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The Food Chain

Podcast The Food Chain

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  • Egg'onomics
    Eggs – a nutritious and affordable source of protein. Or they were. The cost of a box of eggs has been rocketing around the world. And in some places, where it’s long been common to start the day on an egg – supplies are under pressure. In this programme, Ruth Alexander explores the challenges egg producers are facing - including what can be done about the seemingly ever-present threat of avian influenza. She speaks to Amanda Mdodana, a poultry farmer in Mpumalanga, South Africa; Phillip Crawley, a poultry farmer in Leicestershire, UK; Mark Jacob, poultry and egg economist in Arkansas, US; and Professor Munir Iqbal, head of the Avian Influenza Virus group at the Pirbright Institute, UK. If you would like to get in touch with the show, please email: [email protected] (Picture: A chicken standing next to an egg. Credit: Getty/BBC) Producer: Elisabeth Mahy
  • Samuel Ikua: Global Youth Champion 2022
    Samuel Ikua is championing urban farming in his city, Nairobi in Kenya. Samuel undertook an urban farming course in 2015, run by a local NGO called the Mazingira Institute. Seven years later Samuel is the Project Co-ordinator at the Institute, training other members of his community in urban farming skills. In this programme Ruth Alexander hears about the challenges Samuel faces, a lack of space and land, and local attitudes to farming in a big city. Samuel’s commitment to food security in Nairobi saw him chosen by a panel of international judges as the winner of The Food Chain Global Youth Champion Award 2022. If you would like to get in touch with the show, please email: [email protected] Presented by Ruth Alexander. Produced by Beatrice Pickup. Additional reporting by Michael Kaloki in Nairobi. (Image: Sameul Ikua. Credit: Timothy Ivusah/ BBC)
  • Food as rehabilitation
    Food behind bars is not intended to be a Michelin-starred affair. But prison food reformers claim some of it is so bad that it could be hampering the rehabilitation of inmates. Nutritious and tasty meals, they argue, can improve the physical and mental health of those serving prison sentences and therefore cut reoffending rates. And food skills; like cookery, baking and farming, could help in the rehabilitation process too. In this programme, Ruth Alexander speaks to three people with detailed knowledge of food in prison environments to explore the good, the bad and the ugly of eating in incarceration, and the power of food. Ruth speaks to Alex Busansky, head of research centre Impact Justice; Lucy Vincent, founder of the charity Food Behind Bars; and ex-offender, now consultant on prison reform, Sophie Barton-Hawkins. If you would like to get in touch with the show, please email: [email protected] (Picture: Prisoner harvests a cabbage grown on prison land. Credit: Getty/BBC) Producer: Elisabeth Mahy
  • Eating With Our Ears: The Sound of Food
    How does sound influence the way we eat, drink and taste? We discover our hearing makes a bigger contribution to flavour than we think. Mike Johnson explores the concept of 'sonic seasoning' - the idea that different sounds can accentuate the sweetness, bitterness or spiciness of food. Chef Jozef Youssef, founder of the multi-sensory dining experience Kitchen Theory, serves up a musical food experiment, and Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, gives his track recommendations. From the crunch of a crisp to the background music in a restaurant, we examine the science that links our ears and taste buds with a journey into the brain flavour network. Plus, how the food and drink industry is cashing in on the selling power of sound - we speak to branding expert Martin Lindstrom about his painstaking work with some of the world's biggest fizzy drink manufacturers. Also, could the concept of sonic seasoning be used in the battle against diabetes and obesity? (Photo: Apple and headphones. Credit: LdF, Thinkstock. Soundscapes credit: Condiment Junkie)
  • Island diets
    In this programme we explore the realities of island diets. Ruth Alexander hears how diets are changing, and what this means for population health. Indigenous diets were limited to what grew in the native soil or could be raised or caught in the limited space available. Today imported, often processed foods are becoming increasingly popular. We start in the Faroe Islands, in the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and the United Kingdom. Traditionally the Faroese diet is protein heavy, fermented wind dried lamb is a staple and the poor soil makes growing a wide range of vegetables challenging. Reporter Tim Ecott travelled to the Faroe Islands for this programme to report on how diets there have changed. We then look South to the Pacific Islands, starting with the coral atoll nation of Kiribati. The coral ground makes it difficult to grow food to supplement the diet of seafood. Ruth speaks to dietitian and public health nutritionist Dr Libby Swanepoel from the Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research based at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Libby makes the case for seaweed cultivation to supplement diets and incomes. In contrast the nation of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean has volcanic soils, and an array of fruit and vegetables can be grown. Despite this communities have increasingly turned to imported processed foods, contributing to a health crisis. Sashi Kiran, founder of FRIEND Fiji - the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development – talks about how this can be addressed. Presented by Ruth Alexander. Produced by Beatrice Pickup. (Image: part of the Kiribati island nation, palm tree covered island surrounded by blue sea. Credit: Getty/BBC)

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