Four Centres Conference focuses on food resilience in the Covid age

The Four Centres conference on Innovation for Food Resilience, held on November 19th, was a great success, with more than 1200 delegates from 20 countries taking part.

The virtual event was hosted by Farming Today presenter Charlotte Smith, who expressed her pleasure at being able to work indoors for a change.

The day opened with keynote speeches from Chatham House Director of Energy, Environment and Resources, Prof. Tim Benton; NFU President Minette Batters; and Microsoft’s Sustainability and Smart Cities Lead Ellen Wilson.

After a lunch break, experts from each of the Agri-Tech Centres covered different aspects of the work being undertaken to promote innovation in agriculture.

CHAP’s Dr Harry Langford, spoke about Climate Resilient Food Systems, highlighting the work of CIEL’s Duchy Future Farm, AgriEPICentre’s Hands-Free Farm and CHAP’s Gelponics project, as well as Agrimetrics’ regenerative agriculture platform regenagri.

Stuart Blyth from CIEL covered Food Safety and Provenance, using CIEL’s AgriPlas, CHAP’s NLG Centre and Crop Storage Research Facility, and AgriEPICentre’s Opti-Beef project as good examples of the wide range of work being done in this area.

AgriEPICentre’s Dr Shamal Mohammed looked at Sustainable Productivity, including CHAP’s Phenotyping and Soil Health Facility, Agrimetric’s Verde Analytics and CIEL’s Precision Grazing.

Anna Woodley from Agrimetrics covered Crop and Livestock Health with a focus on looking at whole systems rather than managing risks in isolation.

The presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session, with lots of interaction from delegates across the globe.

Closing remarks, by Dr Ian Campbell, interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, provided the key ‘takeaways’ from the event. In particular, he noted how collaboration is key and how the combined capability of the UK Agri-Tech Centres offers the front door for industry to world-leading expertise and capabilities.

For those unable to join on the day, the event is now available on demand. on the 4-centres YouTube Channel. For more information about the 4 Centres go to the relaunched website.

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