Geoff Tansey


Please sign up to my blog and twitter accounts to follow my current activities, news and events. Below, selected events are listed with links to relevant presentations, publications, and other sites of interest.

2020-2022 and beyond


The Covid years were distruptive for everyone. I spent my time mostly at home dealing with domestic concerns, taking part in many webinars and giving a few lectures over the internet. I lectured for the MSc in Gastronomy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, in person in 2020, remotely in 2021 and again in 2022. I also did a couple of lectures for the Food Wave project being supported by Sow the City and Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as various others.

I continue to curate the Food Systems Academy and I'm pleased to say the talks on the FSAc website have been well used during the pandemic, with around 12,000 used in 2021, taking the total to over 60,000 since the site was launched. I've continued the blog, mostly with interviews on different aspects of the food system - see the section on 'Conversations and interviews' on the home page.

I stepped down from the Food Ethics Council in October 2021 after being a member for 21 years but continue to support them when I can in their work. This included speaking at the Turkish Agricultural and Food Ethics Association’s (TARGET) 3rd congress (virtual) in November on ‘Food summits, policies and ethics – from 1974 to 2021 and beyond’. You can also download my paper from the FEC website here. I was also able to contribute a paper 'Reflections on food, power, poverty and resilience in the face of global catastopic risks' to the 4th TARGET congress virtually in November 2023. I also finally digitised my Masters thesis on ‘Concepts of development in the Highlands of Scotland – The Lewis Association 1943 -1954’, in case that is of interest to anyone.

I have greater caring responsibilities now. I still do the occasional in person events, continue as an honorary visiting fellow at several universities and do blogs but fewer than pre-Covid. I will continue doing these things and curating the Food Systems Academy as long as I can.



In January, I lectured on the MSc in Gastronomy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. I continued to be a member of the Food Ethics Council, contributing to its work in various ways, including chairing a business forum and being a Panelist on the first FEC Food Policy on Trial Event about a meat tax. I wrote occasional blogs, often with audio or video interviews; worked on the development of the Food Systems Academy, mainly though my blogs and introducing a guest lecture by Tim Benton on Climate change and agriculture: adaptation and mitigation; supported support various local food initiatives and took part in various workshops. In October I represented the Food Ethics Council at the 2nd Turkish Agriculture and Food Ethics Conference, Izmir, Turkey where I presented a paper about the Council's work. I also updated the Ethical Food Systems module for the Lancaster Univ MSc Food Security (Distance Learning).



In January, I lectured on the MSc in Gastronomy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. In March, I spoke at the Global GastroEconomy Summit in Istanbul, Turkey (click here for link to talks). In June, I was keynote speaker at the Launch of the Hull Food Charter and in Ocober keynote speaker for the final plenary of the WHO Healthy Cities Conference in Belfast (see my blog). Also in October I took part in the advisory group for The role of livestock in food system resilience in remote, upland regions (ResULTs – Resilience in Upland Livestock SysTems) project led by Ann Bruce at the University of Edinburgh. In November, I lectured on the Food Security, Agriculture and Climate Change Masters at Lancaster University and in December §commented on poster presentations by students on the MSc in Food Politics and Sustainability.

I continued to be a member of the Food Ethics Council and occcasionally chaired the business forum; to write occasional blogs, often with audio or video interviews; to work on the development of the Food Systems Academy, mainly though my blogs; and to support various local food initiatives. My blogs have covered subjects ranging from Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Food Systems to a conversation with Prof Philip James on Radical change needed in food and farm policies to tackle world's obesity crisis to Climate destabilisation and biodiversity loss.



Much of the first part of the year was taken up developing the materials for the Ethical Food Systems module for the distance-learning course ‘Food Challenges for the 21st Century’ at Lancaster University with my collaborator Sarah Woods.

