Monthly Archives: February 2016

Innovative Farmers: a new network to support farmer-led innovation

The Department of Geography in collaboration with the Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN) and the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) are organising a weekly seminar series on “Food, Climate and Society”. This series will explore the multiple challenges that the global food system is facing: feeding more people healthy food while limiting environmental and social impacts.

This week’s seminar will be given by Dr Tom MacMillan, Director of Innovation for the Soil Association. The seminar will be on Thursday the 3rd of March, 12:30 until 14:00, and will be held in Arts C, Global Studies Resource Centre, University of Sussex. Tom MacMillan will be talking about Innovative Farmers, a new initiative to support farmer-led innovation in the UK.

The Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.

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joke false teeth biting Hastings rock

Hastings Bites Back – food research in Hastings

Posted by BSUFN member, Abigail Wincott.

Hastings Bites Back is a new kind of research group. It draws members from across the Hastings area, and researchers from the University of Brighton, who have come together to produce research in response to the most pressing food issues, as decided by members and by the general public.

The project began last Autumn with a recruitment phase. I phoned dozens of food and drink related businesses, clubs, food banks, council departments and community groups, as well as any existing research
groups, like the Hastings and Rother Family History Group. With the support of the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus, 1,000 postcards were printed, which I handed out round town.

Members of the public trying research taster activities

Using props to generate ideas. Hastings Herring Fair.

I held a research taster activity stall at the Hastings Herring Fair. Through the taster stall and postcard campaign a large number of suggestions came in, telling is what kind of food issues people wanted us to work on.

Around 30 people have signed up to take part in Hastings Bites Back, with a core of 12 active members. The group is as diverse as you would expect from those beginnings – artists, teachers, councillors, business people, a scientist, local historians and me, a media researcher from the university.

 

As fantastic as that kind of diversity is, there was always the risk that we would have different interests and incompatible expectations of the project.

Yet so far that hasn’t been the case. We realised our ideas were threaded through with common themes: an interest in how spaces within the town change over time, in what has been lost – food knowledge, disappeared businesses, ways of life, lost sounds and smells and long lost people. Big themes motivated many of the ideas – themes we already know are not unique to Hastings: that modern industrial food production has brought us plenty, but at a cost to the environment, our health and wellbeing. That the town is changing so fast, it’s hard to tell what is for the better and what for the worse. All of these were represented in the suggestions from the general public too.

Next steps:

Over the next 6 months, the group will come together for a series of meetings, to plan a cluster of small projects – from family history research to developing a cookery course or producing an art installation – which work together to achieve a set of overall research aims: to make Hastings more productive, to understand the different forms of value that food production in urban spaces might have, and ultimately, to enable us to improve our quality of life in our town.

What can you do?

You can join the group as a researcher, and take part in one of the cluster of projects or add your own. For example, you might want to develop a new food product, start a community food initiative or research the history of your street.

Alternatively, you might want to apply high quality research in your business, community group or organisation. If so you can help make that research relevant for your needs by talking to us.

It’s in our interests to make sure as many people as possible see and benefit from our work so we want to hear from everyone about what they think the project might do for them.

Bees, Pesticides and Politics – Prof Dave Goulson seminar

The Department of Geography in collaboration with the Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN) and the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) are organising a weekly seminar series on “Food, Climate and Society”. This series will explore the multiple challenges that the global food system is facing: feeding more people healthy food while limiting environmental and social impacts.

This week Professor Dave Goulson (University of Sussex) will be giving the seminar, talking on ‘Bees, Pesticides, and Politics’. The seminar will be on Thursday the 25th of February 2016 and will be held in Arts C Global Studies Resource Centre (Sussex campus) from 12:30 to 14:00.

After a childhood chasing butterflies and collecting bird’s eggs, Dave Goulson studied Biology at Oxford University, and then did a PhD on butterfly ecology at Oxford Brookes University. Shortly afterwards he got a lectureship at University of Southampton, where he stayed for 11 years. It was there that he began to specialize in bumblebee ecology and conservation. In 2006 he became Professor of Biology at Stirling University. In 2006 he also founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, a charity devoted to reversing bumblebee declines. In 2013 he moved to Sussex University.

Dave has published over 200 scientific articles on the ecology of bees and other insects, and is author of Bumblebees; their behaviour, ecology and conservation (2010, Oxford University Press) and A Sting in the Tale (2013, Jonathan Cape), a popular science book about bumblebees.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2010 he was BBSRC “Social Innovator of the Year” and in 2013 won the Marsh Award for Conservation Biology from the Zoological Society of London.

