Panellists from local food businesses and education, together with chef Thomasina Miers, will join our speakers to answer questions from the audience and debate each of the topics of the day. The audience will have the opportunity to ask a question or share their thoughts for discussion.

Session 1:What Consumers Eat: trends in food consumption and the drivers of consumer choice 

Thomasina Miers

Thomasina Miers is a food author, co-founder of the Wahaca restaurant group and winner of numerous awards, including BBC Masterchef in 2005. She has written and co-edited seven cookery books, has a regular column in The Guardian and has presented cookery programmes on radio and television. She is involved in initiatives to improve school food and she shops in her local market for seasonal food. She is a frequent visitor to Suffolk and from the beginning has supported the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival, demonstrating her cooking skills on stage and publicising Suffolk food.

(photo credit: Tara Fisher)

Nick Saltmarsh

Nick Saltmarsh, together with Josiah Meldrum and William Hudson, founded  Hodmedod in 2012 to market and supply fava beans and other indigenous beans and peas from British farms, grown organically where possible. Hodmedod has revived old varieties, such as Fava Beans (grown in Britain since the Iron Age) and Black Badger carlin peas. Hodmedod is also working with East Anglian farmers to grow quinoa and lentils. They have developed a wide range of both dried and canned varieties and have established a successful and expanding market for them. Hodmedod's has received Great Taste awards and in 2017 BBC Radio 4 Food Programme Best Food Producer of the Year award. As Nick says ‘ We desperately need more diversity on farms and in the food we eat, for the sake of farming and farmed landscapes, the environment, individual health and our food culture.’

(photo credit: David Charbit)

Session 2: We Are What We Eat: the relationship between diet and health 

David Eagle

David Eagle is the 4th generation of his family to farm on their North Essex coastal farm. Since 1982, half the farm has been in environmental schemes. Living on the coast has required the business to adapt in order to mitigate the increasing risks from climate change. Together with the InCrops Enterprise hub (based at the University of East Anglia), the business investigated salt-tolerant crops. This led to a collaborative agreement with the Siberian Lisavenko Institute. In 2009 the first UK crop of  sea buckthorn was established on their farm. Its berry is used globally in natural cosmetics and in pharmaceutical and animal supplements. It has a unique taste and is high in vitamins, omega fatty acids and polyphenols which have been associated with health David has established UK and global partnerships and is now growing the crop commercially for both the human and equine markets.

Joannah Metcalfe

Joannah Metcalfe has been a natural health therapist for over 30 years and has written five books on the subject. She has worked with the BBC, GranadaTV and Anglia Television. She is also the founder of  Greener Growth, a community interest company that works with different types of green spaces to deliver conservation-based initiatives, helping create biodiversity-rich gardens and delivering fresh food-growing projects. Greener Growth has worked with six prisons and currently with 20 schools and three Community Kitchen & Wildlife Gardens. Based in East Anglia, Greener Growth was founded in 2013 and uses permaculture principles and techniques. Joannah was awarded 2017 Business Leader of the Year by the Bury Free Press Awards.

Session 3: Regional and short food chain: meeting the challenges of health and diet whilst responding to challenges in the food chain

Jonathan Crickmore

Jonathan Crickmore and his wife Dulcie are third generation dairy farmers in the Waveney Valley near Bungay. They have diversified into value-added products from their Montbeliarde cows –  Fen Farm Dairy Baron Bigod (the only traditional raw milk Brie-de-Meaux style cheese produced in the UK) and Bungay Butter made from raw milk, which they also sell. In 2017 they received the Best Artisan Producer in the Great British Cheese Awards and also the Farmers Weekly Diversification Farmer of the Year Award. Green projects include solar panels providing energy for the whole farm. Heat from the cows’ warm milk is used to heat water used for washing down the milking parlour. The cows are out on grass for most of the year. The Crickmores aim to use all the milk produced on the farm into their own dairy products.

Gerard King

Gerard King is a third-generation butcher who started out in Hackney as a packing boy in his family’s shop. There he learned his butchery craft, cutting and preparing meat for a cosmopolitan and discerning mix of customers. After leaving his father’s shop, Gerard went on to some of the best-known butchers shops in London, including Doves in Battersea, before coming to Suffolk to help set up the multi-award-winning butchery in the Suffolk Food Hall. Since 2013 he has been based in Aldeburgh in his own shop,  Salter & King. Here he focuses on traditional breeds, such as Suffolk Red Poll and Lincoln Red cattle, providing pasture-fed, free-range meat, including organic. He has also provided a successful market for ‘old cow beef’ (a delicacy in Spain and France.) He aims to provide the link between local farms and his appreciative customers, bringing expertise, information and Suffolk’s wonderful meat to the town and the surrounding villages.

Mike Russell Smith

Mike Russell Smith founded  Savoursmiths Crisps with his wife Colette when they were in their 30s and had returned to the family farm in Cambridgeshire (Mike from wealth management and Colette from international modelling). Together they developed Savoursmiths, which uses the farm's high quality produce (potatoes and rapeseed oil), as well as luxury foreign ingredients. The family has been farming potatoes since 1938. They understand the importance of traceability and sustainability. They use accredited farming methods, championing sustainable agriculture to ensure culinary excellence and belong to LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and the Soil Association. The crisps are available from premium retailers, such as Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Waitrose, Ocado and independent stockists.

Book your place

Tickets are £35 (include a 2 course lunch) and available to book online