5 sustainable food talks you can watch for free at Abergavenny Food Festival 2019

The 21st edition of Abergavenny Food Festival takes place across the market town this weekend (21st & 22nd September), promising a packed schedule of feasts, forages, tasting workshops, chef demos, markets – and loads more.

Having worked with the festival team this year (as part of my day job in communications), I’ve had plenty of time to study the programme, and I’m really looking forward to listening to Asma Khan speak about The Rise of #MeToo in the Kitchen on Saturday afternoon, and about her Life in Food on Saturday evening.

Though festival duties mean that I might not make it to every talk I’d like to this year, these are the sustainable food chats I’ll be trying to sneak off to if I get the chance – and the best news is, they’re all completely free to access, as long as you have a general festival wristband.

1. The diet that could save the world

Current diets are pushing the earth beyond its planetary boundaries, causing ill health, and putting both people and the planet at risk. Professor Tim Lang’s talk will focus on the immediate challenge of providing healthy diets from sustainable food systems as the global population continues to grow.

Free, but registration for tickets is necessary.

2. The Future of Farming: A Debate

Two seemingly opposite visions on the future of food production are put forward by two experts and passionate advocates for food systems change: Patrick Holden, an organic farmer and director of the Sustainable Food Trust, has his feet firmly in the soil, and believes that a sustainable food future includes grass-fed livestock and re-localised food systems that support farmers. Meanwhile, Professor Chungui Lu believes no soil is necessary, and that food can be produced in our cities.

Are they at odds? Or do both have part of the answer?

Free, but registration for tickets is necessary.

3. Zero Waste with Tom Hunt

Eco-chef, Guardian columnist and WWF Earth Hour Hero Tom Hunt (below) is a passionate advocate of root-to-fruit eating. He will be at the festival showcasing dishes that make the most of every scrap, and minimise waste in the kitchen.

Expect the unexpected use of everyday ingredients, top tips on reducing food waste at home, and delicious tasters of recipes that make use of the unloved bits we often throw away.

Free with a festival wristband.

Tom Hunt_credit_Neil White_Speaker2019

4. The Big Debate at the Festival Farmyard

The Festival Farmyard is always buzzing at Abergavenny, thanks to a variety of interactive events in the morning, the farmyard matters talks, and ‘the big debate’ which takes place on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, you can catch Guy Watson (Riverford Organics) and Simon Crichton (Triodos Bank) talking about how to be a farmer in 2019; and on Sunday, the hot topic of Brexit will be discussed in ‘How Wales Can Make Better Food Choices’.

Free with a festival wristband.

5. The Festival Soapbox

The Dome in the grounds of the iconic Abergavenny Castle sees the return of the festival soapbox, and some of the most lively debates and discussions on food taking place over the weekend. Join in as farmers, chefs and food producers take to the stage at noon to get a few things off their chests.

Free with a festival wristband.

To read my review of 2017’s Abergavenny Food Festival, click here.

For tickets / wristbands for this year’s festival and for further information, click here

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