Tag: food

Food Integrity: The Elliott Review and Elliot Review Birmingham

Back in April Podnosh worked with the  The New Optimists and Professor Chris  Elliott to pull together how a city like Birmingham would respond to food crime – the horsemeat scandal . I work was part of a prcoess to make the Elliott Review as concrete as possible. People from all levels of the food chain in Birmingham were bought together to share their experiences with Professor Chris Elliott – their thoughts and experience were shared by our social reporters on the New Optimists website.

Today both the full Elliott review and a shorter report into Birmingham’s contribution, as a result of that event have been published – you can read both here:



A new form of planning gain: Supermarkets share their data with the public (sector)

New Optimists listening to the conversation about food at last night forum
New Optimists listening to the conversation about food at last night forum

Below are some questions but first the context:

Last night I was working on the first of a series of conversations about how Birmingham will feed itself way into the future.  The New Optimists Forum is organised by Kate Cooper who has the very powerful idea of getting groups of scientists from different disciplines and policy makers to think about this thorny problem.  She argues, I think rightly, that getting practical about problems and places helps us understand best what we need to change now.

One of the scientists was Ian Nabney who talked about the opportunities that will come to make better decisions about complex problems when we have more data and more power to crunch and use that data.  Here’s what he said.
Ian Nabney – the future of food and opendata ? (mp3)

It made me ask the question what if we created a new form of planning gain: supermarkets share their data with us rather than build a new badminton court. 

Could knowing what they know about our eating habits help us lead healthier and better lives?

Mark Braggins Tweeted this this morning:

Mark Braggins tweet on depersonlaised data
@markbraggins on twitter

And it also tickled a local MP’s curisosity.  Richard Burden (who’s Northfield constituency may have a few urban “food deserts”, another idea kicked around at last night’s forum)  tweeted this question about half an hour ago:


So here are some questions:

  1. Is asking supermarkets to share their data a good form of planning gain?
  2. If so in what form would we want it – opendata, depersonalised or maybe full data to be share just with civil servants
  3. What would be the arguments against (so we can anticipate) or just how naive is this! ?
  4. How would Kate Cooper of the New Optimists go about talking to sainsbury’s about this?
  5. Would you rather have a new pavilion at the local park?

Odd what comes out of combining real world conversations with online stuff!


Looks like Adrian Short was thinking about supermarket card data as a public good back in April – scroll to the bottom of this post.

#tnofood Food, Science and Birmingham – The first New Optimists forum.

These are the faces of the latest bunch of New Optimists and if you’re interested in the future of Birmingham and the future of how we feed ourselves you may just want to follow their conversation as part of job we’re doing tomorrow  (Wednesday 2nd November 6 – 9 pm) .

We will be live blogging the first  New Optimists Forum – a conversation between these fine folk…ten scientists, an architect (last year’s RIBA President no less) and the city’s development strategist take part …. They are Eugenio, Hanifa, Peter and Gareth  (l-r, top row); Rosemary, Jim, Peter and Ruth (l-r, middle row); David, Helen, Ian and Liz (l-r, bottom row).

It’s the first of a number of events which will concentrate on the fascinating issues of how we feed ourselves, and happens to fall in the week we welcomed the babies that pushed our population over 7 billion.

The simplest way to follow and join the conversation is through the twitter hashtag  #tnofood (The New Optimists on Food).  We’re not live streaming this first one but will be sharing material as it happens.

If you’re curious about the New Optimists it’s a Birmingham based not for profit organisation set up by Kate Cooper.  She started by asking scientists what makes them optimistic and ended up publishing a fab book called The New Optimists – still available on Amazon.