What’s on the menu for Brain Food this year?

Brain Foods are like a mini TED-style-talks, designed to address some of most challenging questions we face when it comes to food.

What’s the most sustainable way to farm, package, transport, and consume? How can we make the most of our soil (in)fertility, and which mushrooms can be used to support memory, sleep, or even combat cancer? 

In a series of events aimed to provoke thought and discussion, we want to invite you to come and learn, to challenge your own views and the views of others, and come away with a little more food for thought.

The Environment

Let’s Talk About Palm Oil with Katie Major – Brain Snack

Palm Oil gets a bad rep, with most of us linking it to mass deforestation and the destruction of homes for thousands of orangutans. But how accurate is our perception, and is there space on the supermarket shelves for sustainable palm oil?

Face Your Waste! Practical Tips for Reducing Your Environmental Impact by Being More Mindful About the Waste You Create – Brain Snack

Livvy Drake is a sustainability and behaviour change consultant who hosts an annual Lent Plastic Challenge. She is the super guru of consulting your waste bin and reducing waste, finding solutions, and changing simple behaviours that create binbag’s worth of differences. If you’re concerned about the amount of waste your household or workplace is creating, this one is for you.

This will cover plastics, food waste and the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra. 

How do we Scale Up Local Food Production? Brain Feast

Eating locally means living greener. Food travels less distance, our diet becomes fresher and more varied, and in time with the seasons. It’s also much fairer to the farmers, and boosts the economy in your local community. At a time when we feel more than ever in need of better food systems, how can we create a structure to support access to better local produce.

Future Food: Fads, Foods, and Interventions to Feed the Future – Brain Feast 

We are in a climate emergency. How we feed the swelling population is perhaps one of the most critical questions we can ask, with population levels set to rise before 2050. This Brain Feast brings together experts who have founded their career on food and sustainability so that we can imagine what it will take to grow, farm, produce and feed our future world.

Nature Connection and Re-wilding: A Solution to Eating Well – Brain Feast

With Re-Wilding Britain calling for a quarter of UK’s land be brought back to nature in order to counterbalance climate change, how does taking a step closer to nature impact our food choices, the ingredients we gather, and appreciate the overall meal? 

Health and Wellbeing

Eating with Food Intolerances – Discover Practical Solutions for Beating Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities – Brain Snack

Using food wrongly can be like putting the wrong fuel into a high-performance sports car: the engine won’t perform properly. Whether you have a ‘food baby’ after lunch or have to navigate your day around toilet stops, food intolerances could be the cause.

In this Brain Snack, College of Naturopathic Medicine and registered nutritional therapist and author Helen Adams will help you recognise food intolerances you didn’t even know that you had, and how to manage them.

Medicinal Mushrooms with Mycotherpist Linda Sims – Brain Snack

The natural properties of fruit and vegetables has long been understood by humans, though in Western civilisation has been easily forgotten. In this talk with Linda Sims, you will learn about how our prehistoric tendencies have been brought back into modern day with extensive research, and identification of their bioactive healing compounds. From the ordinary button mushroom to the exotic reshi, these fungi could be our greatest medicine.

Food for Thought: The Gut-Brain Connections with Dr Caroline Gilmartin

Ever had a ‘gut-feeling’? Or ‘butterflies in your stomach’? Far more than a turn of phrase, Dr Caroline Gilmartin has spent her background in microbiology and genetics exploring the very real conversations the gut has with the brain. In this Brain Snack, Dr Caroline will share how the gut brain-axis helps determine your personality, mental health, and even how hungry you feel.

Culture and Society

Tale of Two Cities: Food Wealth and Poverty in Bristol – A Debate, Conversation, and Dinner. 

Not technically part of the Brain Food series, but we thought we’d sneak this one in to share the event happening to address the topic of Bristol’s food poverty crisis. This event is ticketed separately, with a £5 debate on the causes, barriers, issues, and the sometimes paradoxical means of approaching them, before a £35 dinner prepared and delivered by a team of chefs working in partnership with the No Child Goes Hungry project and FareShare South West.

Cultural Heritage and Identity Through Food – Brain Feast

Can we truly express our true selves through what we eat? What does food mean to our genetic make-up, the way we show ourselves, and our history? Thinking of food beyond fuel, this panel will explore food as an intrinsic instrument of our being.

Brain Food takes place in our Festival Hub of Colston Hall over the first few days of the Food Connections.

For a full list of Brain Food sessions, take a look at our listings.

Bringing people and good food together