Food system transformation models often rest on us all eating more fruit and veg and less meat and dairy. But even if consumers were persuaded to choose a more plant-based diet, our supply of fresh produce is on a knife edge: Mounting pressures from Brexit to supermarkets, and labour to energy costs, mean many UK growers have left glasshouses, fields, or orchards unplanted or unsown for two years now. In addition, we rely heavily on imports (around 80% for fruit, 45% for veg) from countries that are projected to suffer large-scale drying and other climate-related shocks and stresses. Add to that an ever more fractured world with traditional trade routes disrupted, and there is a big case for increasing our own domestic production. But how? What are the challenges? How can research and academia contribute?
In this two-part webinar, we have two great speakers with significant first-hand experience of working in fresh produce, and who are both sought-after voices to talk about these topics in the media and to government.
Part 2: Fruit crops (23 February, 10-11am)
Ali Capper grows apples and hops on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border and is the chair of British Apples & Pears, a grower-funded apple and pear trade group. British apples are our national fruit, yet British-grown apples represent only 40% of all the apples sold in the UK.
(Information for Part 1 Vegetable and Salad Crops (8 February, 12 midday-1pm) with Lee Stiles, the secretary of Lea Valley Growers Association.)
Please note that this webinar will be recorded.
Ali Capper wears many hats and is a well-known voice in British horticulture. She grows eating and cider apples at her family farm on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border and is the chair of British Apples & Pears, a grower-funded apple and pear trade group. Ali also sits on the NFU’s horticulture and potatoes board, which she was chair of from 2016-2022. She has contributed to the government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, and regularly appears in national media and the farming and horticulture press. She is also a director of the Oxford Farming Conference, Director of British Hop Association (she also grows hops), chair of Wye Hops, Chair of Horticulture Crop Protection Ltd, a Nuffield Scholar, and non-executive chair of rural insurer, NFU Mutual.
Follow Ali on Twitter here and LinkedIn here.
About the webinar series:
The webinar will be chaired by Jez Fredenburgh, Knowledge Exchange Fellow for the AFN Network+, and agri-food journalist. Jez is based at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.
This webinar is part of a series run by AFN Network+ which explores net zero in the UK agri-food system with leading movers and shakers. Expect deep and varied insight from across the sector, including farmers, scientists, policy analysts, community leaders, retailers, politicians, businesses and health professionals.
The series is put together by Jez and Neil Ward, co-lead of the network, also based at the Tyndall Centre at UEA. Follow Jez on Twitter/X and follow Neil on Twitter/X.
Watch past webinars here and listen to our podcast here. You can also follow AFN Network+ on Twitter/X and LinkedIn.
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UK Research has funded this Network+ with the support of these 4 councils:
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)