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Cambridge Global Food Security

A Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge

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Cambridge attends Food Matters Live 2016

last modified Nov 24, 2016 12:18 PM

A packed programme of talks and discussions on the relationship between food, health and nutrition, a huge exhibition with so many people to meet - Food Matters Live was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the latest trends and ideas of relevance to Global Food Security.

A particular highlight was a panel discussion on 'Putting Sustainable Diets at the Top of the Menu', involving Raymond Blanc OBE (President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association), Lord Robert Winson (Professor of Science and Society Imperial College and Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology), Sue Garfitt (Director UK and Ireland, Alpro), and Alexandre Meybeck (Senior Policy Officer on Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change, UN FAO).

Their wide-ranging discussion covered how society has become disconnected from the food we eat and where it comes from, and that food has been reduced to a commodity with cost being the main consideration. In the UK we generally eat twice as much food as we need, partly because we're genetically programmed to eat high levels of fats and carbohydrates when they're available, and because 'food is everywhere!'.

For a sustainable diet we must start by considering the individual. The driver of food systems is consumption, which means our diet - a healthy personal diet will contribute to a sustainable food system. This is a really important example of 'thinking global but acting local' - a sustainable diet is what links each individual to the global issue.

Education is also important, and evidence shows that children make their parents change - more should be done in primary schools to teach children about food and where it comes from.

In conclusion, each speaker was asked to say what they thought was most important in the aim to drive more sustainable food consumption.

Alexandre Maybeck: Appreciate that food matters - for our health and for the planet's health

Sue Garfitt: Eat a balanced diet

Lord Winston: Know where your food comes from and the story behind it

Raymond Blanc: Learn how to cook and discover the joy of preparing your own food