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The Politics of Food

March 16 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain and author of the National Food Strategy Henry Dimbleby, executive director of Waitrose James Bailey and chief executive of Compassion in World Farming Philip Lymbery discuss the world of growing, rearing, manufacturing and selling food.

How do we ensure that the food we buy is affordable and at the same time is of good quality, healthy, produced without harm to animals, and made or grown by people earning a fair wage? Should the government do more to tackle processed and unhealthy foods that are produced to find our ‘sweet spot’ and satisfy the profit margins of large corporations? Is there more that can be done to make food labelling more transparent and educate buyers about how the food they eat is produced? And should we be doing more to ensure young people are equipped with important cooking skills for life?

Dimbleby is co-founder of Leon, a chain of restaurants that serves naturally fast food that aims to be good food and kind to the planet. He is director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and author of the radical National Food Strategy, an independent review commissioned by the government and published in 2021. The strategy included recommendations for a big expansion in free school meals, greater environmental and welfare standards in farming and a 30% reduction in meat and dairy consumption. Dimbleby has since criticised the government for its response to the strategy.

Bailey joined the John Lewis Partnership in April 2020 as executive director, Waitrose. His responsibilities include the full management of 340 Waitrose branches in the UK and Channel Islands, a growing waitrose.com online grocery business, relationship management with third party customers including Shell, Welcome Break, Deliveroo and Uber. Bailey is also responsible for 55,000 Waitrose Partners, as part of the 70,000 partners in the employee-owned partnership model.Before joining the partnership, Bailey was the grocery buying director for Sainsbury’s, where he was responsible for £16 billion or half of Sainsbury’s group revenues. His responsibilities included buying, merchandising, product selection and supplier relationship management.

Lymbery is chief executive of Compassion in World Farming and a visiting professor at the University of Winchester. He is author of Farmageddon: The True Cost of Meat and Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were. He has been involved in many high-profile animal welfare reforms including Europe-wide bans on veal crates for calves and barren battery cages for laying hens. He is a winner of the Golden Dove for Peace award for making a significant contribution to the cause of peace.

Discussions are chaired by BBC broadcaster Francine Stock, whose presenting work includes Newsnight and The Money Programme.

This event is part of a series under the banner Pasture to Plate® that looks at the environmental and health benefits of raising food on pasture and getting it to the consumer quickly through a short supply chain.

In association with Compassion in World Farming.


Photo credit: Unsplash


March 16
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Categories:


Pusey House
Pusey House, St Giles'
Oxford, OX1 3L United Kingdom
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