Is there enough of the "pie" for everyone?

OFC Bitesize

The next OFC Bitesize, held on Thursday 3 September at 12noon, will focus on ‘The World, Its Food and My Farm’ and will examine the discussions forming around food.  

The session, chaired by OFC Director and Food Safety and Nutrition Consultant at Alo Solutions, Barbara Bray, will examine how the food sector can adapt to the new conditions in 2020.  

“This Bitesize webinar will provide an opportunity to reflect on the theme of the 1974 Conference with panellists to examine how the country coped with the 3-day working week, first post-war recession, two general elections and state of emergency in Northern Ireland. The panellists will then look at the challenges facing us in the future, focusing on three key perspectives: the world, its food, and my farm.” 

Robynne Anderson, President and CEO of Emerging Ag Inc and Director General for the International Agri-Food Network, will be joining Barbara as one of the panellists examining how the discussion around food is now more complex than when the theme was first debated.

“It’s more important than ever to get involved in these discussions about food systems with the UN Food System Summit coming up,” said Robynne. 

“The past few years, we’ve seen a rise in the discussion of food that’s focussed on false dichotomies. That it’s hunger versus obesity; rural versus urban; consumers versus farmers; that it’s the planet versus agriculture. Growing up on a farm, I know how convoluted and remote these conversations seem from the reality of producing food.” 

Joining Robynne and Barbara on the panel will be Terri Sarch, the UK Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome; and Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF).  

“It’s a pleasure to host the next OFC Bitesize and discuss food systems, a topic that I am really passionate about. Adverse weather effects, unemployment and different trade conditions are not new to the UK. We will hear from our guest speakers that there will be more people going hungry and a greater need to provide healthy and sustainable food that allows farmers to make a living. It’s going to be a thought-provoking session,” said Barbara. 

The 2021 OFC, hosted as a digital one-day conference on 7 January 2021, will celebrate its 75th anniversary since the first conference was held in 1936. ‘The World, Its Food and My Farm’ #OFCBitesize webinar will be held on Thursday 3 September FROM 12.00 - 13.00, and those wishing to register can do so here. 

Oxford Farming Conference Podcast: New Episode 

Unable to join the Bitesize webinar but similarly passionate about the conversations bouncing around food and production, Vonnie Estates, Vice President of Technology for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is the latest guest on the OFC podcast. 

A global organisation that supports the whole supply chain, PMA’s goal is to create a healthier world and they work with their members throughout the supply chain to achieve that. 

Interviewed by OFC Director Sarah Mukherjee, when asked about the relevance of conversations around rural versus urban, big farmers versus small farmers, and whether there should be a focus on collaboration, Vonnie notes that there is scope for the ‘pie’ to get bigger. 

“I really think the pie can get bigger. So, when you have people that are saying ‘we don’t support indoor growing because we want to grow outside’, I think that indoor farming is making the pie bigger. That is what I want to see – more ways to get great tasting, nutritious food instead of saying that it has to be indoor versus outdoor.” 

Vonnie noted that during the pandemic the supply chain was still working 

“Despite the demand shock and supply shock, everything is still arriving on our plate for dinner. That’s because a lot of governments have stayed out of it, and there haven't been large trade barriers or restrictions to exports. 

I think there's also been a lot more of a focus on local, and that people really want to support the farmers around them locally, even the indoor farms if they're local, but there's really this kind of hyper-local for focus that's happening as well. 

You can listen to this episode, and previous episodes of the OFC Podcast, here.