Part of CountrysideCOP
Watch the webinar
‘Business-as-usual’ is dead. The world order – economically, politically, environmentally and socially – is being turned on its head and redrawn. Why then, when thinking about transforming our food system, do we tend to assume the world will just trundle on as it has before, leaving the UK free to carefully redesign its domestic production, supply chains and landscapes – rather than be forced to react to the world around it, at least in part? Prof Neil Ward, co-lead of the AFN Network+ and professor of rural and regional development at the University of East Anglia, paints a picture of four possible futures developed by the AFN Network+, that suggest how radically different the world might be in 2050. Based on these, he’ll go deeper into how the UK agri-food system might respond, how net zero could be aspired to under each, and what research gaps emerge.
Our food system accounts for around a third of all global emissions - so why has it hardly been talked about at previous COPs? The UN’s climate change conference brings together world leaders every year to try to bash out a deal to cut emissions and halt climate change. But it’s so far been famously silent on food and farming. This seems absurd, even to a casual observer, and even more so when one considers the potential of food system landscapes to sequester carbon and lock it away. What on earth is going on then, and will this ever change? COP veteran, Prof Tim Benton (University of Leeds, Chatham House, former UK Food Security Champion, and co-lead of AFN Network+), leads us through this conundrum. Tim has been to many COPs, worked with many governments on food system transformation, is regularly consulted by the UK’s Climate Change Committee, as well as being an author for the IPCC's Special Report on Land, Food and Climate. Tim lifts the lid on what really happens at COP, where food and farming sit in it all, how this might change in the future, and his hopes for this year’s COP28 in Dubai.
As global warming increases, young people currently in their teens, 20s, 30s, and early 40s will be the ones to bear the brunt of climatic changes, plus the responsibility of transitioning the agri-food system towards net zero by 2050. For those who are farmers, land managers and food producers, what challenges will they face? What opportunities might there be? What skills and education will they need? How will rural and farming careers need to be reimagined? How do young people feel about this, and what are their concerns? Dr Richard Byrne, senior lecturer at Harper Adams University and manager of the Rural Resilience Research Group, lead us through some of these questions, challenge the idea of what being a ‘farmer’ will mean in 2050, and how entrepreneurial young people today will be able to find opportunities in the years ahead. Sophie Gregory, first generation organic dairy farmer, and Luke Cox, vice chair of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), young farmer and agricultural professional himself, also outline their hopes, ambitions, worries, and thoughts on the future of farming for their generation.
This was a joint webinar between AFN Network+ and the NFYFC, held in National Young Farmers’ Week 2023.
Proudly powered by Weebly
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)