Leading expert discusses food challenges

7 May 2013

Geoff Tansey
Geoff Tansey

The future is not fixed. They are the people that will help shape the future.


One of Europe’s leading thinkers and writers on matters of food policy and ethics has addressed an audience of staff and students at Harper Adams University.

Geoff Tansey, who has co-written or co-edited five books, including The Food System, gave a lecture entitled ‘Food and Thriving People: Paradigm Shifts for Fair and Sustainable Food Systems’ in the university’s Regional Food Academy on Thursday.

The lecture was presented mainly for the benefit of 64 students studying a Food Policy and Ethics module as part of their undergraduate degrees.

Mr Tansey said food was at the heart of the key challenge facing the world – creating sustainable, healthy ways in which everyone can have sufficient sustenance.

And he said talking to the next generation was vital in addressing this challenge.

“These are the students who will be going out into the food system, whether they are going out as farmers, growers or as food manufacturers, and their challenge is to do things differently in the future if we are going to feed everyone well, fairly, healthily and with justice,” he added.

“The future is not fixed. They are the people that will help shape the future. There may be really dire possibilities for the future and if we go on the way we are they are more likely to happen, and they have an opportunity to do things differently.

“It’s their future and that’s the one thing they should take away – it’s not fixed, there’s opportunity to change.”

Mr Tansey is a freelance writer and consultant on food, agriculture and related issues. He has degrees in Soil Science, and History and Social Studies of Science.

He helped found and edit the journal Food Policy, has been a consultant to international agencies, governments and non-governmental organisations, and has worked on agricultural development projects, including in Turkey, Albania and Mongolia.

Formerly honorary visiting professor of Food Policy at Leeds Metropolitan University, he is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University and at the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University.

In 2005, he received one of six Joseph Rowntree ‘Visionaries’ Awards, and won the Derek Cooper Award for best food campaigner/educator in the 2008 BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards.
For more information about Mr Tansey visit his website at http://tansey.org.uk/index.html

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