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UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogue

Date: 5 July 2021, 13:30 to 16:15
Venue: Online

Nutrition: Bridging the gap between farm to fork for improved health and resilience in a changing environment

In the run-up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September 2021, BBSRC will convene an Independent Dialogue to contribute to the Summit’s vision and objectives to bring about tangible, positive changes to build a better future global food system that is strong, safe, and fair for all.

BBSRC is inviting the community to register to participate in the UKRI-hosted UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogue workshop. Register your interest to participate on Eventbrite. Registration closes 29 June 2021 23.59.

As Convenors we are responsible for hosting a diverse and inclusive Dialogue, in the event of oversubscription we may need to manage attendance to ensure a balanced representation. You will receive a zoom invitation to confirm your place shortly before 5 July. Please note, the event will be recorded.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI Chief Executive said:

"A major priority for the 21st century is building a resilient and sustainable food system that can improve nutrition, the environment and health-related outcomes, and promote social equality. This requires a multisectoral approach, integrating research across disciplines and translating it into impact, which is a significant challenge. UKRI is ideally placed to convene discussions, bringing together diverse research communities and stakeholders to catalyse the necessary transformation of the global food system."

Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair, UKRI-BBSRC said:

“There are many interdependencies between food production and consumption, our health and resilience of the environment to a changing climate. Considering how multiple factors influence the food system is complex, yet critical, if we are to move to a more nutritious, sustainable and equitable food system that supports peoples’ health and that of the planet”

Dr Amanda Collis, Executive Director, Research Strategy and Programmes, UKRI-BBSRC said:

“Transforming our food systems is key to tackling the global challenges of malnutrition, climate change, and rising levels of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). To achieve this, whilst promoting overall population health, requires a truly interdisciplinary approach which considers nutrition at all stages from farm to fork. BBSRC is uniquely placed to be at the forefront of this transformation by leading bioscience research across the agriculture, food and health nexus”


The sustainable provision of safe and nutritious food for all is vital to address the global challenges of malnutrition, rising levels of NCDs and to promote overall population health. At the same time, food production must be resilient and adapt to climate change and consider its impact on the environment and social inequalities. Transformation of the food system must consider sustainability, and nutrition and dietary needs at all levels from production through to consumption if it is to meet these challenges.

Improving nutrition and food-related health outcomes while building resilience into the food system requires a multisectoral approach to understand the transfer of nutrients through the agricultural system* from soil to food to human health. However, integrating research across these sectors and translating this research into impact is a significant challenge.

*agricultural system includes horticulture, arable crops, livestock, fisheries/aquaculture and non-traditional food production methods.

BBSRC is working with partners to convene a dialogue which will bring together diverse research communities and stakeholders to identify the challenges and opportunities for research and innovation, and discuss science solutions to bridge the gap between agriculture and health by preserving nutrition across the food chain and support the building of a resilient global food system that is sensitive to nutritional and environmental outcomes and social inequalities.

Event agenda

  • Welcome and what we hope to achieve with the dialogue - a call to arms to the greatest of Grand Challenges
    Professor Guy Poppy, Director of the Transforming UK Food Systems for Healthy People and a Healthy Environment Programme, and Associate Vice President Interdisciplinary Research (Interim) University of Southampton.
  • Three scene setting presentations, followed by breakout session and plenary discussions framed around three questions:
    • What is a healthy, nutritious diet for population and planetary health?
    • How can we improve linkages between agriculture and health research to produce an affordable, accessible and nutritious diet for all that is sustainable in a changing environment?
    • What is the role of research and innovation in improving the nutrition quality of food in a changing environment?
  • Speakers
    • Professor Judith Buttriss, Director General, British Nutrition Foundation
    • Dr Nafees Meah, Regional Representative for South Asia, International Rice Research Institute
    • Dr Simon Griffiths, Group Leader, John Innes Centre
  • Breakout group facilitators
    • Barbara Bray, Independent Registered Nutritionist and Food Safety consultant
    • Professor Maggie Gill, University of Aberdeen
    • Dr Laura Pereira, Stockholm Resilience Centre, University of Stockholm
    • Prof Paul Haggarty, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
Facilitator bios (PDF 567KB)

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The event will finish at 16:15.

Post event

A summary report synthesising the key challenges, opportunities and solutions identified by the dialogue discussions on how nutrition can bridge farm and fork to improve diet and health, and how this contributes to the five Action Tracks of the Summit will be submitted to the UN Food Systems Summit.


Dr Louisa Jenkin