Speakers confirmed for Kew Gardens’ season of Food Forever Evening Talks in the Temperate House

Release date: 31 May 2022

  • Food Forever at Kew Gardens continues with an exciting series of evening talks  

  • Guest panelists include Dee Woods, Dan Saladino, Carolyn Steel and Jenny Linford 

  • Talks explore themes including food waste, sustainability, and the true cost of our weekly shop 

  • Contributions from Kew scientists and horticulturists who are leading the way in researching foods of the future 

  • Tickets £9 / £5 for 18-25s / £1 ticket available for recipients of Universal Credit 

This summer, Kew Gardens presents a brand-new season of evening talks in the iconic Temperate House. These thought-provoking and timely discussions take a closer look at some of the central themes of Kew’s summer arts programme, Food Forever, which invites visitors to discover how we can transform our planet for good, through what we eat.   

Conversations for Change 

Taking place fortnightly from June until September, each Food Forever Evening Talk will shine a light on an issue or theme related to the future of food in the wake of the tandem climate and biodiversity crises. From exploring how the foods we eat are changing at an unprecedented rate or addressing the timely issues of food waste, food poverty and rising living costs, each discussion will feature insights from a host of thought-leaders, writers, chefs and artists as they endeavor to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.  


An array of guest speakers will be participating in the Food Forever Evening Talks programme. Confirmed panelists include Dan Saladino, author of Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them, chefs Akwasi Brenya-Mensa, Chantelle Nicholson, Zoe Adjonyoh and Tom Hunt, alongside food pioneers and thought leaders including Dee Woods, Carolyn Steel, Anna Taylor (The Food Foundation), Abby Rose, Nick Saltmarsh (Hodmedod) and Nora Castañeda-Alvarez (Crop Trust). Other confirmed panelists include writer and Kew Cookbook editor, Jenny Linford, multidisciplinary artist Kaajal Modi and broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Full details of confirmed speakers can be found in the listings details below.  

Kew Contributors  

Alongside this variety of guest speakers, several of the talks will feature contributions from scientists and horticulturists working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Hélèna Dove, Kew’s kitchen gardener, will be speaking as part of the Making change one harvest at a time panel (28 July), Dr James Borrell, a biodiversity scientist, will feature as part of the Imagining a menu for tomorrow talk (14 July) and Professor Phil Stevenson will feature as part of the Understanding the true cost of our weekly shop discussion (16 June). Professor Alexandre Antonelli, Director of Science, will also participate in the final talk, Transforming our food systems now on 8 September.  

Paul Denton, Head of Visitor Programmes and Exhibitions at RBG Kew, says: “It’s wonderful to be able to expand our Food Forever programming to encompass this series of talks, set within the stunning surroundings of the Temperate House at Kew Gardens. Each of the panelists taking part promises to bring a unique perspective and insight to some of the most pressing and pertinent issues which we as a global community are facing today, from food waste to the cost of living and food security for the future. Join us this summer for discussion and debate, as we ask what tangible actions we can take forward in a constantly changing world.” 

Food Forever, a summer of art at Kew Gardens exploring the future of food runs until Sunday 18 September 2022. Across a series of installations, gallery exhibition, screenings, events and guest menus in the Pavilion Bar and Grill, visitors can explore the impact which our day-to-day eating habits have on the world around us, and what we can do to help combat climate change and biodiversity loss.  


For more information or images, please contact the Press Office at pr@kew.org


Notes to Editors 


About Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew Gardens’ 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.5 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 260th anniversary in 2019. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew receives approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support RBG Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.  


Listings Information 

2 June: What will our grandchildren eat? 

Looking to both our history and near futures, this panel explores how the crops we grow and the food we eat are changing at extraordinary rate. What can we learn from different food traditions and cultures to sustain future generations in a changing world? 


Food journalist Dan Saladino, author of Eating to Extinction: The World's Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them. 


