Food security and sustainability in the UK are to be discussed at a major conference in Exeter next month.
The Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology 2014 conference titled 'The impact of data, science, and technology on food security and production' is being held on September 4 at the University of Exeter Forum.
Among the speakers are Professor Michael Winter, director of the Centre for Rural Policy Research at Exeter University, Professor Dame Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Exeter Met Office and Mary Quicke, of Quicke's traditional cheesemakers from Newton St Cyres, next Exeter.
Other speakers at the event are from Waitrose, Syngenta, Quickes Traditional, The Met Office, eCow and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, as well the university itself.
Robert McIlwraith, chairman of ExIST, said: "With the recent announcement that Britain is now just 60 per cent self-sufficient in food production there couldn't be a better time to discuss the food security issue."
Attendees will also tour the North Wyke Farm Platform, the Okehampton-based outpost of Rothamsted Research, a research si te which allows different farming practices to be evaluated. During the visit, research staff will be describing how the platform has been designed to address the food security challenge by producing more food from the same or less land, using less water, energy and other inputs.
Robert Orr, farm platform manager at Rothamsted Research North Wyke, said: "We are looking forward to welcoming ExIST conference attendees to visit the farm platform which has been funded by BBSRC to address, for lowland grassland livestock systems, the UK's food security challenge – something that will be discussed extensively at the conference."