Food Sustainability Media Award winners gather in London for reporting workshop

by Madeleine Drury
Thursday, 5 July 2018 10:49 GMT

Participants in the five-day workshop pose for a photo outside Thomson Reuters Foundation headquarters in Canary Wharf. London, July 4 2018. Cormac O'Brien / Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Winners and finalists of the 2017 Food Sustainability Media Award’s (FSMA) unpublished text, photography and video categories gathered in London this week to participate in a five-day reporting workshop. The workshop explores the paradox of hunger and starvation in a world struggling with waste and obesity, and the practice of using food to fatten livestock or produce fuel.

Participants from Italy, Kenya, the US, India, Brazil, Israel and the UK are covering a range of concepts from agro-ecology and cardiovascular disease, to genetics and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. 

Leading the workshop are journalist Jo Winterbottom, Research Programme Manager for the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition Marta Antonelli, and media consultant and journalism trainer Nicholas Phythian. 

“We’ve talked with academics in Oxford, we’ve explored investigative journalism, we’ve started on data journalism using the Barilla Center’s Food Sustainability Index, and it’s only day three,” said Nicholas Phythian. “The people in the room bring as much to the workshop as the trainers working with them do.”

“When I was little and growing up in a big city, I didn’t know where my food came from,” said Merin Porter from the USA, winner of the FSMA Best of the Web category. “I want my kids to know where their food comes from.”

The Food Sustainability Media Award is cooking up a storm. Now in its second year, the partnership between the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition aims to recognise the work of professional journalists and emerging talent from all over the world for excellence in reporting and communicating issues related to food security, sustainability, agriculture and nutrition. 

“The assignment changed my life and was very stimulating for me,” said Matheus Sborgia, co-finalist in the unpublished video category. His film, ‘The People in the Shadows’, showcases the small scale farmers, producers and consumers behind the food we eat.

With just under 500 entries, the process of selecting winners was a difficult one, explained Laurie Goering, climate editor for the Thomson Reuters Foundation and FSMA judge. “We weren’t looking for something dry and academic,” she added.

“Issues surrounding food sustainability should be of great importance to all reporters as climate change grips our world, but they often don’t realise how core these issues are to a lot of other topics they cover. We all buy food, eat food, and we should know about these kinds of issues. It’s going to get more important in the years to come.”

For more information about the Food Sustainability Award, visit