DR. TARA GARNETT, LAUREATE OF THE PREMIO DANIEL CARASSO 2015
The Premio Daniel Carasso 2015 is awarded to Dr. Tara Garnett, a British researcher at the renowned University of Oxford, for her various works on sustainable food. She is particularly distinguished for her thorough research on the contribution of food systems on greenhouse gas emissions, and the scope for emissions reduction through the adoption of sustainable diets.
Tara Garnett also initiated and leads the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN), an interdisciplinary and intersectoral global network bringing together 1,500 members from 70 countries around the world. The FCRN offers to the different stakeholders the conditions to communicate and build mutual understanding of food systems, in order to find common solutions to their environmental impact.
“We must not take food for granted. Food connects us to the planet, it connects us to other people in countries both near and far, and it is such an important aspect of our lives. If we are going to have a future on this planet that is better for our children and for other species, we have to address the sustainability of our food systems.” Tara Garnett
THE ATYPICAL CURRICULUM OF A FOOD PASSIONATE
Tara Garnett started her higher education with a first class degree in English literature. An atypical career beginning in her area of expertise but that she does not regret.
Then, wanting to do something more concrete, she obtained her Masters in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. After she finished studying, she committed time to an NGO in India, in the region of Rajasthan, determined to help people and to make a positive change to the world.
Interested by food and the links it has with health and the environment, Tara Garnett returned to the United Kingdom and worked as a volunteer for a local food-related NGO, the National Food Alliance now “Sustain”. Here, she secured funding (and a job) to work on a project to highlight the benefits of urban food growing as a means to improve people’s health while also protecting the environment. After that, she moved to another NGO, Transport 2000 now “Campaign for Better Transport”, where she worked on food issues from a transport perspective.
Tara Garnett’s career took a decisive turn in 2003, when she came across studies that confirmed the significant impact of our food systems on the environment. Until then, investigations had mostly focused on food transportation’s greenhouse gas emissions – the ‘food miles’ issue – and had paid very little attention to other emission sources, especially the food production stage and the importance of livestock in particular. “So I had the idea to create an organization that would bring together a range of food stakeholders to improve understanding of food’s impacts and to share ideas as to how these could be reduced.” This is how the Food Climate Research Network was born in 2005.
While working full time on the Food Climate Research Network, she also worked part time on her PhD in food systems, and was awarded this in 2013 from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom. She still runs the Food Climate Research Network and also leads research at the James Martin Institute, also at the University of Oxford.