Maria Fuentenebro, Founder and Creative Director of Sharp & Sour. María is a multidisciplinary designer specializing in Food Design. Gastronomy has always been the field around which her career has revolved. 

Akwasi Brenya-Mensa, chef has announced his debut London restaurant Tatale. The Pan-African concept will open at the Africa Centre in January 2022 and hopes to capture the spirit of the chop bars that make up an important part of the West African food landscape 

Tiziana Ulian leads the Sustainable Use, Seeds and Solutions team at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which focuses on studying biodiversity to improve people's livelihoods and well-being worldwide. She has over 20 years’ experience leading projects related to biodiversity conservation, climate change and food security.  

Dan Saladino is a food journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4’sThe Food Programme. He honed his journalistic skills on Radio 4’s investigative series Face the Facts before specialising in food and farming stories more than a decade ago. 

This event will be followed by a book signing for Eating to Extinction: The World's Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them, published by Penguin (2022). 


16 June: Understanding the true cost of our weekly shop 

This panel examines the critical issues of food poverty and rising living costs, alongside the climate and biodiversity crises and the urgent need for our diets to become less environmentally destructive. Thinking about food through the lens of social and environmental justice, we ask: how can we achieve healthier and fairer food systems for all? 


Professor Phil Stevenson, Head of Trait Diversity and Function at RBG Kew. 


To be confirmed. 


30 June: Equity and circularity through food 

Plant and crop diversity is critical to our collective health and wellbeing. This discussion explores how we might reimagine the food systems that shape our lives. If we could start afresh with equity and circularity in mind, what would our food systems look like now?  


Chef and writer Zoe Adjonyoh. 


Nora Castañeda-Alvarez leads “Seeds for Resilience”, a Crop Trust project helping national genebanks in Africa upgrade their facilities and processes for the long-term conservation of important plant genetic resources. 

Rachel Pimm (they/ them/ theirs) is a research-based artist searching for the origin of things, telling material stories, finding the political - the feminist, queer, sick, and postcolonial - in the animal, vegetable, and mineral. Their work is often collaborative and they have presented with the Serpentine Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, and Royal Academy in London, and art centres in the US and around Europe.  

Zoe Adjonyoh is a chef, writer, and founder of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Zoe has been pioneering modern West African food since 2010. In 2017, she released her debut cookbook Zoe's Ghana Kitchen, landing her a spot on The New York Times Best Cookbooks of 2021. Zoe’s Guest Menu at the Pavilion Bar & Grill will be available from 16 June to 13 July 2022. 


14 July: Imagining a menu for tomorrow 

Looking to the future, this panel examines how chefs and growers are transforming the way we eat in the UK, and what our diets might look like in the decades to come. How can traditional or lost foods become part of future solutions, and what are the innovative ideas being put forward by chefs and growers today? 


Jenny Linford, editor of The Kew Gardens Cookbook. 


Chantelle Nicholson is the multi-award-winning chef owner of Apricity Restaurant, on Duke Street in Mayfair, former owner of Tredwells, in the West End’s Seven Dials and All’s Well; a hyper-seasonal ‘pandemic pop-up’ in Hackney, London. 

Dr James Borrell is a biodiversity scientist and science communicator with over a decade of conservation research and fieldwork experience. Past project have ranged from the tropics to high Arctic, with a particular focus on Ethiopia, Oman, Madagascar and the UK. His research predominantly focuses on characterising biodiversity patterns, but increasingly integrates human challenges around food security and agriculture. 

Nick Saltmarsh co-founded Hodmedod in 2012 together with Josiah Meldrum and William Hudson to supply beans and other products from British farms. They work with British farms to source a range of top-quality ingredients and delicious foods. We’re particularly interested in searching out less well-known foods, like the fava bean – grown in Britain since the Iron Age but now almost forgotten – and black badger peas. 

Jenny Linford is a London-based freelance food writer and editor, a longstanding member of the Guild of Food Writers. She is the author of over 20 books, including a number of cookbooks. She is the editor of The Kew Gardens Cookbook (2022). 

