LEAF’s President’s Event 2011 presented a fantastic line up of speakers from across the food and farming industry (even the brewing industry, actually!) and was attended by 130 delegates at HSBC Tower, Canary Wharf London.
Kicking off the day were the words of Allan Wilkinson, HSBC Head of Agriculture who spoke on CAP reform, “I have always been an admirer of LEAF – I think your time is now, particularly with CAP reform”.
LEAF Chairman, Stephen Fell (above), followed again on CAP reform but also spoke with real passion on taking LEAF forward. Keynote speaker Professor Sir David Baulcombe, then explained about the growing opportunities
for plant genetics to meet the needs of a growing population. His talk created quite a stir among the audience and questions were mainly focused on the topic of genetics during discussions. Sir David was clear in stating that “new genetics have a place in sustainable agriculture”.
Andrew Burgess, Director of Agriculture, Produce World, then gave an inspiring presentation on what LEAF means to his business. But it was the discussions between himself, Professor Sir David Baulcombe and Stephen Fell on the topic of genetics which created the most stir, with calls for boldness but rigorous testing going forward.
Following a short coffee break, Dr Chris Brown, Head of Ethical and Sustainable sourcing at Asda, took to the stage and gave a fascinating insight into consumer attitudes to sustainable food.
Paul Dove of Molson Coors, outlined the company’s commitments behind their slogan “without great water, we can’t make great beer”, which has led to a strong involvement in the development of LEAF’s Water Management Tool. The tool was then introduced in more detail by Dr Lousie Manning, and then formally launched by Farming Minister, Jim Paice MP.
Speaking on the tool, Mr Paice said, “We’ve now got, with the launch of this instrument, a practical and realistic tool available to farmers, which promotes more sustainable farming practices which is also at the heart of the government’s approach”.
The Rt Hon Michael Jack then gave closing remarks before lunch, which was introduced by Tamsin Gane of Sodexo.
We would like to say a huge thank you to our fantastic host and President, Baroness Hazel Byford, and thank all to everyone who spoke and attended the event. For those of you who did not, we will be releasing some videos (one below more to come on our YouTube channel) from the event over the coming weeks, and you can catch up with some of the photos from the day in the gallery below.