In this debate at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2020, panelists discuss the future of UK farming, and what constitutes a sustainable diet. How might lab grown food impact farming? What is the role of meat and livestock? What can the UK produce in a truly sustainable way?

George Monbiot, journalist and author, sets out a challenging case for a future without farming. Richard Young, Policy Director at the Sustainable Food Trust addresses some of the statistics and assumptions about livestock. Journalist Joanna Blythman argues that plant-based diets lack essential micro-nutrients and explains why our diets must reflect the productive capacity of our land, whilst organic farmer Peter Segger calls for us to value real, local food and reminds us to question, ‘how is it grown, and where is it grown?’ SFT CEO Patrick Holden ends the session calling for people to work together and find common ground as we transition to more sustainable food systems.

Chair: Sarah Sands, BBC Radio 4, Today Programme

Panel: George Monbiot, Journalist and Author (02:10)

Joanna Blythman, Journalist and Author (12:45)

Richard Young, Policy Director, Sustainable Food Trust (23:33)

Peter Segger, Blaencamel Organic Farm (35:05)

Patrick Holden, Chief Executive, Sustainable Food Trust (40:00)

Q&A from 44:00

Photograph: Hugh Warwick for ORFC

Note: The powerpoint slides featured in Richard Young’s presentation have been slightly edited since the original presentation. Richard will shortly be publishing an article in response to the session that will examine the figures more closely.

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