Can we produce nutritious, sustainable food, that we can all afford?


27 October 2022
Agricultural debate will focus on food in today’s society.

THE South of England Agricultural Society's 2022 Farming Conference, chaired by BBC Farming Today presenter Charlotte Smith, will focus on food in today’s society, considering whether we can produce nutritious, sustainable food, that everyone can afford. 

The event will take place on Wednesday, November at the South of England Showground in Ardingly, West Sussex.

Duncan Rawson, a Nuffield Scholar sponsored by the Society, and one of the organisers of this year's Farming Conference, said: “Record high food prices have triggered a global crisis that will drive millions into extreme poverty. The war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, drought across many parts of the globe, and the continued economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing food prices to all-time highs. 

“Rising food prices have a greater impact on people in low and middle-income countries, but there remains a paradox - whilst we see more of the population go hungry, we still are facing an obesity crisis, a crisis which is not going to get any better if people cannot afford healthy and nutritious food." 

In the last 60 years diets have become more homogenous and increasingly dominated by staple foods that are high in energy and low in micronutrients and consumers, particularly the poorest, do not eat enough nutrient-rich food like potatoes, he said. 

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“Against this backdrop is the ever increasing need to reduce the environmental burden of food production to meet the targets required to arrest global warming. A need that is hampered now by more regular climate shocks, such as droughts, that make it more difficult for the food industry to meet such targets. All of this raises a fundamental question – one which is the subject of this year’s conference - can we really produce nutritious, sustainable food, that we can all afford?” 

This year guest speakers at the conference include Sheila Dillon, Presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, Judith Batchelar, Ex Brand Director of Sainsbury’s, Tom Gribble, Local Arable/Dairy Farmer and Trustee of the Society, and Henry Dimbleby, Co-Founder of Leon Restaurants. All speakers will deliver a short presentation setting out their thoughts as to the future, leaving plenty of time for debate and questions. 

The Farming Conference will start at 7pm and is FREE to attend, in person or online. To register, visit our events page here.

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