Henry Dimbleby - The Food System Transition – how we can feed ourselves without destroying the planet or our health

ILAS Global Challenge lecture series

The latest in a series of Global Challenge lectures from the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


The global food system is both a miracle and a disaster. Thanks to the technical advances of the Green Revolution, it now provides almost twice as many calories per head – albeit unevenly distributed – for 8 billion people than it did for 2.8 billion people in the late 1940s, grown on a slightly smaller area of land. But this triumph of human ingenuity has done so much damage to the environment that the food system is now threatening to destroy itself. It is by far the biggest global cause of biodiversity loss, deforestation, soil erosion, freshwater shortage and pollution, and the collapse of aquatic life. And it is also the largest cause of avoidable ill health, destroying our productivity and threatening to overwhelm the health service. Henry Dimbleby will set out why this is happening and what we can do to avert disaster.


Henry Dimbleby is the author of Ravenous: How to get ourselves and our planet into shape. Published in March 2023, this analysis of the food system – how it is malfunctioning it, and what to do about it – builds on the work he did in the independent National Food Strategy, described by Prue Leith “the best government document that’s ever come out”.


Dimbleby is the co-founder and former CEO of Leon restaurants. He also co-founded the Sustainable Restaurant Association and the charity Chefs in Schools, which brings restaurant chefs into school kitchens. In 2013, he co-authored The School Food Plan, a blueprint for government setting out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food. It resulted in the introduction of free school meals for all children up to the age of eight, and cooking lessons being made obligatory for all children up to 14.


From 2018 to 2023, Dimbleby was the lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, serving under Michael Gove, Theresa Villiers, George Eustice, Ranil Jayawardene and Therese Coffey. He has also advised the Labour party on how to improve the sustainability and security of the food system.


Henry previously worked as a Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company, where he worked with businesses on strategy, performance improvement and organisational design. Before that he worked as a journalist at The Daily Telegraph and a chef at the Michelin-starred Four Seasons Inn on the Park.


This lecture will be available in person as well as online via Microsoft Teams.  For those attending in person, refreshments will be available in the Ballroom from 12.30pm onwards.  For those attending online, please register (by no later than 12.00 noon on the day of the lecture) and joining instructions with further information will follow ahead of the lecture. 

This lecture is free and all are welcome to attend.

Event date
Event Time
The Ballroom, Keele Hall and Online via MS Teams
Steve Kilner
Contact email
Contact telephone
01782 7 34449