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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Please find the webinar recording HERE.

A panel of leading experts engaged with a lively audience of over 250 people to talk about all things bee-related at this energetic on-line event. 75% of those who responded to our audience survey said the event was fascinating and they had learnt a lot.

The discussion focussed on how we can help pollinators and why this is important for our food supply. Lynn Dicks said that while many grain crops are wind-pollinated, a lot of fruit and veg isn’t, so we need pollinators if we want to eat a varied and interesting diet; if we only ate doughnuts fried in lard, we wouldn’t need pollinators at all!

Dave Goulson talked about how helping bees starts in our own back gardens by providing more bee-friendly plants and being a bit messier.

Tom Clarke told us about the Ely nature-friendly farming zone, and how they’re managing their farms to encourage wildlife, which means leaving some very messy corners, perfect for bees to nest in.

Hamish Symington told us about his bumble-bee training programme and gave fascinating insights into his research on making crops more bee-friendly to increase yields.

The tensions between farmers, conservationists and bee-keepers were made clear, but all of our panellists called for tolerance and unity given the enormous challenge of feeding a growing global population.

More about our Panel:  

Named by BBC Wildlife Magazine as one of the ten most influential people in conservation in Britain, Dave Goulson is the author of several popular books about bees, including the Garden Jungle. He is founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and is a Professor at Sussex University.   

Lynn Dicks is a conservation scientist focused on insect conservation and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. She leads research at the interface between agro-ecology, policy and the food and farming industry. She is Lecturer in Animal Ecology at the University of Cambridge.  

Hamish Symington researches pollination and plant-pollinator interactions at the University of Cambridge, testing bumblebee's responses to flowers. In 2019 he and fellow PhD student Jake Moscrop were awarded funding by EIT Food to make this video: 'Improving flowers to help feed the world', about his research. 

Tom Clarke is an ‘accidental fourth generation farmer’. He helped set up the Ely Nature Friendly Farming Zone in partnership with the RSPB and has a range of pollen and nectar plots across his farm. 


Howard Griffiths, Co-Chair of Cambridge Global Food Security IRC, Professor of Plant Ecology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge.  

An #AnnualFoodAgenda event, organised by the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Global Food Security IRC and CambPlants Hub, powered by EIT Food, supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union.  

Please find related videos here and here.

Text supplied by Abigail Youngman.
Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay. 








Thursday, 10 December, 2020 - 18:30 to 19:30