests will have a chance to taste the most delicious varieties in innovative preparations – even vodka.


Marie Haga – Executive Director, Crop Trust

Marie Haga has been Crop Trust’s Executive Director since March 2013. She was previously a member and Deputy Chair of the Crop Trust Executive Board. She also currently serves as Board Chair of the Norwegian Peace Research Institute. Ms. Haga has a background in politics and the private sector. She served as a career diplomat in the Foreign Service, and has held various positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs including to the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York, and the Embassy in New Delhi.

Ms. Haga has extensive experience in politics. She was Secretary of State /Vice Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 1999. She was also political advisor to the Minister for Development Cooperation from 1997-1998. She served as a Member of Parliament in Norway from 2001-2009, and was Chairperson of the Centre Party from 2003-2008.

Ms. Haga has held three Ministerial positions: Minister of Cultural Affairs (1999-2000), Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (2005-2007) and Minister of Petroleum and Energy (2007-2008). She also held positions as Director for Renewable Energy in the Federation of Norwegian Industries (2009-2011) and Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance (2011-2013) – the country’s largest voluntary organization.

She has also published one novel and two books on Norwegian politics.

Rodrigo Barrios, Food Forever Campaign Manager

Rodrigo is a Peruvian economist with a BSc from the Pacifico University. After working for several years in Apoyo, a local economic consultancy firm in Lima, Rodrigo joined the staff of the current Vice President of the Republic of Peru, Mercedes Araoz, for whom he worked as a consultant during her time as President of the Council of Ministers (2017- 2018) During this period, he was appointed as a member of the Special Delegation of Peru to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), focusing on environmental and biodiversity-related issues.

Since 2018, Rodrigo has been the Manager of the Food Forever Initiative, a global campaign to raise awareness on the importance of safeguarding and using agricultural biodiversity for food and nutrition security, promoted by the Crop Trust, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the governments of Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.

Cierra Martin, Communications Officer, Crop Trust

Cierra is a communications professional from the United States with a BA from Rhodes College. She is passionate about healthy, affordable and sustainable food and has a love for connecting people and pursuing innovative ideas. Cierra brings these two qualities together at the Crop Trust where she coordinates all aspects of the Food Forever Initiative and Crop Trust’s communications outreach. She heads up the organization of institutional events, the development of creative campaigns and projects, and serves as media focal point at international level for the Crop Trust and Food Forever.

Prior to joining the Crop Trust, Cierra spent four years working on food access issues in Memphis, Tennessee, connecting farmers and chefs to low-income communities. She has been awarded fellowships for food, agriculture and environmental work in Dublin, Cuenca and Valdez.

Barbara Wells, Director General, International Potato Center (CIP)

Dr. Barbara H. Wells is an accomplished senior executive with extensive scientific and business experience in research, general management, strategic planning, regulatory processes, and the technical development and commercialization of products in agricultural and forestry markets throughout the world. She became CIP’s Director General in early 2014, an appointment in keeping with her ambition to improve the livelihoods of the world’s poor farmers and to advance CIP’s mission of improving food security and nutrition.

Prior to coming to CIP, Barbara was Vice President of Global Strategy at Agrivida, Inc., a firm that develops enzyme solutions for animal nutrition and feed-stocks for the production of biofuels and bio-products. She was responsible for planning and implementing the company’s global commercial development strategy and scientific collaboration activities with an initial focus on Latin America.

From 2002 to 2012 Barbara was President and Chief Executive Officer of ArborGen, Inc., a global forestry tree seedling and tree breeding business. In this post she led the transformation of the organization from a start-up biotechnology company to a fully operational business with commercial sales of more than 250 million tree seedlings in the US, New Zealand and Australia. Prior to joining ArborGen, she was Vice President responsible for growth initiatives and investments in Latin America for Emergent Genetics, an agricultural investment firm.

She previously spent 18 years at Monsanto as Co-Managing Director of Brazilian operations and in several leadership roles in field product development across the world for crops including cotton, corn, soybeans, tree crops and other products.

Barbara grew up in Peru and Bolivia and spent much of her career based in Brazil. She received her Ph.D. in Agronomy from Oregon State University, her Masters in Plant Pathology, and her B.Sc. with Honors in Horticulture from the University of Arizona in the US.

Oscar Ortiz, Deputy Director for Research and Development

Dr. Oscar Ortiz has worked at CIP for more than two decades, during which time he has made a major contribution to the organization’s research and programs.

An agronomist by training, Oscar began his career at CIP in 1992 working on integrated pest management impact assessments as a member of the Social Sciences Department.

He was the leader of the Integrated Crop Management Division from 2004 to 2011, and was the leader of the Global Integrated Crop and Systems Research Program in 2012, when he was appointed Deputy Director of Research for Regional Science Programs. In 2014, he was appointed Deputy Director General for Research and Development.

Oscar has spent a decade leading and managing interdisciplinary teams involving both biophysical and social sciences. He has extensive experience in participatory research and training related to integrated insect and disease control, integrated crop management, agronomy and seed management, impact assessment of research and extension activities, and the use of agricultural knowledge and information systems and innovation system approaches for research and development. He has a PhD in agricultural innovation and rural development from the University of Reading, U.K. and has published extensively in peer review journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.

James Stapleton, Head of Communications, International Potato Center (CIP)

James Stapleton is currently the Head of Communications at the International Potato Center (CIP) where he leads the design, implementation and oversight of the CIP communications strategy, raising the profile of CIP and the impact of the center’s research globally.

Prior to joining CIP, James worked as the team leader of the publishing team at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Communications and Knowledge Management group. Enhancing knowledge management capacities, he ensured ILRI communications products were systematically documented, published to the highest editorial standards in many audience-orientated formats—video, photo and written stories, policy briefs, etc.—and shared widely internally and externally, in print, electronically and through the creation of engagement opportunities, for maximum reach.

Between 2004 and 2015, he oversaw the strategic development of communications at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). In addition to managing relations with the media and taking a hands-on approach to the development, design, editing, translation and publication of electronic content on the JRS multilingual websites and social media platforms.

Stapleton also taught human rights at the Rome Campus of the Loyola University Chicago and was actively involved in advocacy networks on child soldiersmigrant detention and landmines. He also worked for the Irish Refugee Council as the policy officer for three years until 2003, where he was responsible for the development of policy and research papers, and relations with the media.

During the 1990s Stapleton worked for the African development NGO, Environnement Développement Action dans le Tiers MondeAmnesty Internationaland the Institute of International and European Affairs.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics, a Masters in social policy from the National University of Ireland Maynooth, and a certificate in managing non-profit organizations. James is an Irish citizen and is fluent in French, Italian and Spanish, as well as in English, his native tongue.