On December 13th, City University hosted its second Food Symposium, bringing together over 150 people from community and consumer groups, farmers and food producers, wholesalers and retail chains, unions, universities, the NHS, local authorities, and the government.
The overall topic was the direction, roles and challenges facing UK food policy – influenced of course by change across the globe.
The day was convened by Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University, who has supported several Transition Tooting events and lives locally.

After a morning of talks from a wide range of experts, the group divided into three (‘Civil Society’; the ‘Food Supply Chain’; the ‘State’) and addressed these questions: “what are the current challenges facing the UK food system from your perspective?”, and “what can be done about those challenges, and who will do it?”

Some of the practical points that came up which are very relevant to communities such as Tooting included:

Ø  How can consumers have more direct involvement with food production?
Ø  How can we find delicious and nutritious food in a time of austerity, when processed food that’s high in sugars and fats is the cheapest to buy, and available everywhere?
Ø  How can we integrate the health benefits of good diet with other factors that promote wellbeing – exercise, keeping active, connecting with other people?
Ø  How can we reduce waste in food (<50% of disposable income is spent on food, and <30% of food is wasted).
Ø  How to use good food well, and also ‘cut carbon’ – in the home, and in procurement by large purchasers such as hospitals?
Ø  How can we establish ‘Fair Trade’ locally in the UK?

Practical advice & feedback from these sessions will be shared soon, and we will post a link on the TTT blog.