Social & Cultural

This theme covers social aspects of the food system, including consumer culture in relation to food, the history of food and the development of agriculture, interactions between food and other social issues, and the wider implications of food-related technologies.

By Rachel Loopstra and David Stuckler, Department of Sociology

Foodbank use in the UK has topped one million for the first time, according to new figures from the Trussell Trust. The charity that oversees more than 400 food banks across the country has recorded a 19% rise in the number of food parcels being given out to families in need.


By Prof. Charles Spence


Notes from Food Security Conference

By Hannah Rowlands.

April 27th was the 2nd Annual Oxford Student Food Security Conference. Around 70 people attended this 1-day conference, with presentations from 9 researchers, covering a wide range of issues on the topic of food security, plus animated discussions after each session. The day ended with an interesting and entertaining keynote talk by Professor Doug Gollin.


By Hannah Rowlands.

The Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food is building relationships with organisations in the Oxford area which have an interest in food system research, including the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.

The RAU, established in 1845, is recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in the delivery of education, research and consultancy, in and relating to, agriculture and the rural environment.

But one link already exists. Many of the beautiful, agriculturally themed 18th and 19th century paintings on the walls at the RAU are on permanent loan from the University of Oxford.


By Professor Mike Hamm, C. S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University (MSU) & visiting fellow of Mansfield College, University of Oxford.

Mike was one of the two experts on sustainability consulted by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in developing its 2015 report.  This report’s  publication has attracted widespread interest and - from those ideologically opposed either to actions on sustainability that necessitate a change in habits or to government intervention - a great deal of criticism. In this blog Mike shares his thoughts on the new Guidelines, and explains clearly what they actually say.


Where? School of Geography and the Environment - South Parks Road, Oxford OX13QY

Who? This year's conference is organised by final year DPhil student Franziska Gaupp, Masters student Christopher Sisca, DPhil student Katherine French, and former masters student Alice Chautard. 


The 2017 Oxford Food Forum seeks to showcase diverse understandings of the food system that break down traditional silos constraining connectivity between people, places, and problems within the food system.


Date: Friday May 9th

Time: 19:30-21:00, followed from drinks and nibbles

Venue: Jesus College, Habakkuk Room

Speakers: Tristram Stuart and Dr Sean Rickard

Come to Jesus College to hear from Tristram Stuart and Dr Sean Rickard about the issues surrounding global food wastage.

This event, hosted by Food Justice, will feature a debate between these two professionals who have long been involved in the food industry.

Tristram, founder of the 'Feeding the 5000' campaign and author of numerous books including 'Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal', and Sean, ex-Chief Economist for the National Farmers' Union and founder of Sean Rickard Ltd, a consultancy that provides independent economic analysis of farming.

The event will run from 19:30-21:00 in the Habakkuk Room and will be followed from drinks and nibbles. We hope to see you all there!


Date: 30 June 2014

Time: 09h00 – 17h30

Venue: TORCH Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

This innovative one-day inter-disciplinary conference brings together graduate students from across continents and disciplines. Dialogue between researchers and practitioners holds the promise of a unique environment, and innovative partnerships that communicate personal and professional responses to global water scarcity.

Ten students at Oxford and Cornell University in faculties of the arts, environmental sciences and engineering, have been paired and are currently developing material to present creative collaborative projects in response to the global water crisis.

Mediums of the fine arts, poetry, photography, music composition and performance, will be used to communicate key thematic areas of water scarcity in sectors such as agricultural food production, industry or local management and use. Students will draw from their experience working across the world in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and elsewhere .

Organizers hope this will be the beginning of future collaborative relationships across universities to address pertinent and urgent management responses needed in the 21st century. 

Free lunch will be on offer – so please RSVP to

The graduate conference exchange project supported by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), Merton College, Cornell’s Institute for European Studies and the Brettschneider Fund (Cornell University).