Free Public Lectures, Spring 2015 – Food Security (Birkbeck Institute of Environment, University of London with the Ecology and Conservation Studies Society and Linnean Society of London).

Friday evenings 13th February to 20th March 2015 at 18:30, Lecture Theatre B33, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London.

World population projections show that there will be many more mouths to feed in coming decades. This need will follow the actual population trend, but meeting it depends on many other factors.

Food production will continue to depend upon half a dozen staple food plants. There is a potential fragility in maintaining production that depends upon land availability, soil fertility, water supplies, freedom from pests, appropriate technologies and suitable crop varieties. Equally important is whether the primary crops are eaten by us, or used less efficiently for meat production. Food can be lost in storage and transportation. In an increasingly urbanised world, some see the solutions in energy-intensive, industrial scale farming, fisheries and food distribution, whilst others advocate smaller scale, local activity. Much of this will be affected by climate change. This lecture series explores the issues and tries to answer some of the questions.

Further details of the six individual lectures, and a reading list, will be available later. To receive these, please email, consult the website, or pick up a copy at one of the lectures.

13th February. What is food security and why should we care about it? Prof Tim Benton, University of Leeds, ‘Champion’ for the UK’s Global Food Security programme. 20th February. GM and food security; part of the solution, not part of the problem. Prof. Jonathan Jones. The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich.

27th February. Sustainable diets, eco-system damage and disease. Prof Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, Department of Sociology, City University of London.

6th March. Crop Wild Relatives: diversity, conservation and crop adaptation. Dr Ruth Eastwood, Crop Wild Relative Project Co-ordinator, Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

13th March. Food, climate change, health, animal welfare and development. Dr Tara Garnett, Food Climate Research Network and Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, University of Oxford.

20th March. Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture. Dr Zareen Bharucha, Senior Research Officer, Essex Sustainability Institute, University of Essex.

The free public lectures are in a series hosted by GEDS, Birkbeck University of London. They are suitable for those who may be considering, or undertaking, university courses in ecology, biological conservation or related subjects. They will interest environmental and ecological practitioners, natural historians, wildlife organisations and others with similar interests. The lectures are supported by GEDS, Birkbeck University of London and would not be possible otherwise. They are organised and promoted by the Ecology and Conservation Studies Society, with assistance from the Linnean Society of London.

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