Animal Farmers Turned Vegan To Speak At Major Food Conference

The Grow Green conference which will take place in April in London will address the growth of post-Brexit plant agriculture as well as look at how pastoral farmers can switch to arable
Vegan farmer Jay Wilde
Jay Wilde gave his cows toa sanctuary and turned vegan (Photo: The Vegan Society)

Three former animal farmers who switched to vegetable farming will speak at a food conference in April in London.

Jay Wilde, a former cattle farmer turned vegan and star of 73 Cows, will be one of the speakers at The Grow Green conference at the British Library. He will be accompanied by Colm O'Dowde - as well as Iain Tolhurst, who is generally considered to be the pioneer in vegan (or stock-free) farming.

They will address the many questions surrounding why and how farmers can move away from animal agriculture and look for opportunities in the plant sector.

Conference topics

The conference, which has been organized by The Vegan Society, will address the implications of the rise in plant-based food for the environment, land use, and Britain's farmers. It will also explore how a plant-strong future can help meet climate change targets and what policies might support a transition towards it.

There will be panel discussions covering other topics, such as political barriers to plant-strong production; making the best use of land in the UK; and ensuring the demand for plant-based products is met by production.

Keynote speakers include Dr Helen Harwatt, Farmed Animal Law and Policy Fellow at Harvard University; Natalie Bennett, former Leader of the Green Party; and Marcela Villarreal, Director of South-South Cooperation at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.

Vegan future

"The interest in plant-based foods has increased exponentially in recent years," Louise Davies from The Vegan Society, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News. "Alongside this, scientists and academics are confirming that we need to be reducing our consumption of animal products.

"This important conference will discuss the implications of changing diets for food production, our land, and the environment, and will explore what challenges and opportunities this presents for British producers.

"The Vegan Society is keen to collaborate with the agriculture sector and to ensure that Britain’s farmers can benefit from the rise in plant-based eating."

Grow Green conference
The conference will take place in April in London (Photo: Supplied)

Agriculture changes

"The science is clear and consistent about the need to reconfigure food systems to fit within environmental limits, while also addressing a myriad of public health issues," added Dr. Helen Harwatt.

Dr. Harwatt will launch research findings from the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School, modeling alternative agriculture production in the UK, at the event.

She added: "The change needed to our current use of agricultural land in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC and tackle the wildlife crisis is vast and unprecedented.

"The good news is that solutions exist to help address these issues simultaneously. Our forthcoming research demonstrates an opportunity for the UK agricultural sector to lead the way."

Early bird tickets are available at £40 + VAT until February 15. Day delegate passes are £55 + VAT. Refreshments and lunch are included with both passes.

You can find out more about the event here

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers. She was previously the editor of Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

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