Our 2013 Conference will focus on Food Security for the Nation & for Suffolk
To be held at Snape Maltings on Friday 27th September 2013
The conference is an important part of the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival and has already gained a reputation for informed and constructive debate on food-related subjects which affect us all. There is a constant theme – the need to change our relationship with food. The first, in 2010, discussed ways of achieving healthier and more sustainable diets. In 2011, Suffolk and the Sea, looked at the sea as an endangered resource and also as a threat to food production and to communities living in low-lying areas. At both conferences the problems involved were vividly described and practical solutions proposed, showing that governments, local authorities, organisations, teachers and individuals all had a esponsibility and an opportunity to solve some of the problems involved.
In 2013 the subject is Food Security for the World and for Suffolk. The Role of Science and the Role of Local Communities. World population and demand for food is increasing, with more people now living in cities than in the countryside. This is taking place against a background of less water, less land, fewer mineral resources, increasing costs of production and distribution and an uncertain climate. In this situation we have to find innovative solutions. Science must be part of it and so must local initiatives, such as food co-operatives, food distribution hubs, allotments, transition towns and food education. All will have a vital role. Speakers at the 2013 Food Security Conference will explain why we need both science and localism to ensure that we do not go hungry in the future.
The 2013 conference will be held on Friday 27th September at Snape Maltings, the day before the main food festival. It is chaired by Sheila Dillon, the presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme. The keynote speaker will be Professor Sir Gordon Conway (see his biography below) who is a renowned agricultural ecologist and an expert on food security and the role of science. He will also be joined by Michel Pimbert (see his biography below).
In the morning, four speakers will explain the major issues from international, national and regional perspectives. In the afternoon, there will be four or five shorter talks concentrating on Suffolk solutions, including a presentation from a local school. The purpose of the conference is firstly to inform local people about the challenges facing both society and individuals in our relationship with food; and secondly to show that there are ways in which changes in our behaviour can really make a difference to our future. As well as the general public, our target audience is teachers, schoolchildren, officials from the public sector and other professionals. Previous conferences were highly successful, provoking much lively discussion. Both speakers and audience have said our conferences are some of the most interesting, enjoyable and well-organised that they have ever attended. The 2013 conference will certainly have the same high level of interest and we hope will be a rewarding and stimulating experience for everyone who comes to it.
Professor Sir Gordon Conway
The keynote speaker for the 2013 Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival conference is Professor Sir Gordon Conway, FRS. He is a renowned agricultural ecologist and an expert on global food security and the role of science. He has held many important positions, including President of the Rockefeller Foundation, President of the Royal Geographical Society, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of International Development (DFID) and Vice-Chancellor of Sussex University. At present he is professor of International Development at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London. He is also director of the Agriculture for Impact project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is looking at ways to increase and enhance agricultural development for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is the author of The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the 21st Century and One Billion Hungry – Can We Feed the World (2012).
In One Billion Hungry, Gordon Conway lays out the formidable challenges we face in feeding the world by 2050 and reminds us why we have reason to be optimistic. History shows that we can reduce hunger and poverty, but to make a lasting difference we will need to help smallholder farmers sustainably to increase their productivity. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Michel Pimbert
Currently Director of the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security (CAFS) at Coventry University. An agricultural ecologist by training, he previously worked at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India, the University François Rabelais de Tours in France, and the World Wide Fund for Nature in Switzerland. He has also done research for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and The World Conservation Union (IUCN). Michel has been a Board member of several international NGOs working on food sovereignty, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and human rights.
Dr. Pimbert’s work centres on food sovereignty and agroecology, the political ecology of natural resource management, as well as citizen participation and deliberative democratic processes. Over the last 30 years he has published extensively in these areas, linking theory with practice. His latest co-edited books include ‘Social Change and Conservation’, ‘The Life Industry. Biodiversity, People and Profits’, and ‘Sharing Power. Learning by doing in the co-management of natural resources throughout the world’ (IUCN and IIED). He also authored an on line multimedia book ‘Towards Food Sovereignty. Reclaiming autonomous food systems’.
We would like to thank our hosts Aldeburgh Music, Adnams the main sponsor of the food and drink festival, and Suffolk County Council. We are also grateful to Waitrose and the East of England Co-Operative Society, who are lendng their support to this event. Finally, we are extremely grateful to Lady Caroline Cranbrook who has created this conference.
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