The 2023 Cambridge Festival will see events covering some of the key issues the food industry is facing in the current market. Running from March 17 – April 2, discussions and events will be held on the themes of food security, the future of meat and the Cambridgeshire Fens.
Monday March 27th will see a panel of experts discuss the questions, ‘how can we improve our food security?’. Chaired by Dr Nazia Mintz Habib, founder and research centre director for the Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development (CRSD), speakers will include Professor Tim Lang, emeritus professor of food policy at City University London’s Centre for Food Policy; Anoop Tripathi, a PhD student in plant sciences and Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge; David Christian Rose, professor of sustainable agricultural systems at Cranfield University and Dr Emelyn Rude, founding editor of Eaten: the Food History Magazine.
Professor Rose said: “Food insecurity is caused by a complex web of factors – not only by a lack of food being produced, but by factors such as social inequality and corruption, which means that some people cannot afford nor access the food that is available.
“We need to do better with self-sufficiency, tech innovations such as vertical farming can help to create artificial conditions but we’re never going to be self-sufficient for fruit this time of year. However, for things like apples and pears which are perfect to grow here, we still have higher than needed import levels.
“We need to change our eating habits. It’s not a bad thing to eat more seasonally if we can. There are some occasions where we could eat more of the winter greens we produce in this country, but retailers and consumers changing habits is not easiest thing to do. Sprouts aren’t just for Christmas! And we need to get our farmers more support. If farmers feel like their cost of production is met, then they’ll grow more, and we’ll have better food security.”
The future of meat
On March 22, a panel will discuss the future of meat and consider the alternatives, from pulses and plant-based protein to lab-grown meat, molluscs and edible insects. Chaired by Professor Sarah Bridle, author of Food and Climate Change without the Hot Air, the panel includes speakers from the University of Cambridge including Professor Andrew Balmford, Dr Charlotte Kukowski and Dr Daniel Borch Ibsen.
The future for Cambridgeshire Fens
The Cambridgeshire Fens produce 33% of England’s vegetables and contribute over £3bn to the economy. However, the Fens are facing threats from climate change, availability of water, and the peat soil becoming exhausted and emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. On April 1, a panel of experts from research and farming discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Fens. Hosted by the Centre for Landscape Regeneration, FenlandSOIL and Cambridge Zero.
The Festival, the largest of its kind in the country, is run by the University of Cambridge and sees over 360 mostly free events cover everything from climate change and AI to health and politics.
Visit the festival website for further information and to book: www.festival.cam.ac.uk