SLU news

Feed, a food systems podcast

Published: 25 February 2021

Is a local or global food system more sustainable? How big should a farm be? Debates about the future of food have become more polarised than ever – and little attention is paid to why people hold genuinely different beliefs. A new podcast will explore the evidence, worldviews, and values that people bring to global food system debates. The podcast is produced by Table, a collaboration between SLU, the University of Oxford and Wageningen University & Research.

The Feed podcast will engage in dialogue with those who are trying to transform the food system as part of the ongoing work of TABLE and will be exploring the topic of scale in the food system, at multiple levels – spatial, economic, moral and temporal.

A first teaser episode in which co-hosts Matthew Kessler (SLU) and Samara Brock (Yale University) tell you what you can expect when you tune in, and Tara Garnett (University of Oxford) introduces the theme of the first series of episodes: Scale!

The Food Security Conundrum

The first full-length episode, released on Feb 18, discusses why agricultural research often fall short of addressing food insecurity challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. In a conversation with Ken Giller, Professor of Plant Production Systems at Wageningen University & Research, the podcast explores this wicked problem from a systems perspective examining the diverse drivers and experiences of smallholder farmers and the socio-ecological systems in which they are embedded.

Ken Giller provides a nuanced look at agroecological solutions and argues that relying solely on nature-based solutions would be inadequate to address food security problems in Africa. This podcast episode also talks about the huge diversity of farmers that can be found under the banner of smallholders, an in-depth examination of the “yield gap”, and what gets lost when translating research into practice.

Episode 1: Ken Giller on the Food Security Conundrum

The Vulnerabilities of Global Food Trade

The second episode discusses the vulnerabilities of global food trade. Have you thought about the system of trade that stocks food at your market or grocery store? Do you wonder if that system of global food trade, where 25% of all agricultural products are now traded internationally, is a vulnerable or resilient one? Rob Bailey, climate director at Marsh & McLennan, has examined how potential disruptions to trading routes can have severe impacts on global food security.

Rob Bailey lays out the worst case scenario that could lead to a global food catastrophe. And while he paints a terrifying picture, we find that most parts of global food trade stood up remarkably well to the Covid19 pandemic. The podcast episode discusses this and other recommendations to increase resilience in our global food system and more.

Episode 2: Rob Bailey on the Vulnerabilities of Global Food Trade

About the Feed podcast

Feed is a podcast produced by SLU as part of the TABLE initiative. Find it in your podcast player or at

For more information on TABLE, visit