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Author: TABLEdebates.org

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Is a local or global food system more sustainable? How big should a farm be? Debates about the future of food have become more polarised than ever. We will explore the evidence, worldviews, and values that people bring to global food system debates. Our show will be in conversation with those who are trying to transform the food system, as part of the ongoing work of Table, a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), and Wageningen University. This podcast is operated by SLU. For more info, visit https://tabledebates.org/podcast/
16 Episodes
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In the final episode of our first season, we share our main findings and reflections from the past 14 conversations we had about scale in food systems. We present our guests' different views on whether local or global food systems are more sustainable and resilient, and whether that is even the right question to ask. We discuss the need for a diversity of scales and why both small and large farms and long and short supply chains are important. Finally, we examine whether large-scale elements of food systems make it difficult for smaller scale systems to survive and thrive.For more info and transcript, please visit: https://tabledebates.org/podcast/episode15
In our conversation today with three researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Elin Röös, Robin Harder and Johan Karlsson), we discuss what food systems models can and cannot tell us about what type of future food system we'd like to create, previous projects modeling food systems at different scales (bioregion, country, continent), and how our values influence what questions we ask from a model and how we interpret its results.For more info and transcript, please visit: https://tabledebates.org/podcast/episode14
In our conversation with Felipe Roa-Clavijo (author of The Politics of Food Provisioning in Colombia: Agrarian Movements and Negotiations with the State), we discuss different narratives around food provisioning in Colombia, and find out which groups are promoting these different visions - to feed the village, feed the nation and feed the world. We talk about what it was like to be in the room during the negotiations between agrarian movements and the government, how Colombia's food system compares to the rest of Latin America, and why food can offer a valuable entry point to addressing systemic issues.For more info and transcript, visit: tabledebates.org/podcast/episode13
In our conversation with Sophia Murphy (Executive Director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy [IATP]), we talk about the importance of trade at different scales throughout the food systems. Sophia discusses how ‘local’ systems have always been a part of extensive trading networks, how trade can meet the needs of diverse constituencies across the globe, and what needs to change in international governance for this to happen.For more info and transcript, visit: https://tabledebates.org/podcast/episode12
In our discussion with Klara Fischer (associate professor in rural development at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), we discuss how different smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa adopt and adapt different technologies, why new crop technologies are not scale-neutral, lessons to be learned from the Asian green revolution, and why it's important to work in interdisciplinary teams and be aware of the boundaries of our own knowledge.For more info and an episode transcript, visit: https://tabledebates.org/podcast-episode11
In our discussion, data scientist Vincent "Vinny" Ricciardi challenges the assumptions and evidence that are built into food systems debates. We talk about a few of the recent papers that Vinny co-authored, including one that asks how much of the world’s food supply is produced by smallholder farmers, a 50-year meta-analysis that compares how do small and large farms size up in terms of yields and biodiversity impact, and whether smallholders actually have access to broadband to become part of a data driven farming future.For more info and the episode transcript, please visit https://tabledebates.org/podcast-episode10
In our conversation with rural sociologist Jessica Duncan (Wageningen U), we talk about dialogue and participation in food policy, why we shouldn’t always be seeking consensus, and the importance of bringing diverse local actors into global policy conversations. We unpack Jessica and Priscilla Claeys' 2020 report Covid19, Gender and Food systems and discuss what is gained by "viewing the crisis from below".For more info, visit http://tabledebates.org/podcast-episode9
How can shifting towards a planet-based diet reduce biodiversity loss? In our conversation with Brent Loken, Global Food Lead Scientist, at the WWF, we unpack the 2020 report Bending the curve: The restorative power of a planet-based diet, and dive into the complexity and tradeoffs between different diets, and human and environmental health. We talk about different responsibilities of nations across the world, whether eating meat is really a problem, and why we shouldn't be betting on a single solution for transforming food systems.For more info, visit: https://tabledebates.org/podcast-episode8
