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From cultivation to consumption: FERA and University of York seminars to examine agri-food supply stability

Posted on 20 March 2014

Lead scientists from the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and the University of York have launched a joint programme of seminars to discuss ways of ensuring the future stability and integrity of agri-food supply chains.

Part of the recently established Agri-Food Resilience Initiative (AFRI), the seminars will examine subjects of shared interest and discuss opportunities to contribute towards the UK government’s Agricultural Technologies Strategy. 

The Agri-Food Resilience Initiative is a collaboration between Fera and the University’s York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI). It is dedicated to ensuring the stability and integrity of agri-food supply chains in the face of the global challenges of climate change, declining natural resources and rapid socio political transformations.

The seminar series will highlight the joint strength in agri-food technology research across both organisations. The programme will bring together topics as diverse as plant and soil health, biodiversity and ecosystem services, alongside social and socio-economic research, that can deliver resilience in production and food and feed supply chains.  Seminars will take place alternately at Fera and the University of York, with researchers from each presenting at the partner organisation.

Professor Sue Hartley, Director of YESI, said: “Together, the University of York and FERA combine the capacity to identify new threats to the food chain and the natural environment with the ability to design, develop and deploy appropriate solutions, such as more resilient crop varieties or novel detection and control strategies for plant diseases.”

Dr Patrick Bonnett, from Fera, added: “The capability of FERA and YESI to manage data sets and model socio-technical, environmental and financial aspects of complex supply chains that extend to overseas and often developing countries enables an holistic view of agri-food production and procurement systems, and the means to identify routes to increased resilience from cultivation to consumption.”

AFRI is part of a broader and shared ambition to galvanise the research capability within the Yorkshire and Humberside region, along with potential regional partners. These include Sand Hutton Applied Innovation Campus, Askham Bryan College, Bishop Burton College, Stockbridge Technology Centre, the National Non-Food Crops Centre, the Biorenewables Development Centre, York Science Park and BioVale.

For further information about AFRI and the seminar series please contact Dr Julian Smith, FERA (Julian.Smith@fera.gsi.gov.uk; 01904 462746) or Sheila Davitt-Betts, YESI (sheila.davitt-betts@york.ac.uk; 01904 328866).

Notes to editors:

  • For further information on the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) at the University of York please visit www.york.ac.uk/yesi/