Plenary Session 1 Speakers


Dr Rachel Marshall (Chair)

N8 AgriFood Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Lancaster University

Rachel Marshall is an N8 AgriFood knowledge exchange fellow developing sustainable food systems research and collaborations. She is particularly interested in developing meaningful engagement between academic institutions and stakeholders, at both local and national levels, to support the transition to more sustainable and resilient food systems. She is currently providing knowledge exchange expertise to projects spanning the food system from soil health and farmer knowledge to urban sustainable food chains to the circular economy of nutrients.


Professor Tim Hess

Professor of Water and Food Systems at the Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University

Tim Hess is Professor of Water and Food Systems at the Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, UK. He has an internationally distinguished research profile on water-related risk and water footprinting in agrifood systems built around a strong track-record of research on the relationship between agriculture, food production and the water. He is recognised as an interdisciplinary research scientist, bringing together areas of natural and social sciences to address real-world problems associated with agrifood systems. Recently, his work has focused on the field of water footprinting and water-related risk, particularly in the agriculture, food and beverage sector. He is leading the UK GFS project ‘Increasing resilience to water-related risk in the UK fresh fruit & vegetable system’. He has worked on several projects considering; the contribution of water footprinting to national food policy; benchmarking irrigation water use amongst farmers and growers; and evaluating new technologies for agricultural water management. He represented the UK on the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Expert Group on Water Footprinting and was co-author of the International Standard (ISO14046) and an editor for the supporting technical report (ISO/TR14073). He is a member of the Water Footprinting Technical Advisory Group for the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance partnership of the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO).


Dr Ben Neimark

Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University

Benjamin Neimark is a Senior Lecturer at the Lancaster Environment Centre; Lancaster University, UK, and an Associate Researcher at ESPOL.

He is a human geographer and political ecologist (defined as the intersections of ecology and a broadly defined political economy) whose research focuses on politics of biological conservation and resource extraction (bio-/green economy), high-value commodity chains, smallholder production, agrarian change and development. Although he has a geographic focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, his research also focuses on the US military as a global climate actor.

Ben teaches on a wide array of subjects from global food politics, sustainable development, to human geography theory. He leads a field course in Paris on ‘globalizing food,’ and a seminal course on geographies of environment and development. Ben is also provides instrumental training on applied research methods at the Master’s and PhD level.

Ben has a PhD form Rutgers University and a Master’s from Cornell University. He is an Associate Director for Engagement at the Pentland Centre for Sustainable Business and formally a fellow at the Institute of Social Futures (ISF), Lancaster University. He is part of the Political Ecology Research Group and leads the Secretariat for the International Political Ecology Network (POLLEN).


Professor Jane K Hill

Resilient Ecosystems Research Theme Leader, York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI)

Jane’s research examines the impacts of climate change and habitat loss on biodiversity, and explores ways of designing more resilient landscapes that produce food (e.g. palm oil) whilst reducing biodiversity losses. Jane is a trustee of the SE Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP), and a trustee and member of Council of the British Ecological Society. She received a Marsh/ZSL Award for Conservation Biology in 2011 and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.