In our conversation with social anthropologist Elena Lazos Chavero (National University of Mexico), we discuss how her research interests were formed around rainforest conservation, food systems and indigenous rights in Veracruz, Mexico. Elena explains how local and global food systems as well as urban and rural communities are highly dependent on each other. We also explore what the food sovereignty movement fights for in Mexico today.For more info and transcript, please visit: tabledebates.org/podcast-episode7
In this conversation with environmental geographer Jamie Lorimer, we discuss different ways of conceptualizing scale; how ideas of scalability, globalization, and homogenization have shaped food and other systems; and how the tiniest of actors, microbes, can potentially have huge impacts on these systems.For more info, visit:  tabledebates.org/podcast-episode6
Has the increasing commodification of food and financialization of the food system left us more vulnerable to food crises? We speak with Jennifer Clapp about the 20th century history of food policy that led us to  this moment, how the Covid-19 food crisis is different than previous ones, and how diversity, in all of its forms, is essential to building a resilient food system.For full show notes and transcript, visit: tabledebates.org/podcast-episode5
What role can seaweed and different technologies play in building a resilient food system? What are the potential tradeoffs when scaling these technologies? In our conversation with Sahil Shah, co-founder of Sustainable Seaweed, we examine how livelihoods might be impacted by scaling and whether marine-based solutions offer an alternative avenue for food production and climate change mitigation outside of terrestrial ecosystems.For full show notes and transcript, visit: tabledebates.org/podcast-episode4
How do people and organisations work to transform the food system? Are there effective strategies to connect local movements across the globe? And is it the size or scale of their operations, that connects them to each other, or is it something else?Lauren Baker, director of programmes at Global Alliance for the Future of Food, has been working to transform the food system for decades - in Canada, Mexico and across the world. While Lauren's work may focus on a more local or regional scale, she regularly traverses scales, reflecting how individuals and local food networks are embedded in larger systems, connected to broader political economic dynamics.In our conversation, we discuss Global Alliance’s theory of transformation, the importance of relationship building in food systems work, and why Lauren finds it essential to link local and global scale to place.For full show notes and transcript, visit: tabledebates.org/podcast-episode3
Have you thought about the system of trade that brings food to your market or grocery store? Do you wonder if that system of global food trade, where 25% of all agricultural products are now traded internationally, is a vulnerable or resilient one? Rob Bailey, climate director at Marsh & McLennan, has examined how potential disruptions to trading routes can have severe impacts on global food security.Rob Bailey lays out the worst case scenario that could lead to a global food catastrophe. And while he paints a terrifying picture, we find that most parts of global food trade stood up remarkably well to the Covid19 pandemic. We discuss this, recommendations to increase resilience in our global food system, and more.Check out Rob's report: Chokepoints and vulnerabilities of global food tradeFor full show notes and transcript, visit: tabledebates.org/podcast-episode2
Why does agricultural research often fall short of addressing food insecurity challenges in sub-Saharan Africa? In this conversation with Ken Giller, we explore this wicked problem from a systems perspective examining the diverse drivers and experiences of smallholder farmers and the socio-ecological systems in which they are embedded.Ken provides a nuanced look at agroecological solutions and argues that relying solely on nature-based solutions would be inadequate to address food security problems in Africa. We also talk about the huge diversity of farmers that can be found under the banner of smallholders, an in-depth examination of the “yield gap,” and what gets lost when translating research into practice.For full show notes and transcript, visit: tabledebates.org/podcast-episode1
Introducing Feed, a food system podcast by TABLE. Co-hosts Matthew Kessler and Samara Brock tell you what you can expect when you tune in, and Tara Garnett introduces our focus for the first series of episodes: Scale in the food system! We'll be exploring scale at multiple levels including spatial, economic, moral and temporal.  What is the right scale for a food system? Should it be local or global? When it comes to things like farms, food businesses and food system governance – is big bad, or better?For more info, visit https://tabledebates.org/podcast[transcript]
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