BitterweetBrexitIn January, I lectured at Queen Margaret University and the James Hutton Institute, Dundee. In March, I gave a paper about the Food Ethics Council at the Turkish Agriculture and Food Ethics Association conference in Ankara. This paper was published in Food and Energy Security in October 2017. I also edited a book by Dr Charlie Clutterbuck on Brexit and food in the spring, published in mid-October, under the title Bittersweet Brexit – The Future of Food, Farming, Land and Labour.   

I was delighted in June to go to ‘The Global Debate on Intellectual Property, Trade and Development: Past, Present and Future - A Conference in Honour of Pedro Roffe’ in Geneva. I worked closely with Pedro in the early 2000s on ‘The Capacity Building Project on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and Sustainable Development’ implemented by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) – see here. It was great to see him again and so many with whom I worked at that time. 

In October, I attended the Livestock and Extinction conference on 5-6th (see my blogand on the 17th chairing the plenary session on Measuring the scale of the problem at the #EndHunger UK national conference. I also attended meetings on a People’s Food Policy and ethics for Horizon 2020 projects. In November, I lectured on the Food Security, Agriculture and Climate Change Masters at Lancaster University and on December 5th spoke at ‘POWER: Is the future of our food in too few hands?’ one of the Food Talks series at the Hub, Kings Cross, London run by the Food Ethics Council.

I continued to write occasional blogs, often with audio or video interviews, and work on the development of the Food Systems Academy.



EndHungerUKI spoke at a number of events around the country discussing the Right to Food and further action following on from the final report of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty. This contributed to the development of a new two-year campaign End Hunger UK, which was launched in October. It is supported by a wide range of charities including Child Poverty Action Group, Church Action on Poverty, Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, FareShare, First Steps Nutrition, Food Ethics Council, Food Matters, Independent Food Aid Network, Magic Breakfast, Nourish Scotland, Oxfam, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, The Food Foundation, and The Trussell Trust.

I finished serving on the steering group for the Public Panel organised by the Global Food Security Programme of the BBSRC as its work finished. You can download the reports from this work here.

I gave a number of lectures and talks in 2016 – including at the Wadsworth Women’s Institute, the Quakers and Animals conference, the IFOAM-EU conference, Lancaster University, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Queen Margaret University.  In March, I took part in a panel at the Sustainable Food Cities conference in Liverpool and was in Edinburgh in April as panellist at the Scottish Food Symposium.  I took part in the radical social innovation colloquium in Cardiff in May and in a panel at the N8 Agri-Food launch in June. Also that month, I joined the panel to discuss the GLAMUR project – an EU FP 7 project on Global and local food assessment: a multidimensional performance-based approach – at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) conference in Manchester. In August I spoke at the a meeting called ‘Brexit, Food Prices, and the Legacy of the Hungry Forties’ organized by the Global Economics and History Forum

During the year I took part in the fascinating Field of Wheat Project, worked with Sarah Woods on the short introductory video for the Food Systems Academy – watch here - and began work on an ethical food systems module for a distance learning course at Lancaster University.



Hungry for Change - final report of The Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty

HungryForChangeHungry for Change, the final report from the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which I chair, was published on October 28th.

Please download, read and act on it - share the analysis, the 5 principles and 14 point action plan to tackle household food insecurity and the wider connection between food and poverty around health, working conditions and sustainability. Please e-mail with any responses.

There was standing room only in Committee room 11 at the House of Commons in the evening when we had the Parliamentary launch.


We also had good coverage on BBC breakfast, including a clip from one of our expert panel, BBC Scotland, local radio, ITV's Representing Border, Russia Today UK News, and stories in the Daily Mirror, The Guardian by Polly Toynbee and Patrick Butler, Church Times, The Independent, Huffington Post, and various other online sources.

One of the Commisioners, Niall Cooper, director of Church Action on Poverty speaking at the Parliamentary launch of the report. You can listen to the proceedings here.

Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty and Food Systems Academy

FabComIntRepA Recipe for Inequality, the interim report from the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which I chair, came out on March 16th. It was accompanied by a 2 page note with questions for stakeholders and candidates for the forthcoming elections.

