What plants will you eat in the Future? A showcase at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Food for the future 
14 May 2013 12:32:32.663
PA 157/13
Food for the future will be the focus of a fascinating exhibit created by scientists from The University of Nottingham at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The University’s School of Biosciences is exhibiting for the first time at this year’s centenary show, and the team are using the opportunity to showcase their latest research in the field of global food security

The exhibit, which will be based in the Great Pavilion, will give visitors the opportunity to talk to leading Nottingham researchers and find out what they are doing to secure our food for the future.
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An important priority is ensuring that everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food, which is an area of study known as Global Food Security. Now, scientists from The University of Nottingham are working with organisations worldwide to try to better understand what characteristics crop plants will need for future agriculture, and how people can reduce food spoilage.

Professor Neil Crout, head of the School of Biosciences at the University, said: “Achieving global food security is the one of the most pressing issues facing the world today. Through sustained research our work is focused on developing crops that will feed our growing world population, using fewer of the earth’s precious resources. This project is an excellent opportunity to showcase the School of Biosciences significant contribution to ensuring food for the future.

“The world’s population is set to reach nine billion by 2050 and the demand for food is anticipated to increase by 70 per cent and our water requirements will double. As well as this, climate change is causing erratic weather patterns and global food production will be affected, as a result we’re likely to see increased incidences of drought and flooding,” says Professor Crout.

“Farming needs to produce more food, use fewer resources and be more environmentally sustainable. As a population, we rely on only three crops ― maize, rice and wheat ― for 60 per cent of the world’s calories. However, many minor and underutilised crops could be significant as researchers look to find more resilient crops.”

People visiting the stand will also be able to see some of the alternative crops which researchers at the University are already investigating, which may be needed in the future to help overcome some major challenges around food production and the environment.

Professor Crout adds: “Once solutions are identified, scientists can produce new varieties of existing crops, or potentially introduce entirely new crops. Food for the future is an introduction to some of Nottingham’s on-going work to achieve this.”

The University of Nottingham’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway said: “It is fantastic we are able to showcase this vital research at such a significant and well attended event like RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We are always seeking to demonstrate the contribution our University makes to everyday life and for something as vital to the global population as food security, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

For more information on the stand visit the School’s website.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Sean Mayes, The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 6234, sean.mayes@nottingham.ac.uk; or the Plant and Crop Science Office on +44 (0)115 951 6332; or Charlotte Anscombe, Media Relations and Campaigns Manager, The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 748 4417, charlotte.anscombe@nottingham.ac.uk

  Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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