Water for food: global, regional and domestic virtual trade networks

The Department of Geography in collaboration with the Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN) and the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) are organising a weekly seminar series on “Food, Climate and Society”. This series will explore the multiple challenges that the global food system is facing: feeding more people healthy food while limiting environmental and social impacts.

This week Dr Carole Dalin (Gratham Research Institute, London Schoool of Economics) will be giving the seminar on the topic of Water for Food: global, regional and domestic virtual trade networks.

Carole Dalin’s research concentrates on the water-food-energy nexus of Southern Africa, and on the socio-economic implications of climate forecasts, regarding natural resources management in particular. She works with Declan Conway, on the SAHEWS project (Southern Africa’s Hydro-Economy and Water Security).

Her doctoral thesis focuses on water resources transfers, through Chinese and international agricultural trade.

The seminar will be held on Thursday the 18th of February from 12:30 until 14:00 in Arts C Global Studies Resource Centre, University of Sussex campus.

Food: The Elephant in the Climate and Society Changing Room – Tim Lang’s Seminar

This term BSUFN is co-hosting a series of seminars on the theme of Food, Climate and Society with the Department of Geography and the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, University of Sussex.

Last week, Professor Tim Lang kicked off the seminar series with a talk on Food: The Elephant in the Climate and Society Changing Room. Professor Lang has kindly made the slides which accompany his seminar available. The slides from his seminar are available via the link below.

Tim Lang Seminar slides

 

Exploring low carbon agricultural innovation in China: a thousand flowers blooming?

The Department of Geography in collaboration with the Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN) and the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) are organising a weekly seminar series on “Food, Climate and Society”. This series will explore the multiple challenges that the global food system is facing: feeding more people healthy food while limiting environmental and social impacts.

This week’s seminar will be given by Dr Adrian Ely. All seminars are held on Thursday lunchtimes, 12:30 to 14:00 in Arts C Global Studies Resource Centre, University of Sussex.

Adrian Ely acts as Deputy Director and Head of Impact and Engagement at the STEPS Centre (a collaboration between SPRU and IDS), and co-investigator in the Centre for Bioneworking, which looks at responsible innovation in the Life Sciences. Since December 2013 he has been a co-investigator on the STEPS-affiliate project Low Carbon Innovation in China – Prospects, Politics and Practice. This project, led from Lancaster University, is an international collaboration between researchers in the UK and leading institutions in China to investigate different models of innovation and their role in low carbon transitions. He sits on the external advisory board of York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) and is on the Steering Committee of the Sussex Asia Centre.

How are food, climate and society linked? Seminar series launches this week

Food is central to life; food production interacts with climate; food exists within society and serves cultural and social functions. Over the next few months BSUFN are exploring the links, interconnected issues, and feedbacks between these three areas in a new seminar series.

During the spring term of 2016, BSUFN, the Department of Geography (University of Sussex), and the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme will be co-hosting a seminar series on the theme of Food, Climate and Society. This series will explore the multiple challenges that the global food system is facing: feeding more people healthy food while limiting environmental and social impacts. We’re really excited to be welcoming 11 high renowned speakers to the University of Sussex for this seminar series.

The seminar series launches this week, Thursday the 4th of February 2016, with Professor Tim Lang (City University London) talking on the topic ‘Food: the elephant in the Climate & Society changing room’.

Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City University London’s Centre for Food Policy since 2002. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in the 1970s which shifted his attention to food policy, where it has been ever since. For over 35 years, he’s engaged in academic and public research and debate about its direction, locally to globally. His abiding interest is how policy addresses the environment, health, social justice, and citizens.

He has been a consultant to the World Health Organisation (eg auditing the Global Top 25 Food Companies on food and health). He has been a special advisor to four House of Commons Select Committee inquiries (food standards x 2, globalisation and obesity), and a consultant on food security to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). He was a Commissioner on the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission (2006-11), reviewing progress on food sustainability. He was on the Council of Food Policy Advisors to the Dept for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (2008-10), and was appointed to the Mayor of London’s Food Board in 2010.

All seminars are on Thursday lunchtimes from 12:30 to 14:00 and will be held in Arts C, Global Studies Resource Centre, University of Sussex. The full programme of speakers and seminar titles is available here.