IFSTAL Symposium 2018
Cass Business School, City, University of London
Almost 100 delegates attended the 2018 Symposium at the Cass Business School, City, University of London on Saturday 27th January 2018. Our keynote speaker, Christopher Elliott, Professor of Food Safety, Queens University, Belfast set the agenda for the day by introducing the concept of food integrity in the production of food; Safe, Authentic, Nutritious, Sustainable, Ethical and with Respect to the environment and those who work in the food industry. When it comes to the trade of food, all these issues are absolutely key when determining not only what food we consume but how we engage and act in the food system, which as we know has implications far beyond our own plate.
Drawing on these themes, our stellar line up of speakers drawn from academia, NGO, public and private sector institutions and organisations brought their wealth of expertise and experience to the day, mapping out the complex system of trade in food from their own perspective.
With our IFTSTAL lens firmly in place, the aim of the day was to bring together a collective of disciplines and approaches to explore some of the most important problems facing food trade today and a look to the future for ways of ensuring that the food we eat has that most important ingredient; integrity.
We designed the day around an ambitious programme of workshops, which had delegates participating in discussions with experts: planning food focused objectives for a Brexit strategy; pretending to be press officers; thinking about how trade can influence our consumer choices and our diet; considering the different and conflicting social values that drive livestock policy and trade; grappling with issues of invasive species and the impact of climate change and global challenges of crop pests, and pesticides. In order to engage and draw opinion and questions from our delegates, and in true IFSTAL style, we used a variety of methods, including the wonderfully democratic technology of Padlet which allows large groups of people to ask questions, give opinions and thoughts in real time for all to see (the anonymous default always helps) – a great way of enabling delegates to voice their opinion and collectively create discussion boards. Delegates were also given the chance to participate in small round table discussions and of course use plenty of post it notes, flip chart paper and sharpies. These small workshops speak to the inclusive and accessible nature of IFSTAL’s work and there was a great atmosphere in the rooms as delegates, speakers and facilitators worked together.
The workshops were book-ended by two discussion panels: the first comprising a variety of food sector experts responding to Professor Elliott’s lecture and outlining the trade challenges they are currently facing. In the afternoon, Professor Tim Lang chaired a panel reflecting on the day and considering what the future holds for trade in food from a variety of perspectives including academia, private sector and NGOs. Our grateful thanks to all those who attended and especially to our speakers, whose wealth of professional and personal knowledge and experience shone through. We will be posting further blogs from participants in due course, but perhaps the most satisfying output of the day was seeing many of our delegates deep in conversation with speakers during the breaks.
Our speakers included:
Corinna Hawkes, Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London
David Lee, Head of Food and Trade Statistics, DEFRA
Sarah Malone, Economist, Food and Drink Federation (FDF)
Skye Oudemans, Media and Campaigns Officer, Food and Drink Federation (FDF)
Vicki Hird, Campain Coordinator, Sustain
Dr. Rosemary Collier, Director of Warwick Crop Centre, University of Warwick
Alan Hayes, Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD)
Duncan Williamson, Food Policy Manager, World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF)
Mandy Nevel, Senior Lecturer in Pig Health and Production, Royal Veterinary College
Blog by Annabel de Frece and Rebecca Wells, IFSTAL Education Coordinators, City, University of London