Feed: a food system podcast



Is a local or global food system more sustainable? How big should a farm be? Debates about the future of food have become more polarised than ever - and little attention is paid to why people hold genuinely different beliefs. This podcast aims to fill this gap by exploring the evidence, worldviews, and values that people bring to global food system debates.

Welcome to Feed, a podcast in conversation with those who are trying to transform the food system. We are your co-hosts Matthew Kessler and Samara Brock. Throughout our years working on farms, discussing around policy tables, and researching food and farming systems at universities, we have been engaged in debates about what a good food system is and how best to support that vision.

We'll be speaking with people deeply embedded in efforts to transform food systems - as part of the ongoing work of Table, a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), and Wageningen University. This podcast is produced and operated by SLU.

We begin with conversations exploring "Scale" in the food system - what is the right scale of the food system? We'll be exploring the topic of scale at multiple levels - spatial, economic, moral and temporal. Join us as we Feed our own curiosity (and ideally yours!) about critical food systems issues as we dialogue and rethink how we understand and engage with the food system.


How to listen

You can now listen to the teaser episode featuring Tara Garnett.

Feed is now available to subscribe on all the apps (Spotify, Apple podcast, Google Podcast, etc.).

A new episode will be released every Thursday.


Episode 0: Introducing Feed and our first theme, Scale in the food system

Introducing Feed, a food system podcast by TABLE. Co-hosts Matthew Kessler and Samara Brock tell you what you can expect when you tune in, and Tara Garnett introduces our focus for the first series of episodes: Scale in the food system!

We'll be exploring scale at multiple levels including spatial, economic, moral and temporal.  What is the right scale for a food system? Should it be local or global? When it comes to things like farms, food businesses and food system governance – is big bad, or better?


Episode 1 - Ken Giller on the Food Security Conundrum

Why does agricultural research often fall short of addressing food insecurity challenges in sub-Saharan Africa? In this conversation with Ken Giller, we explore this wicked problem from a systems perspective examining the diverse drivers and experiences of smallholder farmers and the socio-ecological systems in which they are embedded.

Ken provides a nuanced look at agroecological solutions and argues that relying solely on nature-based solutions would be inadequate to address food security problems in Africa. We also talk about the huge diversity of farmers that can be found under the banner of smallholders, an in-depth examination of the “yield gap,” and what gets lost when translating research into practice.


Episode 2: Rob Bailey on the Vulnerabilities of Global Food Trade

Have you thought about the system of trade that stocks food at your market or grocery store? Do you wonder if that system of global food trade, where 25% of all agricultural products are now traded internationally, is a vulnerable or resilient one? Rob Bailey, climate director at Marsh & McLennan, has examined how potential disruptions to trading routes can have severe impacts on global food security.

Rob Bailey lays out the worst case scenario that could lead to a global food catastrophe. And while he paints a terrifying picture, we find that most parts of global food trade stood up remarkably well to the Covid19 pandemic. We discuss this and other recommendations to increase resilience in our global food system and more.


Episode 3: Lauren Baker on Connectiing Local and Global Scale to Place

How do people and organisations work to transform the food system? Are there effective strategies to connect local movements across the globe? And is it the size or scale of their operations, that connects them to each other, or is it something else?

Lauren Baker, director of programmes at Global Alliance for the Future of Food, has been working to transform the food system for decades - in Canada, Mexico and across the world. While Lauren's work may focus on a more local or regional scale, she regularly traverses scales, reflecting how individuals and local food networks are embedded in larger systems, connected to broader political economic dynamics.

In our conversation, we discuss Global Alliance’s theory of transformation, the importance of relationship building in food systems work, and why Lauren finds it's essential to link local and global scale to place.

Coming soon
Episode 4: Sahil Shah on Scaling Seaweed