FARMERS and food producers in Cumbria, north Lancashire and the Dales have been working with academics to help address the problem of world hunger.
They are participating in Lancaster University’s free online course exploring issues surrounding global food security - the first of its kind in the UK.
The course includes videos featuring farmer John Geldard from Plumgarth’s farm shop and café in Kendal, members of the Olive Branch Food Bank in Lancaster and the organic producer Growing with Grace from Clapham.
They were recruited by Lancaster University professor Bill Davies, an expert in global agriculture, who said: “Food security is one of the grand challenges facing the world, there is going to be a crisis but we are not going to just solve it by producing more food.
“There all sorts of other considerations and economic issues, all sorts of things not to do with food. For instance, people around the world are getting wealthier and eating more meat and so are using up more resources.
“The course will also explore why are younger people turning their backs on agriculture, how we increase wellbeing and the health of a growing population and why less water, less land and a lack of food impacts on health.”
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Lancaster University science has already been used to develop new systems to grow cereals in North China, grapevines and top fruit in Australia and in viticulture and vegetable production around the Mediterranean and in the USA. New water saving techniques have also been developed with the UK horticultural and agricultural industries.
John Geldard, who is the chairman of the National Sheep Association and whose family farms Low Foulshaw Farm at Levens, said: “From my perspective as a farmer born and bred in this area it is very, very important that consumers recognise and appreciate the effort and everything that goes into producing food and manufacturing it and getting it to them.”
The online course - ‘Global food security: addressing the challenge’ - is open to anyone. No qualifications are needed. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/food-security.