Geoff Tansey WINS BBC food award
Listen again available for the next seven days - Geoff's piece is about 42 minutes into the programme
Writer and campaigner Geoff Tansey was described today on Radio Four as the unsung hero from the world of food policy. All finalists were described as being impressive.
Since the 1970s, he has been researching and explaining the global food system. Nearly 40 years on he is still doing pioneering work. His new book, "The Future Control of Food" investigates the patenting of plants, who owns the living world and what that means for us all.
Professor Tim Land said of Geoff that he's someone who has always been interested in power and the role of big companies and governments. "For the last ten years, he has been working extensively on the issue of patents - literally, the control over the means of life. What appeared to be a marginal, arcane issue of world trade politics and who owns intellectual property rights has now become mainstream and central, and he was there before us all."
Geoff was asked why the patenting of plants mattered. "The legal fictions we create in this world shape what people do, what institutions do. We're suddenly extending something which was designed for mechanical inventions in the 19th century to the living world. It influences what big firms do, what companies comes to control the future of food. And it is something which is so complicated most people say 'Oh I don't want to do this'. Unless we get to grips with how the rules are changing, things which we try to do locally are affected by rules which are made globally.
"The food system doesn't work. A billion people starve or are hungry and 1.3 billion are overweight or obese. We really need major change to turn that round."
Update: Thursday, 27 November 2008
The ninth Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards 2008 will be broadcast tomorrow in a special edition of the Food programme - 28 Nov 2008 at 12 midday. Sheila Dillon hosts the event which was held yesterday at the NEC, Birmingham. Angela Hartnett and Jamie Oliver are among the guests.
Local journalist Geoff Tansey shortlisted for BBC food award
Monday, 27 October 2008
"As far as I'm concerned these are the Oscars of the food world and it doesn't get much better than this."
Local writer and consultant on sustainable food systems, Geoff Tansey has been short-listed for the Derek Cooper Award.
Geoff is up against stiff competition from The Soil Association and Felicity Lawrence, the Guardian's consumer affairs correspondent.
The BBC food awards, nominated by listeners, set out to find the Best Local Food Retailer; Best Take-Away; Farmer of The Year; Best Dinner Lady or Man; Best Food Producer; Best Retail Initiative; Best Food Market and the Derek Cooper Award.
Chair of judges Angela Hartnett says: "This is a really inspirational group of finalists and what's so important about the awards is that, for many of them, making it on to this list will be the first time they've had their work recognised.
"When you hear their stories it makes you appreciate the impact dinner ladies, producers, cooks and retailers all over the country are having on the food we eat."
The awards will take place on the evening of Wednesday 26 November at the Birmingham NEC, hosted by Sheila Dillon, presenter of The Food Programme.
The BBC Food Personality of the Year will also be announced at the event.
Geoff is also a recipient of the Joseph Rowntree Visionary Award for a Just and Peaceful World. This means that from 2006-2010, he receives a stipend to work for a fair and sustainable food system.
More information about Geoff's interesting work and the books he has written may be found on his website.