Sustainable diets in the 21st century

Panel discussion organised by by first year PhD students studying at the University of Oxford as part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Evironmental Research. Part of the Grand Challenges Seminar Series 2017.

Date: Tuesday 30 May, 17:30-18:30

Venue: Oxford Martin School, 34 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BD

Registration: Free via Eventbrite 

Professor Charles Godfray Hope Professor & Director, Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food
Sir Peter Kendall, Former NFU President, Chairman of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Professor Mike Rayner Professor of Population Health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford
Helen Browning Chief Executive of the Soil Association


Globally, our diet has become environmentally unsustainable. In industrialised nations, we have seen a rapid rise in obesity, diabetes and other diet related illnesses, and the World Health Organisation estimates one third of the world’s population are overweight or obese. Concomitantly, a further third of the world’s population are calorie deficient. To feed the planet, it has been estimated that agricultural yields need to double by 2050. This is mainly the result of two drivers: increasing population sizes, and rising demand for resource intensive foods such as meat and other animal products in industrialised nations. This, along with failing soil health, uncertain resource availability and the effects of climate change makes now more than ever a time for reform to the global food system.

Our seminar will address the following question: In the developed world, do we have an obligation to change our diets to make the global food system more sustainable? How would such changes affect our lifestyles and our health, and how would it benefit the environment and those living in developing nations? Should we change our diets, or is it sufficient to enhance sustainability in food production systems?

To address such questions, we are holding a seminar and panel discussion at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. Chaired by Professor Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food.