Geoff Tansey

Transforming our food systems -

sharing ideas and experience

The Food Systems Academy:

My major activity has been the creation of the on-line, open education resource, The Food Systems Academy, which I curate. The talks on the Food Systems Academy website are to help you increase your understanding of our food systems – where they came from, how they change, what the challenges are and how to meet them. The contributors recognise that the need is to transform today’s systems, which leave huge numbers of people malnourished and whose sustainability is highly questionable, but that to do so requires thinking and action beyond food systems themselves. Each talk is in accessible language, is divided into sections and is accompanied by a transcript, a short guide to further reading, listening and other resources relevant to that talk. This pilot shows what could be done and how, with further resources, it could become a much richer resource, with contributions from different cultures and language groups, to facilitate interchange of knowledge and experience to help in making the necessary transformation in food systems around the world to support the creation of a more equitable, sustainable and peaceful world in the future.

Three talks focus on thinking about food systems: in the The food system: an overview I provide a broad introduction to food system issues, while Harriet Friedmann in Food regimes – an overview explains how the three major food regimes since the 19th century have developed and in From food regimes to food sheds - the case of Southern Ontario discusses and example of one area where some are seeking an agro-ecological transformation.

Another three talks exam the importance of intellectual property rules in shaping who has what power over food systems: Peter Drahos focuses on Understanding intellectual property - 1. An overview and Understanding intellectual property - 2. How business lobbying changed the world while I examine how food security, biodiversity and intellectual property intersect in Seeds of contention, control or diversity? Global rules, intellectual property and the future control of food.

Three other talks explore food, human security and thriving people: Paul Rogers focuses on The crucial century, 1945 - 2045 - Transforming food systems in a global context, Malcolm Dando briefly examines Biology and chemistry for peace not warand I discuss the challenging context in which people are working to transform food systems in Food and thriving people in the 21st century.

A further three talks examine gender, nutrition and the Right to Food: Janice Jiggins looks at  Gender issues in food and farming - An overview while Olivier de Schutter discusses The right to food in 21st century and Elizabeth Dowler examines Food, nutrition and poverty - An overview.

Three more talks look at changing food systems, diets and cities: Tim Lang discusses Changing our fatally flawed food system and Sustainable diets and public health while Carolyn Steel examines How to feed a city – and change the world.

There is also a guest lecture by Tim Benton on Climate change and Agriculture: adaptation and mitigation.

All this is on The Food Systems Academy website:

Background, terms of use

Filming 1

Many courses across various disciplines deal with the food system and its various aspects, all around the world. I have been fortunate to be asked to give lectures or seminars for people running some of these as have others I know. But there are limits to what you can do in person.

So, in this internet connected age, I thought it would be useful to create an unaffiliated 'virtual academy' as a public good, open education resource. This became the Food Systems Academy with a set of talks that can be used by those running courses, studying or just interested in understanding more about our food systems and how to make them fairer, sustainable and healthy.



This first pilot talk was filmed against a green screen and other images subsequently dropped in. This has now been re-edited to fit into the series format

Terms of use

The videos are unrestricted in non-commercial use. It may also be possible to arrange for follow-up discussions with me or other contributors via the internet – over Skype or some other service - see details on each talk. Please let me know if you use this material, especially educational users, and in what ways. This feedback will help in taking this further - as would offers of or suggestions for funding to help further development of this work.