This event will be followed by a book signing for The Kew Gardens Cookbook (2022). 


28 July: Making change one harvest at a time 

This panel discussion explores our food systems from the perspective of farming and growing communities, with an in-depth look at where our food comes from.  Where is innovation in food growing taking place, locally and globally, and how might the communities involved be better supported in the future? 


Food and farming actionist Dee Woods. 


Abby Rose is Co-producer & Co-host of Farmerama. A farmer and soil health advocate, Abby was named one of 50 New Radicals by The Guardian and Nesta in 2018 for her work developing simple apps that help build ecology, profitability and beauty on farms around the world. 

Hélèna Dove is kitchen gardener at RBG Kew, where she grows a range of fruit and vegetables, with a view on the science of crops. Before this she managed a historic, Edwardian kitchen garden in north London which was full of heritage varieties. Helena has published three books, covering fruit, vegetables and general edible plants. 

Dee Woods, FRSA is an award-winning food system leader. A passionate knowledge broker, pollinator and weaver who advocates for good food for all and a just food system. Her work meets at the nexus of human rights, food sovereignty, agroecology, community, policy, decolonial research, culture, climate and social justice. 


11 August: Food waste(d) – How do we feed our cities? 

One of the biggest challenges in relation to food today is food waste, not just at a local level but also at an industrial one. Hear from the panel on how this issue relates to the way we live in the 21st century, and what can be done to combat it. 


Chef, writer and presenter Tom Hunt. 


Carolyn Steel is a leading thinker on food and cities. She is the author of the award-winning Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives (2008) and Sitopia: How Food Can Save the World (2020). 

Kaajal Modi (she/they) is a multidisciplinary designer, artist and creative researcher working through material practices of fermenting and crafting in order to engage diverse communities into discussions about the future of culture, technology and ecology. Utilising a practice that spans illustration, food, live art, sound, video, and poetry, they build emergent collaborations that invite inclusive, exploratory and playful explorations of more-than-human climate futures. 

Professor Ben Bennett, University of Greenwich. 

Tom Hunt is an award-winning chef, writer and presenter, Tom published Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet in 2020. He writes about food and the environment, and founded Forgotten Feast, a social enterprise promoting sustainable food through dining and celebration. Tom’s guest chef menu is available at the Pavillion Bar & Grill from 14 July – 10 August. 


25 August: A healthy body for a healthy planet 

Exploring the relationship between human and planetary health, this panel explores how dependent our own personal health is on that of the planet. We ask questions about the medicinal properties of plants and fungi, nutrition, and also how our dietary decisions impact the planet we all depend on. 


To be confirmed. 


To be confirmed. 


8 September: Transforming our food systems now   

Over the course of Food Forever, we’ve explored dozens of critical issues and questions shaping the future of our food systems. In our final panel event, we draw learnings from across the programme and ask what tangible actions can be taken forward in a changing world. 


Journalist and Kew trustee Krishnan Guru-Murthy. 


Professor Alexandre Antonelli, Director of Science of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Alexandre leads the work of over 350 scientists at Kew. A botanist by training, he was made Full Professor of Biodiversity at University of Gothenburg in Sweden aged 36, and founded the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre and served as Cisneros Visiting Scholar at Harvard University before joining Kew. 

Anna Taylor, Executive Director of The Food Foundation.  Anna joined the Food Foundation as its first Executive Director at the beginning of June 2015 after 5 years at the Department for International Development.  At DFID Anna led the policy team on nutrition and supported the delivery of the UK’s global commitments to tackle undernutrition. 

Krishnan Guru-Murthy presents Channel 4 News and Unreported World, the foreign affairs documentary series. Before that he was at the BBC on news, entertainment, youth and children’s programming. He has spent thirty years reporting and presenting from around Britain and the world. As well as being on the Board of Trustees for RBG Kew Krishnan is also patron of the charity Duchenne UK, which raises money for medical research.