Nerd Nite Brighton 30 – Food glorious food

What are you up to on June 23rd? Coming to our food special of course. We’re co-hosting this with our friends at the Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network at our new venue Patterns.

This month our speakers are:

1. The rise of the ‘heritage’ vegetable – Abigail Wincott

What do Reclaim the Fields, Raymond Blanc and the UN have in common? They’ve all championed ‘heritage’ vegetables, fruit and seeds. From seed swaps to restaurant menus to the gardens of stately homes, the idea of ‘heritage’ vegetables has become almost inescapable for UK consumers in the last few years. The politics and economics of heritage vegetables is confusing. Their advocates include anti-capitalist activists but also the National Trust and Michelin starred restaurants. Sometimes they’re given away free, yet where they’re for sale, they’re always expensive. Globally there’s a huge and growing network of publicly funded seed vaults and research programmes. So what is so special about ‘heritage’ vegetables and seeds for all these groups? And what on earth does it all mean for the rest of us?

Abigail Wincott is an academic and programme maker who is interested in how we make use of the past in thinking about the current and future of food, including understanding food poverty and the politics of food heritage.

2. Complexity theory and food – Rachael Taylor

Food systems are complex and complexity theory presents a useful way of understanding interactions between different parts of food systems. Starting with an example of the humble apple, this talk will take a look at the complexities of food and how an apple in Brighton interacts with food in vastly different contexts. Using the concept of complexity theory, the non-linear, unpredictable, dynamic, and emergent behaviour of food systems will be explained in relation to the apple.

Rachael Taylor is a PhD candidate at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. Her PhD research is on adaptive capacity in agricultural livelihoods in Northern Ghana. She also works as a researcher for a range of institutes and organisations, doing research on food-related topics in the UK and West Africa.

3. Making sense of the sugary stuff – Carol Williams

Brighton is the first ‘Sugar Smart’ city and sugarphobia is rampant. For example ‘Sugar Puffs’ are now ‘Honey Monster Puffs’ . Carol will be scrutinising sugar, fruit and food and trying to find the proverbial balanced approach.

Carol Williams is a public health nutritionist and academic who worked with the nongovernmental organisations that brought the 5 a day fruit and veg message to the UK in 1992, and wrote the first published guidance on what counts as a portion.. She is interested in how public health recommendations are interpreted by manufactures and consumers.

Yum yum!
There will be the usual cake, quizzing, music and merriment. See you there!

Tickets from here (£4 regular nerds, £3 NUS/65+ nerds, doors 7.30pm for 8pm start)

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