Session 4 Speakers


Dr Jess Davies (Chair)

Senior Lecturer in Sustainability, Lancaster University

Jess is a control systems engineer and environmental scientist who is fascinated by the complexity of our natural world and our relationship with it as a society. These aspects come together in her research where she develops computer models of the environment to help make sense of this complexity, and works with corporations and policy makers to embed science into sustainable decision-making.

Jess joined the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business as a lecturer in sustainability in 2015. In 2016 she was awarded an EPSRC Living with Environmental Change Early Career Fellowship.


Dr Megan Blake

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, The University of Sheffield

Megan Blake is a recognised expert in food security and food justice. She is a Sr. Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. She has an established international reputation for her research focusing on 3 intersecting strands: 1) Surplus food chains and practices of redistribution 2) Community organisations, social innovation and self-organisation, and practices of resilience 3) Social inequalities. Her work is underpinned by a practice-based theoretical approach. She works closely with local and national scale organisations and local authorities to achieve research impacts that make real change. She is actively involved in public dissemination and has organised and facilitated a number of community engagement events and conferences, has been an invited commentator on national and international TV and radio programmes, and has published in and been quoted by national and international press.

She is the creator of Food Ladders, which is a multi-scaled and asset-based approach that uses food to increase everyday food security, connect communities and increase local resilience by reducing vulnerability. Her film, More than just food, illustrates the ways in which community-based food ladders can change places.


Leon Ballin

Network Manager, Sustainable Food Cities

Leon Ballin has been enabling sustainable food activity for over 10 years. He is the Network Manager for Sustainable Food Cities taking a place-based, cross-sector & whole food system approach to food policy. Previously he has worked as a Senior Programme Manager at Soil Association Food for Life and delivered the East Midlands programme of Sustain’s Food Coops programme. After graduating from City University with a Food Policy MSc Leon was chair of the arts & food activist organisation Grow Sheffield which developed the now UK wide Abundance initiative.


Jack Farmer

Co-founder & Director, LettUs Grow

Jack Farmer is the Co-Founder and Director of LettUs Grow, a start-up using innovative aeroponic technology to design the next-generation of indoor farms. Their mission is to reduce the waste and carbon footprint of fresh produce by empowering anyone to grow delicious food near its point of consumption. He’s a passionate advocate for the use of social enterprise, policy and a circular economy to bring about a more sustainable future. Jack specialises in controlled environment agriculture and its ability to reduce agricultural pressures upon natural ecosystems.