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Keynote Speakers

To view the full conference programme, click here

Julie Dawson

Julie Dawson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her background is in organic plant breeding and participatory research. Research topics include season extension methods, organic and participatory variety trials and variety selection for small-acreage farms and gardens as well as extension resources for urban growers. She leads a project called the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative with other plant breeders to test varieties with local farmers and chefs, focused on flavor for local food systems.

At the conference, Julie Dawson will share her experience about collaboration all along the value chain with plant breeders, seed producers, farmers, chefs and consumers to develop varieties for local food systems.

Phil Howard

Phil Howard is an Associate Professor of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, and a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems. He is the author of Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat? His visualizations of food system changes have been featured in numerous outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The Ecologist. More information about Phil Howard is available here:

At the conference, Phil Howard will share his experience on bridging information gaps between producers and consumers to develop more diversified and sustainable food systems and how to make the sociotechnical regime more prone to crop diversification.

John Ingram

John Ingram’s interests are in the conceptual framing of food systems; the interactions among the many actors involved and their varied activities, and the outcomes of their activities for food security, livelihoods and environment; and food system resilience. He has designed and led regional food system research projects in Europe, south Asia, southern Africa and the Caribbean and has conceived, developed and led a range of major international research initiatives. He has had substantial interaction with FAO, UNEP and CGIAR and many other international organisations, with national departments and agencies, with NGOs, and with businesses in the food sector helping to establish research on the links between food security and environment through the analysis of food systems. In addition to leading the food system research group within the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, he also leads the multi-university post-graduate food systems training programme (IFSTAL) and coordinates the UK Global Food Security programme ‘Resilience of the UK Food System’. He is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Somerville College.

At the conference, John Ingram will speak about his approach to linking agroecology, food security and the environment.

Emmanuel Petel

Emmanuel Petel is the policy coordinator at the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Commission. He is involved in the implementation of relevant support and tools in order to ensure the CAP is compatible with environmental policy and to promote the development of agricultural practices preserving the environment and the climate. Since 2015, he has been in charge of a team to manage a "greening" payment for agricultural practices: this payment per hectare, which represents 30% of the financial envelope for direct payments of each Member State, benefits the farmers who respect some relevant practices: crop diversification, maintaining existing permanent pasture, having ecological focus area on the agricultural area.

At the conference, Emmanuel Petel will give a presentation on the last European Commission proposal, which was released on 1st June 2018 and has high ambitions with regards to the environment and climate as well as research and innovation perspectives. Better achievements and ambitions are expected by setting specific objectives related to the environment and climate and by providing more flexibility to Member States to tackle their needs in terms of environmental issues. For the promotion of crop diversity, some compulsory standards are proposed, e.g. crop rotation and soil coverage obligations.

Pablo Tittonell

Pablo Tittonell is the Principal Research Scientist at Argentina’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONICET) with a seat at the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, and holds a part time WWF-endowed Chair Professorship on Resilient Landscapes at the Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences, in The Netherlands. He is the former national coordinator of the Natural Resources and Environment Program of INTA and former Chair Professor of Farming Systems Ecology at Wageningen University, in The Netherlands. He acts as external Professor at the Ecole Doctorale GAïA of the University of Montpellier, France and at the National University of Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He is an agronomist by training and worked both in the private sector and in academic/research organisations. He holds a PhD in Production Ecology and Resource Conservation and his areas of expertise include soil fertility, agroecology, biodiversity and farming systems analysis.

At the conference, Pablo Tittonell will be talking about the approach of ecological intensification as a transition to agroecological landscapes and sustainable food systems.