Earlier this month over one hundred researchers gathered for a multidisciplinary discussion of the economic, societal, environmental and health challenges facing global food systems at the inaugural Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) Conference, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust Our Planet Our Health initiative
Current worldwide food consumption practices are unsustainable. The global food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, while unhealthy diets and the obesity epidemic are some of the greatest threats to human health.
The conference was bookended by keynote presentations from Professor Tim Benton from the University of Leeds, and Professor Dame Theresa Marteau DBE from the University of Cambridge. Each made the point that either from a structural or behavioural standpoint, shifting global attitudes to production and consumption of food would not be easy, but that it was both possible and necessary.
More than 20 other presentations across the day covered topics ranging from the environmental impacts of ruminant livestock, the male experience of vegetarianism, alternative proteins, and media representation of insects as food.
“It was great to see people from different disciplines coming together and discussing shared interests – there was a real buzz about the meeting” said Professor Sir Charles Godfray, Co-director of LEAP.