Conference Call for Abstracts 2023: ‘Food in a time of crisis’

12 June 2023

Our food system is increasingly dysfunctional. Events such as the pandemic and the Ukrainian war have demonstrated how fragile it is, with production and supply disrupted and costs spiralling. When food is available, there is a fierce debate about the nutritional benefits of processed products, the long-term impacts on population health, and even the morality and sustainability of dietary choices.

The annual Eastern Arc Conference, taking place on 20 September, will be a chance to debate these issues and look at solutions. The Consortium is well placed to do so, as it stretches across a region that has been shaped and defined by food. From the breadbasket of England on one side of the Thames to the garden on the other, the East and South East accounts for a third of England’s total income from farming (TIFF), and around two thirds of the country’s food imports come through the region. 

This is underscored by the strong food, nutrition and dietary research being undertaken in the region’s universities and independent research facilities. These include the Norwich Research Park (home to the John Innes Centre and the Quadram Institute), Cefas, and NIAB East Malling, as well as initiatives and centres based at the EARC universities such as Growing Kent and Medway, CoFarm, Essex Plant Innovation Centre (EPIC), Who Buys My Food?, the Norwich Institute for Healthy Ageing (NIHA), and Kent’s Right to Food.  

We are now opening a call to take part in or lead one of the eight conference sessions. We very much want to hear a diversity of voices and viewpoints, whether they be asking questions or offering solutions, sharing research or encouraging engagement. We want to hear from researchers and stakeholders, academics and businesses, community groups and charities. 

If you have an idea for a session, please complete this simple form by Monday 17 July. We hope to select the eight sessions shortly after, and open up registration at the beginning of August. The conference itself will take place in the Sibson Building at the University of Kent in Canterbury. It will be free and open to all, and registration will open in August.  

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