In true IFSTAL style, we invited an interdisciplinary mix of food sector professionals to talk about their own personal career journeys to effect change in the food system. An inspiring array of individuals conveyed their passion for food and change; and surprisingly chocolate appeared as a common thread! After presentations, discussions held on round tables in smaller groups allowed all the burning questions to be answered.
Gavin Milligan from William Jackson Food Group spoke of his journey from a PhD to a varied pathway through many elements of the food supply chain. His advice to participants was “don’t worry if you can’t see the end game is yet”.
Bob Doherty from the University of York got into academia not by the usual route of completing 3 degrees but by being approached to give talks on his Divine Chocolate business model. His overall message was to “keep an open mind”.
Rachel Manners from Public Health England spoke of her changed view of the central public health after moving from a local authority role. Some of her advice was to: “look for opportunities to develop yourself and don’t be afraid of change”
Fiona McKerrow from Mack Fruit discussed the many challenges associated with the fair trade of bananas. Fiona advised that “collaboration is the way for the future”. This is being achieved by World Banana Forum which is bringing together retailers and growers.
This year we also welcomed more visitors for an extended networking lunch, including Anna Cura (Food Ethics Council); Alice Turnbull (Bayer); Cey Gungor (IFSTAL 15/16 alumnus) and colleagues (FSA); Libby Good (AFTP); Owen Gower (UK Centre for Graduate Education) and Billah Qureshi and Katie Pinder (Reading Careers).
Thank you to all that gave up their time on a scorcher of a day to share their own inspirational stories and encourage the IFSTAL participants to look for the opportunities for change and personal impact.