The role of food in our quest to achieve carbon neutrality

01 October 2021


The Food Trails project team is excited to announce the first in our series of webinars aimed to inspire project ideas to be funded through the Birmingham Food Living Lab. This 1.5-hour session is a wonderful opportunity to learn from trail blazing leaders in the field of low carbon food tech. We have invited four inspirational speakers to provide practical examples of how to achieve a carbon neutral future. Join us to listen to and discuss what Birmingham can do to achieve a more efficient, less polluting low carbon approach to food and food production.

Speakers include:

Duncan Farrington

Duncan Farrington is a fourth-generation farmer and founder of Farrington’s Mellow Yellow, becoming the UK’s first seed-to-bottle producer of cold pressed rapeseed oil in 2005. Farrington’s Mellow Yellow has grown to be a well-loved national brand, producing a range of cold pressed rapeseed oils and salad dressings. As a LEAF Marque grower and Demonstration farmer, Duncan is committed to sustainable farming practises from the wildlife habitats around field edges, to the health of the soils in his fields.

In 2020 Farrington Oils became the world’s first food business to be certified as both carbon and plastic neutral and, in 2021, were honoured to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development for their industry leading commitment to the environment. Farrington Oils is a UK case study for the AgricaptureCO₂ project, to help develop regenerative farming practices that will hopefully ultimately lead to a certified carbon trading initiative for sustainable agriculture.

Anthony Walters

In his professional life Anthony has worked in 13 countries on 3 continents, leading businesses in the consumer food, petfood, energy, and charity sectors: most recently as the Chief executive of a charitable foundation.

As a consultant he has worked with clients in the property, land management, energy, and education sectors.

Outside work he has volunteered in the areas of food poverty and education in Latin America. He was a GamesMaker at the 2012 Paralympic games in London.

Since moving to the Midlands in 2009 he has been involved in community energy with a free solar energy share scheme on almshouses in Lichfield, a solar PV scheme on 314 council bungalows in Cannock Chase, and also a pioneering partnership with the University Hospitals of the North Midlands NHS Trust, where community funded solar PV on the Trust’s estate buildings finances a scheme which reduces readmissions to the hospital by “treating” patients’ homes, addressing fuel poverty, and improving their wellbeing.

As an active volunteer of Zero Carbon Lichfield, he has worked with local community groups and the District Council on the pathway to net zero using circular economy principles demonstrating a potential of £216 Million of socio-economic value and a 200000T reduction in the district’s carbon footprint.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller, Deputy Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute leads a team that has expertise in:

• converting plant (and other) residues into biochar which can also be used to improve soil health and lock in carbon.

• supporting businesses on the journey to achieving net zero.

• helping to decarbonise cities in vertical farming applications and clean-up of contaminated land.

The West Midlands Combined Authority have set an ambitious target of achieving net zero by 2041. Their first five-year plan launched in 2021 includes activities for everyone to get involved in such as:

• Businesses signing up to the Net Zero Business Pledge,

• Changes in the provision of energy through Energy Capital

• Substantial tree and hedge planting recorded through the Virtual Forest

Helping to guide us through the information presented by each of the speakers is Benjamin Browning, breeder of rare poultry, awarded Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Poulters.