Government needs a bold plan for net zero in agri-food. What can history and the civil service teach us about what change is possible?
Our food system has been through many revolutions before, but we need one now to tackle climate change and create positive change for nature and our health. Largely we know what needs to change and we know that government will need to take the lead – so what’s holding things up and how can this change?
In this webinar, Jill Rutter, a former senior civil servant now at the Institute for Government, helps us understand how Whitehall works, why it doesn’t always work, what its challenges are, and how these could be overcome for the net zero challenge. Neil Ward, Professor of Rural and Regional Development at the University of East Anglia and author of Net Zero, Food and Farming: Climate Change and the UK Agri-Food System, also challenges our understanding of what government is for and ask us to reimagine what is possible. He’ll take us on a whistle stop tour of previous food revolutions, and how the state shaped them.
Jill Rutter covers;
Jill Rutter is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, a think tank that researches how to make government more effective. Before joining the Institute, Jill spent most of her career in the civil service, working at HM Treasury, No.10 and most recently at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Jill is a regular commentator on a wide range of issues about government, the civil service and Brexit. She is employed as a Senior Research Fellow at UK in a Changing Europe at Kings College London. She is an adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission on net zero and was a member of Westminster Council’s Energy and Green Transition Commission.
As well as a co-convenor of AFN Network+, Neil Ward is a professor of rural and regional development at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA), where he was deputy vice chancellor and PVC-Academic (2013-21). He has held chairs at the University of Leeds and Newcastle University, where he was director of the Centre for Rural Economy from 2004 to 2008. He has also worked for periods on secondment to the Cabinet Office and as an advisor to the Economic and Social Research Council. His research interests are in rural economic and social change, agriculture, food and environmental policy and regional development. His latest book is Net Zero, Food and Farming: Climate Change and the UK Agri-Food System (Routledge 2023).
Jez Fredenburgh is the Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow for AFN Network+, based at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia. Before this, she was an agri-food journalist for 10 years, writing for Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian, BBC, and National Geographic. She has also worked as an editor with the Sustainable Food Trust, Grantham Institute (Imperial College), Food Farming and Countryside Commission, Soil Association, WWF and the Prince’s Countryside Fund. Follow Jez on Twitter.
About the webinar series:
This webinar is part of a series run by AFN Network+, exploring 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. AFN Network+ is a 3-year UKRI-funded project coordinated by the Universities of East Anglia, West of England, York, and Leeds. The network has 700+ academics, researchers, third sector organisations, policy makers, and agri-food industry professionals from farmers to retailers. Together we are working to identify key research needs to help the UK food system transition towards a net zero UK by 2050.
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)