Food Matters Events

Food Matters : Life, Science, Diet, Everything in 2023.

Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 October.

Food Matters returns for another year of lively conversation between experts from food production to its subsequent preparation, promotion and consumption.

Despite difficulties with the food chain and rising costs, there remains much to celebrate, explore and debate. Sustainability inevitably remains our central theme. In the light of the environmental consequences of modern farming, there is general agreement that the world needs to change how food is grown, or reared, and to adapt the food we eat for the health of nature as well as our own health. The importance of the microbes that live in our digestive tract(the microbiome) to human health is much debated and personalised dietary advice is now commercially available. Meanwhile the catering industry faces major problems . First hit by the Covid pandemic it now faces higher food prices, a skills shortage and financial uncertainty with the cost of living crisis.

It is important therefore to celebrate innovation by local people such as in our session on Aquaculture and our finale presentation on  Wine & Cider production.

With audience participation encouraged, we aim to entertain you with a friendly exchange of ideas and discussion because, well, Food Matters! The format remains a series of conversations between ahost and 2-3 experts followed by audience involvement.

Come ready to join in the conversation.

Food Matters is a unique part of our festival. In the spirit of sharing knowledge and public debate, we make no charge for entry*.

Seating (around60) cannot be booked so come a little early to secure your place. Entry will start 10 mins before a new session. There will some standing places available behind the seating for latecomers.

* Please donate as you feel able.

Programme organisers:  Craig Davidson, Harriet Cherry and Paul McNabb

EVENT DETAILS can be found here.

Select Event Type “Food Matters”

Saturday 21st October 2023

9.30-10.30        10 things you can do NOW to cook more sustainably

Orlando Murrin (chef and food writer) with Charlotte Pike (The Hungry Student), Anna Turns (Environmental journalist) and Tomasina Miers (chef and food writer)

11.0-12.00        “Soil to Plate” Farming. An exploration of new thinking in farming.

Edward Benthall (businessman turned farmer) with Paul Cherry (Co-Founder of Groundswell), Tim Williams (Regenerative farmer) and Mel Squires (Regional Director NFU).

12.30-1.30        Ravenous : How to get ourselves and our planet into shape.

Martin Caraher (Food Policy unit, London University) in conversation with Jemima Lewis and Henry Dimbleby on their new book, a follow up to the 2021 National Food Strategy.

2-0-3.0             Might Aquaculture be one answer to the problems in the Food Chain?

Amanda Keetley (Devon Environment Foundation) talks to John Holmyard (Offshore Shellfish, Brixham), Greg Clifford (Scallop Ranch Ltd) and Angela Mead (Biomealgae, Totnes)

3.30-4.30          Who or what else might help fix the problems?

Martin Caraher (Food policy unit, London) in discussion with Anthony Magnall (MP Totnes and South Hams),  Fatma Sabet (Food Education for Health, Exeter University) and Clare Pettinger (Nutrition Dept, Plymouth University).


Sunday 22nd October 2023

9.30-10.30   The Bull, the Seahorse/Rockfish and the Curious Kitchen

Shane Holland (Slow Food) talks to restaurateurs Geetie Singh Watson, Mitch Tonks & Ash Hamilton about running a restaurant, staying solvent and keeping both customers and staff happy.

11.0-12.00   Food For Life

Craig Davidson in conversation with Professor Tim Spector exploring the themes in his new book “ Food for Life” on how what we eat influences health and longevity.

12.30-1.30      “Wicked Leeks” at Food Matters : Seasonal eating at home and away.

Nina Pullman (Editor) talks to Guy Singh Watson (Food campaigner), Lewis Glanvill (Riverford Field Kitchen) and a food writer, JohnnyTilbrook  (Head chef, the Bull Totnes) and Kathy Slack (food writer and author of the Veg Patch.


2.0-3.0              Cider Apples, Grapes and the English Terroir*.

The English pioneered bottle fermenting in the C17th. 350 years later they are doing it again helped by an ideal terroir, climate change and a zest for innovation.

Rebecca Mitchell (Wine Educator)  James Crowden (Food writer and Cider enthusiast)  Polly Hilton (Find & Foster Fine Ciders) and Mark Sharman (Viticulturist)  to celebrate the resurgence of orcharding and sparkling wine production  in a “telling and tasting way”.

*This session is a ticketed event, bookable through the Festival website.