York conference shines light on global food crisis

02nd October 2019

York conference shines light on global food crisis

SMART technology, poverty and Brexit will be on the agenda of a conference in York focusing on how to tackle the global food crisis.

Researchers including York academics will be showcasing their work to solve challenges facing world food systems. Delegates will include international scientists, industry, agricultural experts and policy makers.


The two-day annual event aims to drive debate and find solutions, and is being staged by N8 AgriFood, a group of eight research intensive universities in the north of England, including the University of York.

Topics include advances in urban agriculture and smart technology, food poverty, the role of behaviour change in relation to diet, food standards, and the effects of Brexit.

N8 AgriFood, which was set up in 2015, will share its efforts to provide sufficient, affordable, safe and nutritious food within a sustainable food system.

Operations director Anthonia James said: “We are looking forward to sharing and celebrating our contributions to these significant challenges.

“There is increasing recognition of a need to provide solutions on a large scale, which can most efficiently be achieved by bringing together academics from a range of disciplines and stakeholders from across the sector.

“We are in an excellent position to respond to this need at such a crucial time.

“We are looking forward to generating debate and engaging delegates to think about how future research can work alongside industry and policy to ensure the sustainability of food systems.”

Speakers will be from Nestle, Defra, Oxfam, The Fairtrade Foundation, Which, Natural England, and academics from the N8 AgriFood programme at the event on October 22 and 23.

The conference, Celebrating N8 AgriFood: Creating Solutions for a Sustainable Food System, will be at the Principal Hotel.

The University of York’s vice chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffrey will open the conference, with an introduction by Riaz Bhunoo, director of the Global Food Security Programme.

Keynote presentations will come from the National Farmers Union’s head of food and farming Phil Hambling, the Co-op’s head of food policy Cathryn Higgs, and Jonathan Brooks, head of the Agri-Food Trade and Markets Division within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Professor Katherine Denby, N8 AgriFood’s academic director, said: “N8 AgriFood is a unique programme of eight universities working collaboratively across multiple disciplines to combine expertise that otherwise would not have been brought together.

“We are looking forward to joining with our seven other university partners to celebrate what we have collectively achieved and join them, and other external stakeholders at the conference, in helping to shape how we now move forward to continue to find solutions for a sustainable food system.”

N8 AgriFood has also teamed up with Biovale, a promoter of the bioeconomy in Yorkshire and the Humber, to run a pre-conference event on October 21 focussing on commercialising agri-food research.

The conference is expected to attract an audience of around 250 people over the two days.

Registration is still open. For details, visit www.n8agrifood.conference.com

For more information please see the York Press website.