Kevin Mackay (Rethink Food) is a former primary school teacher and co-founder of Rethink Food CIC. Rethink Food was first set up by Kevin and Nathan Atkinson, a former headteacher, to remove hunger as a barrier to learning in schools in Leeds. Kevin started his work in an area of high deprivation in Leeds but has now expanded to cover all areas of the UK. He believes that hunger should not be a barrier to learning and that in tackling hunger and food insecurity we can also work to achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable development goals. Rethink Food uses a unique, non-threatening, non-judgemental, positive, and empowering approach. By collaborating with organisations from education, food, and the environment, and working with communities/schools they help people develop a positive relationship with food with the message of helping to save the planet whilst working towards food security for life.
Emma Strachan (Leeds City Council, Public Health). Emma is a Health Improvement Specialist working on Food and Nutrition in Leeds. Her role involves contributing and advising on the development and implementation of local food work, ensuring the implementation of Public Health policies, strategies and work programmes. Emma is responsible for the Local Authority’s commissioning of adult cooking skills programmes and contribution to Leeds Food Approach. Currently Emma is working with the Leeds Food Partnership to develop a city wide strategic approach to food building on the Sustainable Food Cities achievement in June 2019 and supporting the Council to implement Food Active’s Healthy Weight Declaration. Emma has worked on a range of food projects at both a strategic and operational level including Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, the 5 A Day programme and led the implementation of many food related campaigns.
Matt Slater (Leeds Indie Food). Matt works in business development for Leeds Indie Food, one of the biggest celebrations of street food in the North. Leeds Indie Food Festival has established a national reputation for Leeds and its independent food and drink establishments, with praise heaped on the city from national titles such as Guardian, Lonely Planet, Daily Mail, Observer and Independent, and critics hailing the city as the food capital of the North. Matt’s role involves making connections and forging collaborations with local, regional and national partners to further the development of the independent food and drink scene in Leeds. Matt comes from a commercial background, having held a number of FMCG roles at Morrisons and Waitrose.
Professor Caroline Orfila (Associate Director leading the Urban Food Consumption Theme at Global Food and Environment Institute at the University of Leeds). GFEI is an interdisciplinary research community bringing together a diverse membership from across academia, industry and public policy. They envisage a radically different global food system which works in harmony with nature and provides everybody with access to safe and nutritious food. Their aim is to develop enduring solutions that facilitate transformative change to create a food system which is socially-just, climate-smart, nutrition-sensitive and goes beyond sustainability; a food system that delivers environmental and health benefits.
Tom Bliss (Leeds Beckett University, Feeds Leeds). Tom teaches landscape architecture and urban design – a return to his original career after lengthy diversions to TV and corporate communications as a writer/producer/director, followed by a decade as a professional folk musician. He is a founder member of both FoodWise Leeds and Feed Leeds, of which he is currently secretary and chair. His main area of academic interest is the role of productive urban green infrastructure, which includes all kinds of plants, including food, in the mitigation of climate change. He recently spent four years at the University of Leeds working with tree, carbon and climate scientists and he remains a member of the Leeds Climate Commission’s Resilience Working Group, which is researching the climate and other impacts and resilience of the Leeds food system. Tom is FoodWise’s comms officer and webmaster.