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Dates and Times

26 May 2022
17:00 - 19:00




Regional Development Australia ACT


Dr Shawn Somerset
Dr Ro McFarlane
Dr Nenad Naumovski
Dr Ann Hill
Dr Bethaney Turner


Listen to Canberra’s leading food and nutrition experts discuss why we need to build a much stronger local food system.

While diet, human health, and environmental sustainability are intimately linked, the absence of globally agreed scientific targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production is hindering the transformation of our global food system.  But the story starts with the local food system. Come and find out more.

Key themes this seminar will address:

What is needed & possible in the Canberra Region?

In what ways can we meet targets for a healthy diet of sustainable locally-produced food?

Professor Shawn Somerset will open a discussion of the opportunities for improving nutrition and health outcomes through a thriving and resilient local food system. He will facilitate a panel discussion with colleagues from the University of Canberra’s Future of Food in Capital Region and with our broader audience.


Shawn Somerset (PhD) is Professor of Public Health and Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics in the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra. He has worked in government, industry, community and university sectors on food and nutrition-related projects in Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. His general field of interest relates to environmental aspects of food choice, the various controls, barriers and facilitators involved, and how the expanding world population will ensure food security into the future. Answers to these issues span a range of research contexts, from community-based school and urban garden initiatives, through to population-based studies on determinants of food consumption – issues that are central across the world, in countries both rich and poor.

Ro McFarlane (PhD, M.Ecosyst.Sci, B.V.Sc.) is an Assistant Professor in Public Health at the University of Canberra. Her expertise is in human-animal-environmental health interlinkages, particularly around the issues of biodiversity conservation and food. She initially trained as a veterinarian and has professional expertise in natural resource management and has been a primary producer in the Capitol region for over a decade. She has worked extensively with community groups such as Landcare, and facilitated the development and declaration of the Ngaanyatjarra Indigenous Protected Area in W.A. She teaches, and works with international agencies such as WHO, Intergovernmental Panel of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, International Union of Forest Research Organisations to develop policy and sustainability transitions. Her research focuses on the enablers and barriers of such policy translation to local level, particularly around food.

Nenad Naumovski (PhD, MAIFST) is a Food Scientist and Molecular Nutritionist and works at the University of Canberra (ACT, Australia) as an Associate Professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition. He leads a Functional Foods and Nutrition Research (FFNR) Laboratory and holds academic conjoint positions as the Visiting Professor at the Harokopio University of Athens (Athens, Greece), Abertay University (Scotland) and University of Newcastle (Australia). Nenad has a strong research interest in the development of functional foods and the effects of food and nutrients on psycho-cardiological and cardiometabolic markers associated with healthy ageing.

Ann Hill (PhD) is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in community education and community development for a more sustainable world and part of the University of Canberra (UC) Centre for Sustainable Communities and the UC Future of Food network. She is a human geographer and diverse economies scholar by training and has specific interests in collective ethics and methods for living in a climate and resource changing world. She currently works with communities in Australia's SE rural-urban fringe and in Manila and Mindanao, the Philippines, on growing community food economies, among other things. Prior to academia she worked in different research and education fields including 10 years’ experience as a high school humanities teacher in south west Sydney, and time spent as a health and nutrition consultant for Russell’s Natural Food Markets and as an agricultural technical officer for University of Sydney’s plant breeding institute.

Bethaney Turner (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research. Dr. Turner's research explores the multispecies relationships between people, place and the environment concentrating on how best to build the resilience and capacity o diverse communities to enact more sustainable futures in a time of climate change. She has particular expertise in local food systems (including community food production, food rescue and food waste management) and understanding the impacts of everyday food interactions on human and planetary health and wellbeing.

Improving nutrition & health outcomes through local food systems seminar is an initiative of the Capital Region Food Collaborative by Regional Development Australia ACT.

Light refreshments will be provided.

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