31. Jack Bobo, University of Nottingham Food Systems Institute

Jack Bobo is the Director of the University of Nottingham’s Food Systems Institute which brings together transdisciplinary researchers to address some of the most pressing food systems challenges. He is also the author of the 2021 book “Why smart people make bad food choices.” In this episode, Jack shares how breaking down silos can foster collaboration, why reframing your thinking can help navigate tradeoffs, and how small shifts in language can impact people’s perceptions.

Jack Bobo: “I believe less in right and wrong and good and bad, and more in thinking in terms of choices and consequences. And if you can help to lay out the consequences of actions, I think in many ways you can lead people to knowledge instead of sort of beating them up with science. Researchers and academics love to tell people what to do and they like to tell them the answer. I think it's much better to be able to help people to understand the consequences of different choices. And then you may end up getting a different outcome, but at least they understand the consequences of it and it's an informed decision.”

00:00 Intro to Jack
01:14 Overview of the University of Nottingham’s Food Systems Institute
03:44 Taking a systems approach to lead global change 
05:18 Why consensus is important for problem solving
06:45 Addressing the “language barrier” in food systems solutions
08:38 How shifting from “should” to “could” focuses on opportunities and solutions 
11:40 Leading people to knowledge by framing the consequences of choices
13:56 Building trust by understanding confirmation bias and the misleading nature of our brains
17:38 The paradox of improved nutrition research and rising obesity rates
20:00 How to overcome the invisible influences on food choices 
23:14 Changing the food system by focusing on social norms
25:51 The importance of word choice for effective change making
27:59 Why networking and storytelling are life skills
29:39 Balancing the continuum of local vs. global sustainability 
31:37 Takeaways for changemakers


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*The views expressed by the guests in this podcast don't necessarily represent the host’s views, nor those of his employer.

31. Jack Bobo, University of Nottingham Food Systems Institute
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