Knowledge exchange hub - boosting food sustainability & healthy eating in Birmingham
By Darren CampbellShare post:
Read time: approx 6 mins
A new knowledge exchange hub designed to help address issues around healthy eating, food justice and food system sustainability is being launched at University College Birmingham as part of a regional collaboration.
The University has been working with the Food System Team in Public Health at Birmingham City Council to create a new innovative Centre for Urban Food, drawing together intelligence from a wide range of industry partners, local communities, and educational providers across the region to help raise awareness of challenges and create a bolder, healthier and more sustainable food system.
The plan comes following a series of activity and action between the University, Food System Team and the Food Foundation that has highlighted the challenges and barriers experienced by Birmingham residents in accessing and affording healthy, nutritious, and tasty food.
Commissioned by Birmingham Public Health, the paper – entitled ‘Policy Options to Create a Healthy Food Economy in Birmingham’ – concluded the city needed to take “much further and wide-reaching action to improve the healthfulness of the food economy,” including the need to inspire and encourage profitable healthy businesses.
As part of the launch of the Centre for Urban Food, University College Birmingham is hosting a series of Creative Dinners events, welcoming public and private sector organisations and local community members to debate and discuss the region's food system through the scope of the Birmingham Food System Strategy.
This month will see the second in the series of Creative Dinners to be held at the University's award-winning Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food on 14 March. The Creative Dinner will bring together diverse and inspiring trailblazers to discuss the themes of the dinner: ‘food innovation, food transformation and food behaviour change’, which are three key workstreams of the Birmingham Food System Strategy.
The event will include expert guest speakers from the University of Cambridge, Aston Medical School, the University of Birmingham, Edge Hill University and Birmingham City Council, challenging participants to consider and debate key questions relating to the theme of the evening.
Guests will also be served an innovative, sustainable, and nutritious three-course meal prepared by students on University College Birmingham's culinary courses.
Creative Dinners event, 14 March – Key speakers:
- Dr Anne Coufopoulos – Executive Dean (School of Health, Sport and Food), University College Birmingham
- Dr Duane Mellor – Lead for Evidence-based Medicine and Nutrition, Aston Medical School, Aston University
- Professor Giles Yeo MBE – Professor of Molecular Neuroendocrinology, University of Cambridge
- Dr Julie Abayomi – Reader in Dietetics and Associate Head of Medicine and Nutrition, Edge Hill University
- Lisa Winnall – Associate Professor, University of Birmingham
- Dr Justin Varney – Director of Public Health, Birmingham City Council
"The first Creative Dinners event highlighted the real impact of the cost of living crisis and its influence on the food and health of households in Birmingham. The event brought people together over food and facilitated those ‘difficult conversations’ in a supportive environment, providing an opportunity for those voices that are not always heard, as well as enabling those who attended to adopt a solutions-focused approach to the current challenges."
It follows the first Creative Dinners event held in November last year, which centred on exploring the impact of the cost of living crisis on the food system, and how collectively we can drive for medium- and long-term solutions to food injustice and food insecurity.
The event was opened by Councillor Mariam Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Birmingham City Council, with guest talks from Dr Justin Varney (Director of Public Health at Birmingham City Council), Andrew Forsey (National Director of Feeding Britain) and Professor Deborah Lycett (Director of the Centre for Intelligent Healthcare at Coventry University).
Students on the University’s Culinary Arts Management BA (Hons)/FdA courses performed cooking demonstrations and served food designed within reference to a Universal Credit budget, while Food and Nutrition BSc (Hons)/FdSc students also supported discussions at the tables.
The event was hosted by Dr Anne Coufopoulos, Executive Dean of University College Birmingham's School of Health, Sport and Food, who is also leading on the University's involvement with the Centre for Urban Food project.
“The first Creative Dinners event highlighted the real impact of the cost of living crisis and its influence on the food and health of households in Birmingham,” said Anne.
“The event brought people together over food and facilitated those ‘difficult conversations’ in a supportive environment, providing an opportunity for those voices that are not always heard, as well as enabling those who attended to adopt a solutions-focused approach to the current challenges.”
University College Birmingham is committed to sustainability as well as supporting the local community and regional food economy, with lecturers from our Birmingham College of Food contributing to development of the forthcoming Birmingham Food System Strategy.
Are you interested in working within the food industry? Discover our range of courses in culinary arts, food and nutrition, hospitality and more within our course A-Z.
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