Oxford Farming Conference panel to paint picture of future food and farming

Ensuring healthy, safe and affordable food is accessible to all – regardless of where people live or how much they earn – will be the focus of the UK Food Strategy panel session at the 2020 Oxford Farming Conference on 7 – 9 January. 

The panel, moderated by BBC reporter Evan Davis, will focus on the work of Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of restaurant chain Leon and of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, who is leading the first major review of the UK food system in nearly 75 years. 

Chair of this year’s Oxford Farming Conference, Mathew Naylor, said that the session is a wonderful opportunity for delegates, and fellow panellists, to question and probe the findings of Dimbleby’s report.

“The report examining the UK food system, from field to fork, is a hugely significant body of work for farmers and food producers in the UK. During the session we’re expecting to find out, in more detail, about the recommendations Dimbleby‘s review will be proposing,” said Naylor. 

“The fantastic line-up of panellists each have very different perspectives which will greatly inform the theme of this year’s conference ‘Growing A Healthy Society’ that aims to focus on strengthening the relationship between the population, the land and the people who produce the nation’s food.

“We always try to get as many differing viewpoints as we can on the main stage so that the debate that happens in front of delegates and press is informative of all views and allows people to form their own opinions,” he added.

Joining Dimbleby on the panel will be Denise Bentley, co-founder and CEO of First Love Foundation which aims to tackle social injustice; and, Roger Whiteside, CEO of Greggs, the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom. 

“Sometimes it can be difficult for farmers to understand the issues of urban food poverty. At Oxford, we have always recognised that healthy food should be for everyone, regardless of their income. Having Denise join the panel will provide farmers – who often find that their products are worth less than the cost of production – an understanding of people who are buying food on low incomes,” said Naylor. 

“As CEO of Greggs, a huge purchaser and retailer of agricultural goods, Roger Whiteside will give an inside insight behind the trends in food consumption, and what new opportunities that might present for farmers.”  Naylor added.

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