Category - Forum

Birmingham Food Council: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this city were renown for being a place where children eat well?

I suspect that the origins of the Birmingham Food Council began with this unprepared, off-the-cuff remark I made at the end of my presentation on What it takes to feed the city made at the Birmingham Sustainability Forum a year ago in September 2012:

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this city were renown for being a place where children eat well?”

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Round table discussions at Birmingham Sustainability Forum

 

We’ve finished the presentations and broken out into table discussions to talk about the issues mentioned by each of the four speakers:

Here’s a summary of the key points from the roundtable discussion, focusing on who should contribute to the priorities of the Food Charter and how can citizens contribute:

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Paying less to heat and power our homes – a good idea or not?

Less than a month ago, the Sustainability Forum met at the Council House to talk about “Paying less to heat and power our homes — the challenge for Birmingham now and in the future”.

The underlying assumption behind the whole evening was that “saving energy” is paying less to heat our homes and is a Good Idea, that energy efficiency leads to reductions in demand. But is this so?

Oxford economist Dieter Helm in his book The Carbon Crunch suggests not. 

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Escaping the inequality trap: Grounds for new inequalities

In response to the significant and systemic inequalities in Birmingham, here’s a suggestion:

What we can do in here is invest in activities where cues for social status, high income in particular, are irrelevant. That’s not to say we’ll all be equal in such environments — far from it. We’ll have grounds for different inequalities.

And here’s why it matters, and how it might work.

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July Update: What’s happened & what next on TNO Forum

 The New Optimists Forum July Update is now on-line.

The 70 or so people involved, over half of whom are regional scientists, have already made a remarkable difference — summed up in the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project Report (which contains all four of the previously published mini-reports).

What’s next?

The twin notions of Birmingham+2050 has proved hugely stimulating.

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What’s past is prologue: Birmingham 2050

The fourth Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Report: What’s past is prologue: Birmingham 2050  is published today.

In it, I argue that a literal greening of our city has a major part to play in creating a Birmingham 2050 that is a huge joy to citizens as well as challenging many an outsider’s view that it’s a dire place to live and work.

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One touch of nature: The value of urban agriculture

Why does local food growing matter? What’s its value to a city?

How can we explain its impact? Indeed, how can we assess its impact and value to our society?

These matters are explored in One touch of nature: The value of urban agriculture, one of the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios series.

Here arguments from

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Marketing Birmingham 2050 . . .

Imagine it’s 2050. You are in London at a business meeting in the City. The other people in the room live and work in the capital. They have never met you before.

As part of your introduction to everyone, the convenor of the meeting announces you live in Birmingham. This immediately evokes everyone’s attention. “Hey! Lucky you!” they say. “Wish I could too.”

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TEDxWarwick: Feeding the City, Feeding the Mind

Click on the image to see the video of my TEDxWarwick talk.

The full text of is below, along with a sample of the few slides I used:

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Birmingham’s population fed from locally-grown produce?

If Birmingham were to source its food locally, how large a catchment area would we need?

Could Herefordshire beef, Cotswold sheep, Vale of Evesham fruit and vegetables and the arable lands of Shropshire and Warwickshire supply us with enough food?

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