I am also busy working on further development of the Food Systems Academy as well as giving a few talks. In January I attended the steering group meeting for the “Smallholder Innovation for Resilience: Strengthening innovation systems for food security in the face of climate change” (SIFOR) in Rome and you can listen to what went on there on my blog.

Upcoming and recent talks / activities

January 8th, 11am, chair 3rd evidence session of Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty focusing on health in the William Penn Suite, Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London. Witnesses: Martin Caraher (Centre for Food Policy at City University), Angela Donkin (Institute for Health Equity) and Dr Adam Oliver (LSE). For details go here

January 12th, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, work with MSc Gastronomy students.

January 27th, chair 4th evidence session of Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty focusing on environment at the University of Sheffield - For details go here

February 11th, Speak at Feeding Lancashire event about work of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty

February 12th, chair 5th evidence session of Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty focusing on supply chain and society in Boston, Lincs. For details go here

March 2nd, lecture for Nutritional Sciences students at Manchester Metropolitan University

March 7th, speak at York International Development conference, York University

March 17th, chair Scottish evidence session of Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty in Glasgow. For details go here

March 19th, Speak at meeting on ‘Should Yorkshire Feed Itself?’ in Bradford

April 24th, Harper Adams University, give seminar focussing on Fabian Commission Food and Poverty interim report - download a copy here

April 25th, Speak on Local and Sustainable Food at Schumacher North Annual meeting, Leeds

May 3rd, Speak on Food Secuity in the 21st Century at Alternatiba Festival, Todmorden

May 5th, Speak at Surplus Supper Club event during Bristol Food Connections Festival, Bristol

May 28th, Speak at Leeds Think Tank on ‘Should Leeds Feed itself?’, Leeds

June 15th, York Festival of Ideas 2015 Future of Food Day – speaker on panel ‘Let’s talk about meat’, University of York, details here

June 30th, speak in final plenary session of BSA Food Study Group conference on 'Food, poverty and policy: evidence base and knowledge gaps', with Liz Dowler and Niall Cooper, download report here

July 15th, Speak on 'Food, Global Justice and the UK' at Leeds Civic Hall at 7:00pm

August 16th, Key note speaker closing Critical Dietetics conference, Manchester, more info here

12-18 September, jointly running Food Justice Week on Iona with Prof Liz Dolwer, download flyer here



The food systems academy - now live

October 27: At last, the new website for the Food Systems Academy is live. Developing this ‘virtual academy on transforming our food systems is my main activity this year. There are 12 talks - 9 videos and 3 audios - currently available grouped around four themes: Thinking about food systems; Patents, power and food - the
growing impact of intellectual property; Food, human security and thriving people, and, Gender, nutrition
and the right to food.

I am very grateful to have received some funding from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to develop this work over the next two years. This has enabled me to work with a small team of professionals on the various talks since the spring. While these talks are initially being hosted on my website, we are working on a new website for the virtual academy - - click on the link and sign up for e-mail alerts about developments! We plan to have the new website up and running in October.

We are building on the experience with the pilot video. I am pleased to have taken part in several Skype question and answer sessions with classes in Canada, Denmark and the UK, which had watched the first pilot video on 'The Food System - an overview' as part of their course. This video was re-edited into the format we have establised for the series and set as one of the tasks to watch in week one for students on the Global food security: addressing the challenges MOOC (massive open on-line course) run by Lancaster University from May 12th for 8 weeks.

Upcoming and recent talks / activities

January 6th, Oxford Real Farming conference, speaker in panel on The Future of World Food Systems. Title: Paradigm shifts for 21st century food and farming.

January 23rd, joined discussions on the World Resources Institute, ‘Creating a Sustainable Food Future’ report at the University of Lancaster

January - April, attended several meetings of the Oversight Group for a Rothamsted Research public engagement exercise on working with industry, the final report of which was presented to staff in April and is due to be published in late spring. I wrote a blog on my visit to Rothamsted here.

