Improving Public Understanding of Food Systems

Improving Public Understanding of Food Systems

Part of the Food Research Collaboration’s purpose is to make evidenced academic knowledge about food systems available wherever it can be useful.

We know that policy-makers often have good access to academic knowledge while developing policy. What happens after policies are launched is a different matter. Public and media debates can seem unbalanced, focussing disproportionately on a few issues or presenting partial or incorrect information. One reason for this is that journalists cannot find relevant experts to help them, often at short notice. Another reason is that academics are understandably reluctant to speak about issues beyond their special field of expertise. This is the gap we want to fill with this initiative. It is about coordinating academic responses to new policies, to try to get a rounded and soundly informed picture out to the public. Broad, well evidenced debate keeps policy-makers’ options open. Polarised debate can close them down.

We can work with academics and journalists to match specialist knowledge with specific media needs.

We have contacts with many academics, whose specialisms range from diet and health to trade and climate impacts. Together, they have comprehensive knowledge of the food system, and what needs to happen to enable it to become more sustainable.

We also have contact with journalists covering the food system.

We can:

  • Contact academics with specific media enquiries for interviews or background
  • Tailor contact to suit academics’ time and media experience
  • Work with university press offices as appropriate
  • Proactively respond to issues academics feel are being misrepresented in the media
  • Produce and publish ‘explainers’ providing factual context for topical stories.

If you are an academic and are interested in providing media commentary, correction or background, or if you are a journalist seeking academic input, please get in touch with the FRC’s Communications and Engagement Officer here.