Join our MSc students for a lecture by Professor Tim Lang on the food challenges facing the UK after a momentous 2019.
In the lecture, Tim Lang deliberates on some major questions. Will the goals of consumers and farmers now diverge? Is UK food policy now quietly regionalising or will it further globalise? Will food standards be a new battleground or will the UK again aim for cheap food? And where does this leave UK food security? Where are the risks and do they matter?
Professor Tim Lang argues that, amidst the turmoil and multiple competing visions, the case for a Great Food Transformation remains. Drawing on recent studies, he proposes that the simple goal of aiming for sustainable diets from sustainable food systems remains a rational policy direction. Whether this happens depends on many factors!
Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City, University of London’s Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in the 1970s in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, which formed his interests in food as a link for health, environment, culture and political economy. This focus on the dynamics and outcomes of the food system became his work from 1980, first academically, then in the public sector and civil society, and for the last quarter century back in academia. The Centre has become an international known source of research and post-graduate education on modern food policy.
He has been a consultant to the World Health Organisation, FAO and UNEP, a special advisor to four House of Commons Select Committee inquiries, two on food standards (1998- 1999 & 1999), globalisation (2000) and obesity (2003-2004), and a consultant on food security to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House 2007-2009). He was a Commissioner on the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission (2006-2011), reviewing progress on food sustainability. He chaired the review of the Scottish Government’s Diet and Nutrition Policy in 2006, and was on the Council of Food Policy Advisors to the Dept for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (2008-2010), and is a member of the Mayor of London’s Food Board (2009-17; reappointed 2017-20). He helped launch the 100 World Cities Urban Food Policy Pact in Milan 2015.
Tim and the Centre for Food Policy at City University London work closely with science and civil society organisations such as Sustain, the NGO Alliance, and he advises many projects such as the Food & Climate Research Network (Oxford University). He is a Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Environmental, is President of Garden Organic, and is special advisor to the Food Research Collaboration, an inter-university, inter-disciplinary academic collaboration with UK civil society (www.foodresearch.org.uk) which he founded in 2014, run from the Centre for Food Policy.
He was food advisor to the EU Environment Commissioner (1988), was Natural Resources and Food commissioner on the UK Sustainable Development Commission (2006-11), and a member of UK Council of Food Policy Advisors (2008-10). He is author or co-author of numerous journal articles and ten books. He is a member of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems (reporting January 2019). He was Expert (advisor) to the European Economic & Social Council’s Opinion on the case for a comprehensive EU Food Policy (2017) and again to the EESC Opinion on Sustainable Diets (due 2019).
He has written and co-written many articles, reports, chapters and books. His latest book is Sustainable Diets (with Pamela Mason), published in March 2017 and before that: Food Wars (with Michael Heasman, Routledge, 2nd ed 2015), Unmanageable Consumer (with Yiannis Gabriel, Sage, 3rd ed 2015), Ecological Public Health (with Geof Rayner, Routedge Earthscan, 2012), Food Policy (with D Barling and M Caraher, Oxford University Press, 2009) and The Atlas of Food (with E Millstone, Earthscan 2003/2008), which won the André Simon award 2003. He writes frequently in the media and wrote a monthly column in The Grocer 2000-2015. He grows vegetables and fruit in his London garden and is restoring a marsh and field in NW Wales. His new book ‘Feeding Britain’ (Penguin, out in March 2020) is a critical review of UK food security.