#FoodTalks: From emergency to recovery

The overarching theme of our #FoodTalks in 2020 is ‘We are all emergency respondents now.’ We want to explore in what ways our food systems need to be transformed in order to tackle the intersecting climate, biodiversity, obesity and democracy emergencies – and now, urgently, the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronavirus is proving devastating for people and businesses alike. It is also putting the food sector through its toughest test in living memory.

The UK will bounce back, but let’s not bounce back to business-as-usual. Let’s reset how our food systems work and make them fair for all. In our first #FoodTalks of the year, we looked at the initial emergency response to the crisis. Amidst the distress, uncertainty and sporadic stockpiling that the pandemic has unleashed, we have seen people, organisations and communities responding in amazing ways. But emergency food aid is a short-term response. How do we ensure we do not further entrench a model that doesn’t tackle root causes, and instead focus on resilience?

In this, our second #FoodTalks, we explored how we can switch from emergency to recovery in our response.

The NHS was born following WWII. What will emerge from COVID-19? Once we are through the worst of this pandemic, what opportunities might there be to build the foundations for a new world and new food systems? How can we help food systems bounce back onto a more resilient, fairer path? We, as a collective, need to discuss what resilient food systems mean and what practical steps we should take to create lasting positive change.

In challenging times, it is important to carve out spaces to discuss the issues we face, to share thoughts, experience and expertise, and to work out ways to collectively move forward. This event was an online discussion, hosted by Dan Crossley, Executive Director of the Food Ethics Council, and included short contributions from food, economic, and systems change experts:

  • Trewin Restorick, CEO of Hubbub
  • Henry Leveson-Gower, founder/ CEO, Promoting Economic Pluralism; editor, Mint Magazine
  • Jyoti Fernandes, Landworkers’ Alliance
  • Professor Corinna Hawkes, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London
  • Pete Ritchie, Director of Nourish Scotland and member of the Food Ethics Council

The event was aimed at people working to create positive change in the food system (including London Food Link members) and members of Impact Hub Kings Cross, but was open to all.

Below you can download summary of the many questions, insights, experiences, and knowledge shared between the four speakers and 250+ participants. The video recording can be found here.

#FoodTalks is brought to you by a partnership of the Food Ethics Council, Impact Hub Kings Cross, Organico, and London Food Link, part of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.