June 2019 Food Thinkers seminar: What does viewing food as a system and resilience mean for the practice of coherent policy making?

A food thinkers event will be taking place next month at City, University of London. I will be attending. Hope to meet some fellow food thinkers, policymakers and colleagues there. Details are below.

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What does viewing food as a system and resilience mean for the practice of coherent policy making?

With Bob Doherty (University of York and DEFRA)

Chaired by Professor Corinna Hawkes, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London

Monday 24 June, 5.30pm – 7.00pm

The UK is facing the biggest overhaul of UK agrifood policy since the end of the Second World War. EU Exit, 25-year Environment plan, National Food Strategy and Agricultural bill signal the need for coherent policy development. It has become something of a truism in the burgeoning field of food studies to describe food as constituting a ‘system’. Yet this concept is invoked far more often than applied and there are still relatively few contributions that succeed in delineating an explicit conceptualisation of the food system. The contributions that have been made share an understanding that food needs to be studied holistically in order to capture the multiple activities, interactions and outcomes associated with its production, exchange, consumption and governance. The implications are also that the practice of policy making also needs to be conducted in a more holistic way.

In this context, the Chief Scientists office at the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have set-up a systems programme team to develop a framework to put systems thinking and sound evidence at the centre of the future policy formulation process. This task is easier said than done given the complexity of the food system and the various ways it intersects with other social, health and environmental systems.

At the same time, resilient thinking is now extensively used in policymaking and raises questions such as: what has led to the current state of the food system, what is the ‘desired state’? Who gets to define this? What and who create(s) the stresses and shocks on the food system?

In this Food Thinkers, Bob Doherty will discuss the implications of understanding food as a system and the concept of resilience for future coherent policy formulation. This will be followed by a panel discussing the implications for seeing food as part of the system for the practice of food policy.

Bob Doherty is Professor of Marketing and N8 Agrifood Chair at the University of York and leads a 4-year interdisciplinary research programme on food resilience titled ‘IKnowFood’ (Global Food Security fund). Bob is also the research theme leader for food in the York Environmental Sustainability Research Institute (YESI). In addition, he has recently been seconded into UK Government Department, DEFRA as a policy fellow to work on Food Systems policy development. Bob specializes in research on the management aspects of social enterprise hybrid organizations competing in the food industry. He is currently a trustee on the board of the Fairtrade Foundation. Prior to moving into academia Bob spent 5-years as the Head of Sales and Marketing at the Fairtrade pioneer Divine Chocolate Ltd.

This seminar is free to attend but tickets are allocated on a first come first served basis so please do register to secure your space. Please also feel free to forward this invitation on to colleagues.

If you have any questions about this event please email: foodpolicy@city.ac.uk

Monday 24 June 2019

5.30pm – 7.00pm

Lecture Theatre B200, University Building

City, University of London

Register with eventbrite here

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