Food systems under pressure: Getting to equitable and sustainable in East Anglia and Kent

Dr Natasha Grist, Prof Andrew Fearne and Alex Larter (University of East Anglia), Floortje Hoette (Produced in Kent), and James Smith (Loddington Farms Ltd)

East Anglia and Kent’s food systems have long been important producers of vegetables, grain, sugar, fruit and arable crops, and their processed edible goods. Historically, these regions have led huge technological and social changes in farming and production. But there are now wider calls to transform UK food production into an environmentally sustainable, net zero emission sector. And amidst unprecedented external challenges to energy, input and labour supply and costs and market access, the regions’ food systems are now in huge flux and are under future threat. Innovations and forward-thinking solutions are being created at different scales along the food system. In this session we want to look closely at these challenges and think through ways to support solutions.

In this session our speakers from industry and academia tackle two of the thorny issues arising in our food systems: whether UK supermarkets can be ‘forces for good’ towards fairly produced and sustainable food; and how local produce can be made more sustainable and affordable.

Speakers will reflect on these, the roles of champions and effective ways for cooperation and collaboration that could prove useful for East Anglia and Kent and as lessons for the wider UK over the next ten years. We invite food industry representatives, academics and all those interested in local and sustainable food to join us.