About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

This event took place on Tuesday 6 June. You can watch the recording below.

The way in which we produce food is having profound impacts on the earth’s climate, biodiversity and ecosystems. And unhealthy diets aren’t just harming the environment, they are affecting our own physical wellbeing too. How can policymakers square the competing demands of sustainability, price and nutrition?

Thomasina Miers urges us to kickstart the shift to regenerative farming by increasing the proportion of publicly procured ingredients for schools and hospitals grown through regenerative means. In conversation with Alan Rusbridger, Editor of Prospect Magazine, Thomasina joined us to dive deeper into the role of regenerative farming and its potential to improve the nation’s health while providing an effective response to climate change.

Thomasina and Alan discussed this bold proposal alongside Tara Garnett, Director of TABLE, and Tom Martin, farmer and Prospect columnist, to explore opportunities and challenges and confront hard questions.

Want to find out what our attendees and speakers thought of our event? Watch back our highlights reel on Twitter or LinkedIn.

The opinions expressed in this event recording are those of the speaker. For more information, view our full statement on external contributors.



Thomasina Miers

Cook, writer, presenter and winner of MasterChef, Thomasina Miers co-founded Wahaca in 2007, winner of numerous awards for its food and sustainability credentials. In 2016 the whole restaurant group went carbon neutral and half of its menu is vegetarian. Thomasina’s passion lies in food and its power to positively impact people, health (both mental and physical) and the environment. She was a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2009, helped set up Chefs in Schools in 2017, for which she is a trustee and was awarded an OBE in 2019 for her services to the food industry.


Alan Rusbridger

Alan Rusbridger is editor of Prospect Magazine. Previously he was editor-in-chief of The Guardian from 1995 to 2015 and then Principal of Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford until 2021. He also chairs the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and sits on the Facebook Oversight Board. During his time at the Guardian, both he and the paper won numerous awards, including the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Journalism. The Guardian grew from a printed paper with a circulation of 400,000 to a leading digital news organisation with 150m browsers a month around the world. He launched now-profitable editions in Australia and the US as well as a membership scheme which now has 1m Guardian readers paying for content. He was born in Zambia, was educated at Cambridge and lives in London. He is the co-author of the BBC drama, Fields of Gold. He is a keen amateur musician and the author of Play it Again. His memoir of journalism and its future, Breaking News, was published in 2018. His latest book, News and How to Use it, was published in 2020.


Tom Martin

Tom Martin is passionate about sharing what happens ‘behind the farm gate’, which has led him to become involved in the CLA, NFU, LEAF, and East of England Agricultural Society, as well as writing monthly in local publications and hosting a well-supported presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as ‘Farmer Tom’. In 2017 he launched ‘Farmer Time’ (formerly called ‘FaceTime a Farmer’) which pairs farmers with school classes; currently over 10,000 school children video call to their paired farmer every fortnight to link curriculum learning with life on the farm.

Tara Garnett

Dr Tara Garnett

Tara is a researcher at the University of Oxford and the Director of TABLE, a platform for dialogue and debate on the future of food. Food sits at the heart of interconnected crises, from climate change and biodiversity loss, to malnutrition, poverty and injustice. Urgent action is needed. At TABLE, we believe that progress on these problems will only be possible if we can talk openly about our hopes and fears, our values, and the scientific evidence underlying our proposed solutions. We explore the data, biases and beliefs underlying food-systems debates in order to provide stakeholders with the tools for better dialogue. Tara is based at the Environmental Change Institute in the School of Geography and the Environment, is a fellow of the Oxford Martin School and is co-investigator on the Wellcome Trust-funded Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) project.