Multi-level food system seminar series

Monday, February 16, 2015 - 16:00

The Food Systems Research Group in the Environmental Change Institute and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food are organising a seminar series based on a number of food system levels: national, subnational, major cities and a provincial city.

The overall aim is to discuss the connections, linkages, food flows and governance arrangements at the different spatial levels. The seminars will cover a range of issues and how these issues change depending on the spatial resolution.

Time: 4.15pm

Location: Gottman Room, Oxford University Centre for the Environment

The talks will be 30-45 minutes, followed by a Q&A session and then a short wine reception. Everyone welcome.

The list of seminars is:

Wednesday 18 February

Speaker: Dr Elin Röös, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Title: Designing Sustainable Diets at a National Level – a Case Study of Sweden

Livestock production is responsible for 14,5% of global GHG emissions and one third of arable land is used to grow feed. The consumption of meat and dairy must be reduced in the developed world to meet sustainability targets. But what is a sustainable level of animal products in the diet? Many advocate raising animals on resources that are not suitable for human consumption such as grass from marginal land unsuited for crop production and by-products, while using arable land to produce human edible foods. But how much meat and what kind of diet would such an approach result in? In this seminar I will present and discuss the sustainability of such diets produced in Sweden and its implications for Swedish agriculture.

Monday 23 February

Speaker: Professor Michael Hamm, Michigan State University
Title: Regional food systems for improved resilience

We in the developed world have tended to concentrate our food sources in areas with a ‘comparative advantage’ for production, typically for climatic reasons.  The cost of energy, post-harvest handling technology, and varietal development has made this possible.  We have entered a period where increased extreme weather events and climatic shifts make this a more risky venture – and provide a strong rationale for regionalized food systems to increase resilience of our food system and help insure food security. This seminar will use examples from the United States and East Africa to illustrate the notion and rationale.

Monday 2 March

Speaker: Professor John Porter, University of Copenhagen
Title: Food systems of capital cities

John Porter will present some analyses of the food system of capital cities as well as an overview of the AR5 IPCC chapter on food security and food production systems that he led recently. He will also present some new ideas on developing ideal cropping systems, based on the earlier concept of crop ideotypes.

Monday 9 March

Speakers: Tom Curtis, 3Keel & Julian Cottee, 3Keel & Good Food Oxford
Title: Community initiatives for a sustainable food system in Oxford

The FoodPrinting Oxford report (2013) developed a methodology to quantify for the first time the environmental impacts and dependencies of food consumption in Oxford in terms of land, water and energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition it evaluated options for taking action at city level and identified groups of organisations and businesses able to act in different areas. Included in this options appraisal was an assessment of the productive capacity around Oxford’s geographical ‘city-region’.  A year later, a new organisation, Good Food Oxford, took shape develop the city’s capacity to coordinate effective food sustainability activities. We will report on the approach that has been taken and how new cross-sector collaborations have started to build on the FoodPrinting report to take on the complex challenge of behaviour change.

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