Food Unwrapped

Food Unwrapped took place at Keele Hall on 9 November as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Sciences 2018, a UK wide celebration of public engagement with social science, which included over 300 different events.

Organised by Dr Emma Surman from Keele’s Community Animation and Social Innovation Centre (CASIC), Keele Institute of Social Inclusion (KISI) and Sheena Bateman of the North Staffordshire Community Food Network, Food Unwrapped brought together academics, PhD students, community groups and non profit organisations, as well as members of the public to explore issues relating to food and sustainability.

The programme included a variety of activities including a panel discussion and audience debate on ‘unwrapping’ the many complex issues surrounding food, such as where our food comes from and its footprint, food poverty, food packaging and waste. The discussion was hosted by Dr Emma Surman, Associate Director of CASIC and on the panel were;

  • Peter Walters, Executive Chef, Keele University
  • Emily Westell, PhD Student SPIRE, Keele University
  • Norman Dinsdale, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Stephanie Talbot Alice Charity, Newcastle under Lyme
  • Dr Lydia Martens of KISI, Keele University

Dr Ceri Morgan, Senior Lecturer in English, Keele University led a geopoetic walk, encouraging delegates to produce different creative responses to various issues connected to food. Delegates then enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared using locally and seasonally sourced produce, expertly devised, cooked and presented by Keele’s award-winning chefs.

In the afternoon Dr Sharon George, Sustainability Hub Manager and Lecturer at Keele University gave a talk on managing food waste highlighting that the 66 tons of food that is lost every second is mostly preventable.

Participants were then invited to ‘unwrap’ common food products used in the traditional Sunday roast dinner, and to think about, and discuss their provenance and sustainability at a workshop led by Dr Lydia Martins, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Keele University.

Concluding the day Rachel Reddihough of CASIC and New Vic Borderlines used a cultural animation game to further explore and ignite discussions around the subject and then in groups delegates wrote a cinquain poem summarising their learning and reflections on the day as well as actions for change.

Speaking after the event Dr Emma Surman said ‘I am delighted with how the event went today. We have discussed and debated some really important issues about which we all care passionately, but we have had fun, met new people and been deeply moved too’.