February 3rd: Lancaster University. Lecture to students on MSc in Food Security. Title: Food – all that matters?

March, contributed to the High Level Panel of Experts consultation on Critical and/or emerging issues in the area of food security and nutrition and also give feedback, jointly with Prof Elizabeth Dowler, on the International Conference on Nutrition 2, “Political declaration draft” to FAO.

March 26th, follow-up speaker to Jonathan Porritt at a Food Ethics Council Business Forum on "The Food System We Made? Visioning a sustainable food system and how to make that future a reality"

9-10 April, participant in Food4Me WP5 workshop on the ethical aspects of the prospects of personalized nutrition, Brussels

April 21st: Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, lecture for MSc Gastronomy students. Title: Food and Thriving People in the  21st century

May 8-9th, participate in conference on EU’s Fifth Project (EU5P): Transitional Governance in the Service of Sustainable Societies, Brussels

July 18th, Speaker at British Ecological Society sponsored event on Growing Sustainable Ecosystem Services around Farming, at NIAB Innovation Farm, Cambridge. Title: Food and thriving people: paradigm shifts for fair & sustainable food systems

November 6th, Lancaster University. Lecture to Masters students, including those on MSc in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture. Title: Challenges for food security: creating just, healthy, sustainable food systems, globally, in a changing world

November 13th, Blackshawhead Environmental Action Team (BEAT) event, 7.30pm at the Chapel in Blackshaw Head. Title: From the stone village of Baoshan to Blackshawhead - reflections on food systems far and wide.

November 15th, speaker at Oxford Forum for International Development, Ship Street Conference Centre, Jesus College, Oxford. Title: Food for Thought: Rethinking food security

November 19th, chair first evidence session at 11am for Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, in Parliament, London. Mored details and the evidence is available online at the Commission's website

December 9th, chair second evidence session for Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty. For details on location and to register your attendance email




FS-overview'Virtual academy' goes live!

At long last the first talk is now available on what I hope will become a 'virtual academy' to help food system transformation. You can watch it here and read more about others here

Food and thriving people - free download

My article "Food and thriving people: Paradigm shifts for fair and sustainable food systems" in the open access, peer reviewed journal Food and Energy Security is now available to download

Upcoming and recent talks

I have been speaking at various events since the start of 2013, often exploring the issues raised in my 'Food and Thriving People' article, which is based on a talk I gave in Beijing in September 2012. The events include:

January 9th, Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) at 7.45pm at the Social and
Bowling Club in Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Title: Our future food - local vs global?

January 19th, Hexham Debates at The St Mary's Centre, St Mary’s R C Church, Hencotes, Hexham, NE46 2EB, 11.00am - 12.30pm. Title: Food, peace and human thriving in a changing world.

January 25th, The SOAS Food Studies Centre, SOAS Food Forum, 13:15 - 14:45. Title: Food, Peace and Human Thriving in a Changing World: New Paradigms and Practices for the 21st Century. NOTE: The series is open to members of the SOAS Food Studies Centre only; to join, e-mail

February 4th, University of Aberdeen, Centre for Sustainable International Development, 12.30 - 14.00, Room 0.28 of the MacRobert Building. Title: Food, peace and health - changing paradigms and practices for the 21st century. Contact:

February 11th, CIRAD, Montpellier, Title: Seeds of control / seeds of change? at workshop on ‘Intellectual property, food security and development: what research and innovation model(s) for public research organisations?’

