City Food Lecture 2020: Meat the key to a sustainable world

City Food Lecture 2020: Meat the key to a sustainable world

Giving up on meat is not going to save the planet, according to the City Food Lecture 2020 keynote speaker, professor Louise Fresco. 

Professor Louise Fresco was the keynote speaker at The City Food Lecture 2020.

In her lecture, titled: Fish nor flesh or both? Foods for the future’, the Dutch scientist, academic and broadcaster said: “In future, we will not eat meat every day, but doing away with meat and animals completely would be the wrong choice – from a human health point of view, from the point of view of the use of our environment, and from the point of view of equity.

“If you ask millennials, eating meat, and to a lesser extent fish, is the wrong thing to do, something they don’t want to be associated with. They want to be flexitarians, they want to be vegetarians, or they want to be vegans.

“But there are very large parts of the world that we cannot use for crops, and what we now know for the first time, is that grasslands [used for grazing] are probably the best possible way for us humans to capture carbon and leave it in the soil.

“As much as 500 calories per person, per day, are leftover, lost, or damaged from what is grown in the field to what comes on the plate.”

“As much as 500 calories per person, per day, are leftover, lost, or damaged from what is grown in the field to what comes on the plate. That is an enormous amount of food. If we could use that at least by feeding animals, that then provide us with other nutrients, we are already a lot better off.”

One of the foremost global thought leaders in the food industry, Professor Fresco is a highly influential thinker and commentator on global food issues. Louise is the President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research, Europe’s leading academic agri-food organisation and research and development centre.

In her lecture, she addressed key questions such as: should our diets be local or global, vegetarian or flexitarian? Can cities restore their link to the countryside as to where the food comes from? What will science bring us in terms of new proteins, intensive and vertical agriculture and personalised nutrition?

City Food Lecture organising chairman, John Giles said: “This was a fascinating and thought-provoking evening. Professor Fresco’s wealth of knowledge and authoritative perspective on the past, present and future of the food industry gave all who attended some real insight into what the future of food and farming might look like.

“The fact the evening was attended by over 700 people from the UK and international supply chain shows that this is the single most important subject for our sector to get to grips with over the next 5 years and the CFL was spot on with its choice of speaker and subject area. The sheer range of topics covered by Louise Fresco and the panel was hugely impressive and shows just how big an area for discussion this is.”

The lecture was followed by a panel debate chaired by Chris White, managing director of Fruitnet Media and featuring Andrew Thompson, European, Middle East & Africa director of Genus plc, a world-leading animal genetics company, Baroness Rosie Boycott a journalist and former chair of the London Food Board and Ian Wright, the chief executive of the Food & Drink Federation.

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