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Please note: this event has passed

This is the second talk for the annual Tony Allan Memorial Lecture Series, which take forward the intellectual legacy of our late emeritus colleague on topics of water, agriculture and political economy through critical discussion across diverse research, professional and practitioner communities.

In this lecture, we will explore the relationship between food and water stewardship, an issue that Tony became increasingly passionate about particularly in the latter stages of his career and research.

The Lecture Series is hosted by the King’s Water Centre. King’s Water Centre works to incubate, elevate, and empower the best science and innovation to tackle the world’s water problems. We are curiosity-driven, interdisciplinary, and solutions-focused.

Based in the heart of London, King’s Water Centre brings together scholars and practitioners for a just and sustainable water future.

This event is online. A zoom link will be sent prior to the start of the event.


Lecture summary

It is critical for food consumers, food businesses and policymakers to align for a more sustainable food system, with improved water and environmental stewardship. But what does it take to change consumer behaviour that broadly influences food consumption?

Movements such as Slow Food describe consumers as co-producers, while seeking to educate the public about food choices, including factors such as fair price, sustainability and taste. Many politico-economic factors influence or restrict the food choices of consumers, with farmers playing a central role in charting a sustainable future.

The talk will discuss grassroots movements and campaigns to improve the food system, ranging from the experience of small scale farming communities to a major national campaign to improve the US food system, and will consider questions of how to best include water accounting in these challenging efforts.



Lilia Smelkova

Lilia Smelkova has 20 years of experience working for better and more sustainable food systems. She worked for a decade as a Program Director for Italy-based nonprofit Slow Food International, leading on-the-ground projects on food and farming in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia on behalf of the Foundation for Biodiversity, as well as designing global nutrition and food education programs. In 2004, she supported the organization of the first world meeting of food and farming communities, Terra Madre, which brought together 5,000 producers from 130 countries.

Subsequently, she was a leader in sustainable food advocacy in the USA as head of the National Food Day Campaign at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, D.C. for five years. She is currently working as a consultant with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, specializing in communications, advocacy and knowledge translation.

She holds a Master’s in linguistics from Turin University, Italy and an MSc in Environment and Development from King’s College London.

Lilia Smelkova, Speaker