14 March Royal Society event: Feeding the world without costing the Earth

'Feeding the world without costing the Earth'
'Feeding the world without costing the Earth'

The Institute for Sustainable Food held its public launch at the Royal Society in London this week (14 March), which was originally planned for March 2020 but was delayed by Covid-19. 

The event was introduced by Professor Koen Lamberts, VC and President of the University of Sheffield, and the keynote was given by Guy Poppy, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the FSA and currently Director of the 'Transforming UK food systems' programme. 

The title for the event - ‘Feeding the world without the costing Earth’ - encapsulates the Institute’s vision of meeting the present-day challenges of global food security and sustainability without compromising the needs of future generations or the health of the planet.

Other talks were given by Professor Sue Hartley, Professor Tony Ryan and Dr Moaed al Meselmani as well as by the Institute's co-Directors Professor Duncan Cameron and Professor Peter Jackson.

Exhibitors included Jo Peel and Jake Nickles, the SpaCEA team - Dr Harry Wright and Luke Fountain, Professor Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Anthony Bennett and Gisele. 

Thank you to all those that attended and supported the event, and to our members for their contributions to the Institute.  

The exhibits 

Common Ground

Artist Jo Peel has collaborated with Professor Duncan Cameron, co-director of the University’s Institute for Sustainable Food, to produce a sculptural installation and associated thought-provoking film about our changing relationship with food during lockdown. When panic buying hit the news, many of us realised for the first time that food sustainability and food security are issues that affect us all. Common Ground deals with people’s real experiences and highlights the importance of Duncan’s research on urban farming and alternative methods of food production.   

Forgotten Food: Culinary Memory, Local Heritage and Lost Agricultural Varieties in India

Forgotten Food is a project that is connecting history to food sustainability in India through the revival of heritage rice, vintage recipes and oral storytelling. - Professor Siobhan Lambert-Hurley

SpaCEA: developing small, NASA-like plant growth cabinets as a tool for outreach and ground-based space food studies

Controlled environment growth cabinets for evaluating growing media and crop suitability are costly and complex systems making research into these fields prohibitive for citizens or small research groups. With a renewed interest in space exploration and research into crop growth in space we have designed open-source benchtop growth cabinets that resemble the Advanced Plant Habitat on the International Space Station, to improve accessibility to this research and to showcase the benefits of controlled environment technology to the general public. - Dr Harry Wright, Luke Fountain

Bittersweet Air

‘Bittersweet Air’ highlights the need to reduce the emissions of nitrous oxide, a gas that has 300 times the potency of carbon dioxide. A significant proportion of nitrous oxide emissions come from the use of fertilisers in agriculture. Production of the gas is driven by microbial processes in the soil so our research focuses on how to reduce the activity of the microbial groups responsible. The installation is a physical representation of the scale of nitrous oxide emissions following a single application of nitrate fertiliser, from an area of agricultural land measuring 2m x 2m. - A collaboration between Anthony Bennett, Professor Tim Daniell, and Gisele.