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Public events

Three events at the Science Festival in 2016 and 2017 brought together panels of experts to explore questions related to the food we eat and the role that policy could - and should - play in shaping our diets.

Our daily bread – what are we eating?

At the 2017 Science Festival, archaeobotanist Professor Martin Jones joined plant scientist Dr Lydia Smith and Alison McTaggert,a local artisan baker, to explore how modern ingredients and methods of mass production have completely transformed how bread is made and what we’re eating.

This event was co-hosted with the Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative and CambPlants Hub, based in the Department of Plant Sciences. 

Inglorious fruit and veg

Around 40% of fruit and vegetables intended for human consumption are wasted in the UK because supermarkets don’t want them. But what’s wrong with a crooked carrot when you’re hungry? At a second event at the 2017 Science Festival, a team of experts including a local farmer, a plant geneticist and a large-scale vegetable supplier debated issues related to food waste and whether the quest for 'perfect' vegetables by both consumers and retailers is a myth or reality. 

This event was co-hosted with the Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative and CambPlants Hub, based in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Eating less meat for planetary and population health: Government policy or your choice?

If current trends continue, shifts in global tastes towards Western diets coupled with population growth are predicted to double meat production by 2050. These changes will not only influence people’s health, they will also impact the environment.

A panel at the 2016 Science Festival was chaired by Bee Wilson, a food writer and historian and Professor Andrew Balmford, a conservation scientist, Professor Theresa Marteau, a behavioural psychologist, and Dr Julian Huppert, a former MP, explored both the arguments surrounding reduced meat consumption and the role that policy could and should play in changing what people eat.

This event was co-hosted with the Cambridge Public Policy Strategic Research Initiative.

If you would like more information about these events please contact Dr Rosamunde Almond () and Dr Konstantina Stamati (ks712@cam.ac.uk).

Rosemary Ostfeld wrote an article about our event for the Cambridge Global Food Security blog.

Read the blog

Should we eat less meat? Should the government encourage us to eat less meat? Is there such a thing as a sustainable and ethical diet? This event raised these and many more questions and Dr Charlotte Sausman wrote an article about it for the Cambridge Public Policy Initiative website.

Read the article