IFSTAL Symposium: “Food systems in changing trade landscapes”

Posted on February 1, 2018

The Innovative Food System Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL) Symposium was back for a second year, comprising of an exciting day of talks, discussions, debates and workshops, exploring food systems in changing trade landscapes - from the impact of trade agreements on diet and health to the likely effect of food trade on the environment. Bringing together a range of disciplines to address global food security challenges, the symposium offered insights into different approaches and skills in systems thinking as a route to problem solving. 

The symposium was held on 27th January 2018, and second year PhD student Elisabeth Titis was able to attend the event at CASS Business School, London. 

The plenary included a keynote speech by professor Chris Elliot, Queen’s University, Belfast, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with Vicky Hird (Sustain), David Lee (Defra) and Gavin Milligan (William Jackson Food Group Ltd.). The speech outlined the major challenges faced by global food supply going forward in terms of providing the growing world population with food that has been produced in a system based on integrity.

The following summary of highlights was provided by Elisabeth:


Following Chris Elliott’s talk about the challenges to the integrity - “Challenges to the Integrity of the Global Food Supply System”:

Six principles of food integrity should be used to reshape the British food supply system, which include: producing safe (1), authentic (2), and nutritious (3) food to the highest ethical standards (4), supported by sustainable systems (5), and with respect to the environment and those who work in food industry (6). Chris addressed a National Food Crime Prevention Framework, discussing recent food frauds and technology to prevent these frauds, including DNA food printing.

Following Vicky Hird’s talk about the environment and its impact on the food system and trade - “Food systems, trade and changing environmental landscapes”:

Food security is threatened by the global trade in farm products and from climate change fuelled by an entire food system; Vicky addressed sustainability issues and discussed her work at Sustain to integrate these threats into food policy.

Following David Lee’s talk about the Defra’s role in the food system - “Governance in the Food System: A Whitehall perspective”:

David discussed how Defra addresses its statutory objectives and engages with a large range of stakeholders and partners, looking at the policy levels and how a policymaking department implements government policy, as well as how evidence, research and analysis supports and informs policy.




Words by Elisabeth Titis and Vikki Houlden. Photos by Elisabeth Titis.




This activity, through the Centre for Doctoral Training in Urban Science and Progress, Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities is supported by a UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant number: EP/L016400/1

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