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Podcast / Food Futures
Podcast / Food Futures

Is there a future for meat?

There’s no arguing that more consumers are choosing to vary their diets with plant-based foods and drink, but what does this mean for the future of meat? Is a blanket ‘no meat’ future the best for sustainability? Or does that blanket approach show a lack of understanding for agriculture? On this Table Talk Podcast, recorded back in March 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns were just taking shape in the UK, our panel argues that perhaps we should change the conversation around meat and future diets.

Joining us are Patrick Holden, Founder & Chief Executive, Sustainable Food Trust, Shefali Sharma, Director, IATP Europe, Ursula Arens, Author, One Blue Dot and Jimmy Woodrow from the Pasture Fed Livestock Association. Find out how they see the future of meat taking shape, in an increasingly plant-based world.

About our panel

Patrick Holden, Founder & Chief Executive, Sustainable Food Trust

Patrick Holden is founder and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, an organisation working internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems. Between 1995 and 2010 he was director of the Soil Association, during which time he pioneered the development of UK and international organic standards, policy incentives for organic production and the organic market.

His policy advocacy is underpinned by his practical experience in agriculture on his 100 hectare holding, now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales, where he produces a raw milk cheddar style cheese from his 80 native Ayrshire cows.
Patrick is a frequent broadcaster and speaker, was awarded the CBE for services to organic farming in 2005 and an Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.

Shefali Sharma, Director, IATP Europe

Shefali Sharma is the director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) European office. From the global production of feed grains to meat processing and retail, her current work and publications focus on the economic, social and environmental impacts of the global meat and dairy industries. She continues to examine how international trade rules and global governance on food security and climate intersect with the sector. Shefali established IATP’s Geneva office in 2000 and led its Trade Information Project for several years. She has worked with and consulted for several other civil society organisations, such as the Malaysia-based Third World Network, as the South Asia coordinator of the Bank Information Center, based in Delhi, and ActionAid International. She has a MPhil from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Sussex and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the College of William and Mary.

Ursula Arens, Author, One Blue Dot

Ursula Arens is currently a freelance nutrition consultant writer. She is a monthly columnist with Network Health Digest magazine (, which is read by 6000+ dietitians in the UK. She has a degree in Dietetics and has spent most of her career working in the food industry: with a retailer, with a pharmaceutical company and at the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF). She is a member of the Nutrition Society, the British Dietetic Association, and the Guild of Health Writers.

She is very interested in the environmentally sustainable diet: what it is, and what it is not. She is part of the expert group behind the report, One Blue Dot, produced by the British Dietetic Association.

Jimmy Woodrow, Pasture Fed Livestock Association

Jimmy is primarily responsible for growing the market for Pasture for Life products through building public awareness of the PFLA’s activities and developing pasture-fed supply chains. In addition, he is leading on the PFLA’s upcoming ten-year strategy.

Jimmy started his career in corporate finance and has recently spent seven years in a range of senior roles within the food industry, including at Neal’s Yard Dairy and GAIL’s Bakery. He is now freelancing and focused on the financing and development of agroecological supply chains.

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