YESI-Defra collaboration drives National Food Strategy forward

News | Posted on Thursday 12 March 2020

The National Food Strategy team invites YESI Theme Leader to share expert advice at their first citizen engagement event.

Professor Bob Doherty presents at the National Food Strategy Public Dialogue event in Cumbria

Professor Bob Doherty, YESI’s Sustainable Food Theme Leader, was invited by Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of restaurant chain Leon, and his team at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to be the food systems and trade expert at their first Public Dialogue event in February. This involved a series of presentations on food systems and trade, plus a Q&A with citizen participants in Kendal, Cumbria.

The events form the first phase of a major independent review of England’s National Food Strategy in 75 years. This review is putting collaboration and engagement at its centre. The first phase of this citizen engagement is a series of public dialogues to explore the impacts of dietary choices on health and the environment, trade, and affordability of food.

Professor Doherty said: “Food is like no other industry sector, it is organic, perishable, seasonal and we source our food from millions of producers from all over the world. The day was fascinating, hearing about people’s lived experience with food and their challenges.”

YESI’s recent York Citizen Food Assembly, held in November 2019, was used to inform the structure and methods used in the public dialogues.

The process will culminate in a national summit in late spring, where representatives from each of the dialogue events will further develop their findings in collaboration with sector experts and stakeholders. The results of this process, and the other strands of engagement, will feed into and shape the citizen’s assembly, which will be held in autumn 2020.