April 4th, Chicago, Title: Food and Thriving People: Paradigm Shifts for Fair and Sustainable Food Systems, DePaul College of Law, Centre for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology

April 5th, Chicago, Title: Hungry for what? Reflections on food, hunger and justice at Food Justice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives Conference,University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for the

April 9th,Columbia, Missouri, Title: Food and Thriving People: Paradigm Shifts for Fair and Sustainable Food Systems, Interdisciplinaty Plant Group Seminar Series Spring 2013

April16th, Toronto, Title: ?Tinkering or Transformation: going beyond food and energy security for a well-fed world at peace, University of Toronto, Development Seminar

April 18th, Waterloo, Title: Hungry for what? Reflections on food, hunger and justice, see Nourishing Ontario for details of this and Toronto event

April 22-23, Food Ethics Council meeting, Charney Manor

May 2nd, Guest lecture at Harper Adams University, Shropshire. Title: Food and Thriving People: Paradigm Shifts for Fair and Sustainable Food Systems

May 15th, Speaker at launch of "Counting What Matters - Industry Food Waste Audit Proposal", at 1pm in Committee Room 18 in the Houses of Parliament, by This is Rubbish

July 18th, Speak at  'A Free Lunch? Grass Roots Food Security' Christians Aware summer school, Appletreewick

September 3rd, Witness at Nourish Scotland conference, Edinburgh

October 15th, Keynote speaker at “Hungry World Generous God: Cheap food costs the earth”, Methodist Church House, London.

November 8th, IFOAM EU Conference, Brussels, Speaker to title: “Needed: Paradigm shifts for fair and sustainable food systems”

November 13th, 7pm, Wakefield Cathedral, Talk on "Food: Whose Power to Control?"

November 26th, 6:30-8:30pm, The Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable and the Kitchener Public Library, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, will use my half-hour video, the first talk in the virtual academy, to open a discussion led by Roundtable members Steffanie Scott and Ellen Desjardins, called Food Systems 101




FF-launchOctober, Visit Science, Technology Backyards project of China Agricultural University, speak at a workshop on 'Sustainable agriculture and food security: Technology, small farmers and policies' in Beijing followed by the launch for the Chinese translation of the book “The Future Control of Food: A guide to international negotiations and rules on intellectual property, biodiversity and food security” hosted by the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) and Third World Network (TWN) on October 24, 2012. Subsequently visit participatory plant breeding work of CCAP in Guangxi province as part of a workshop launching a new project on “Smallholder Innovation for Resilience: Strengthening innovation systems for food security in the face of climate change”.

Yiching Song from CCAP, who organised the translation, joins me at the launch

September, Visit South China Agricultural University and then speak to a working paper 'Food and thriving people - Paradigm shifts for fair and sustainable food systems' at an International Workshop on Food Security: Science, Technology and Policy, Beijing, followed by a visit to the rice terraces in Yunnan.

Emergence Summit

September, participate in the Emergence Summit 2012: Creating the future at the Centre for Alternative Technology and particpate in and one of those interviewed for Sarah Woods and Richard Gott's commission entitled ‘The Roadless Trip’

Food security

July, invited commentator on session "Scaling the Food Security Challenge: Critique and Research Agendas", workshop at the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers annual conference, Edinburgh

Human Rights

March, Participant in ETO (Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations) consortium conference, Geneva, discussing the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Food challenges

February, Lecture on  “Challenges for food security: creating just, healthy, sustainable food systems globally in a changing world” at European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Ispra, Italy.




November - final discussant at workshop at the London School of Economics on "IPRs and the Global Civil Society Reform Project: What Next?"

Warwick University

October, short-term Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick. Took part in a number of seminars on food security, research needs and future developments.

Hunger and Malnutrition

September, launch of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies annual World Disasters Report 2011- Focus on Hunger and malnutrition in which I wrote the first chapter “Reworking the global food system”

Food Security and EU

September, Plenary Speaker at Polish EU Presidency conference in Warsaw on Food and Nutrition in the 21st century on “Challenges for food security: creating just, healthy, sustainable food systems globally in a changing world” (click here to request copy of speech text – copy of presentation and video of speech available on conference web site)

African seeds

July, Institute of Development Studies special issue of the IDS bulletin on The Politics of Seed in Africa’s Green Revolution has the final article by me on “Whose power to control? Some reflections on seed systems and food security in a changing world”, (Vol 42 No 4, pp 111-120) (contact me to request a copy)