Food for thought

Thu, 17 May 2012 12:19:00 +1000

Deakin University Thinker in Residence Professor Martin Caraher recently made an appearance on ABC Radio National's First Bite program.

Professor Caraher was interviewed during his stint with the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (CPAN).

Professor Caraher is professor in food and health policy at Centre for Food Policy at City University, London. He originally trained as an environmental health officer in Dublin. After working in the north west of Ireland he developed an interest in the public health and health promotion aspects of the work. He spent some time working in the Irish and the English health services managing health promotion and public health services respectively.

He has worked extensively on issues related to food poverty, cooking skills, local sustainable food supplies, the role of markets and co-ops in promoting health, farmers markets, food deserts & food access, retail concentration and globalisation.

Current research interests include:

  • The role of local food projects in promoting health
  • Access to food in urban areas
  • The contribution of local food projects to health and wellbeing
  • A review of the planning process in promoting food and health
  • The role of food markets in promoting health and well-being
  • Farmers markets and new selling spaces
  • Food co-operatives and social enterprises
  • Food Banks and welfare policies
  • Cooking skills among young people and the changing nature of food skills and the culinary transition
  • Health literacy including cooking as a key skill
  • Food safety in the household setting - the role of food literacy
  • Urban spaces and policy development
  • Food security and food banks

Recent work has focused on the impact of food advertising on children's food choices and the impact of advertising regulation. In addition he has been developing work in schools and this has included work for the UK Dept of Health, the World Health Organization (Europe) on school feeding programmes in Latvia and for the World Bank on school food in Lesotho. He is working with colleagues in Australia in the Coalition on Food Advertising to Children, sharing ideas and resources. His interests in sustainability come from the perspective of local food chains and the attempts by social enterprises to build sustainability into their work.

He has worked for and acted as a consultant to the UK Dept of Health, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation. He was a trustee of the Caroline Walker trust. He was a member of the original London Food Board which developed the food strategy for London. He was a member of the Olympic Food Group representing public health interests on behalf of public health in the region. He also sat on the South East Food and Public Health Group which developed a food strategy for the SE region and from which the London food strategy emerged. He is currently a member of the safefood Scientific Advisory Committee and an advisor to a number of social science research groups across Europe, as well he is an advisor to the European Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (DG Sanco). He is a member of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) scientific committee.

He has been involved in the following:

  • Bristol food strategy
  • Brighton and Hove food policy
  • Islington Food Policy and Hearty Islington
  • Policy for fast food outlets in Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham, Merseyside and Glasgow
  • Member of the Scottish Food and Drink Policy Group
  • Member of the Scottish Food Research Working Group
  • Advisor to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology on NUTRITIONAL STANDARDS IN UK SCHOOLS
  • Advisor to the Glasgow Centre for Population Health
  • Advisor to the International Federation for Home Economics on global aspects of food policy
  • Chair of the Healthy Communities Collaborative
  • Member of the Olympic Food Group
  • He was the 2008 HealthWays (West Australia) scholar and spent two months in Perth, WA examining issues of access to food and food banks. During this period he worked with local service providers, policy makers and academics.

He regularly reviews for a wide range of journals and organisations ranging from Public Health Nutrition to Social Science and Medicine.

He regularly appears on TV and radio in relation to food issues.


Professor Martin Caraher
Professor Martin Caraher in the ABC Cafe at Southbank in Melbourne after appearing on First Bite's.
Showcase facts
  • Professor Caraher has worked extensively on issues related to food poverty, cooking skills, local sustainable food supplies, the role of markets and co-ops in promoting health, farmers markets, food deserts & food access, retail concentration and globalisation.
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20th August 2012