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TABLE’s mission: ingredients for better dialogue

TABLE is a food systems platform that sets out the evidence,  
assumptions and values that people bring to debates about resilient and  
sustainable food futures. We explore the data, the biases and the beliefs behind 
those debates in order to support better dialogue, decision making and action. 

The future of food matters

Food sits at the heart of interconnected crises, spanning climate change, biodiversity loss, malnutrition, poverty and injustice. There is growing awareness that we urgently need to act to transform our food systems. Yet at the same time, debates about what to do are becoming more intense, divisive and polarised, as different actors bring forward competing visions of a food future.

TABLE explores both the scientific evidence and the underlying values that support and inform these visions. These values (as well as assumptions, desires and cultural preferences) influence how we interpret the evidence, understand the world around us, judge what is most important in a food system, and think about possible and desirable futures. By mapping both evidence and values in debates, we highlight critical differences and areas of agreement, identify research questions to help resolve uncertainties, and suggest paths forward.


We all bring different ideas, values and assumptions to the TABLE

Our mission is twofold: to provide clarity on the substance and parameters of food system debates (where and why is it that we agree and disagree?); and to offer space for nuanced, self-reflective dialogue within the food community.

Together, these ingredients can contribute to our vision: a better decision-making environment for food system transformation, built on a shared understanding of the evidence and open acknowledgement of the values at play.


TABLE is a collaborative platform

TABLE is for everyone with an interest in food. Acting as an interface between the worlds of research and practice, our work reflects and interrogates real and relevant food system debates.  We are in constant dialogue with people working within the food system, including civil society, policy makers, advocates and practitioners.

Originally founded as a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the TABLE network has since expanded to include la Universidad de los Andes (Colombia), la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Cornell CALS (USA).

Speak to power, listen to everyone

In speaking to power, we create opportunities for reflection and engagement for those with decision making authority over what foods are grown, and how they’re produced, traded and eaten. In listening to everyone, we seek out a diversity of views - particularly from those actors with limited power and platform - that can challenge mainstream narratives and our own perspectives.

Feeding better dialogue

The breadth and complexity of food systems leads to the risk of simplifying and caricaturing the views of others. We might assume that taking a view on one topic (the need for a plant-based transition, for example) implies agreement with another view on another topic (alternative proteins, say). This can lead to bundled thinking, and an overemphasis on opposition. Better dialogue can help us locate our agreements and disagreements more precisely, so enabling more constructive, collaborative problem-solving.


Good decision-making is built upon evidence, is open to challenge and is honest about the values that motivate it. All of this is supported by nuanced dialogue, which we aim to support in the following ways:  

  • Knowledge building: for greater shared understanding of complex and multidimensional issues.
  • Dialogue/Exchange: to see more exchange of ideas and arguments across both knowledge and ideological divides - that is to say, across perspectives, sectors, disciplines, contexts and geographies; and between those with different motivating values. .
  • Reflection: interrogating and making visible the values and assumptions behind debates, so that they too can feature in open dialogue.  

Want to learn more? Explore our materials


Short, peer-reviewed introductions to concepts that are important for understanding food systems and food sustainability.

A flyer for the TABLE explainer by Rasmus Einarsson called "Nitrogen in the Food System" with an image of a cutout letter "N" with ferns growing through.

Longform & visuals

Reports, publications and visualisations that focus on a topic in depth

Ebbs and flows diagram

FEED Podcast 

Conversations with people who hold a wide range of perspectives on food systems issues.

Photo of Jessica Duncan, interviewed in Episode 51 of the podcast

Blogs & essays

A platform for writers to share their research or to explore a topic from a new angle, such as from personal experience, in a particular geography or in response. 

Image of a man standing by a gate looking over pasture land


An exchange of letters on a contentious topic, between knowledgeable people with differing views


Letterbox, is the UPF concept useful and for what goals


Panel discussions and workshops that bring different stakeholders and views together.


A field with tractor tracks through the middle extends into the distance, with a forest in the distance. The text asks "What is ecomodernism?"

FODDER: Newsletter

Featuring summaries journal papers, reports, books and other resources, as well as updates on the latest podcasts, articles and events. We also send out job listings from other events from other organisations. 


Research library & Glossary

Reference materials on new studies and common terms



Jobs board & events calendar

Supporting involvement in the food systems community




To provide a frame for our work, TABLE chooses themes drawn from internal and external discussion. We are currently working on Nature. Previous themes have included Scale and Power. Have questions? Find out more about TABLE’s approach in our FAQs.


We have no current vacancies. Occasionally, we offer internships and/or volunteering opportunities. For more information about these opportunities please contact



To suggest an item for our newsletter Fodder or to advertise a job or event, please contact

To write a blog post or to contribute to a Letterbox series, please contact

To discuss our podcast Feed, please contact

To discuss the possibility of supporting TABLE's work or setting up an academic collaboration, please contact

For any other queries, please contact