Food historian, author and documentary producer to give talk

BELFAST — Food historian Robyn Metcalfe, who recently produced a documentary on Maine’s fishing industry, will shed light on the global food supply in a free Belfast Garden Club lecture Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The one-hour public programme, the final talk in the garden club’s 2022 series, will be streamed live at noon in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street. Those who wish to join from home may register for the Zoom link here or on the programs page of

In her talk, Metcalfe, who is director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, will explore the contours of the food system as it pertains to how we eat now and in the future. She will look at the ways recent changes may reshape the food system and particularly how individuals can play a role making the system more resilient.

When grocery shelves emptied and some foods became scarce during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers were forced to consider the supply chain—food’s complex journey from farm to table.

“We should carefully craft policies and tariffs that allow for a global food system that can adapt when whole regions of food production collapse,” Metcalfe wrote in an MIT Press Reader article in 2020.

An author, researcher, and film producer, Metcalfe was the executive producer of the 2020 documentary The Long Coast, officially described as a “portrait of seafolk and seafood producers along the coast of Maine whose lives and livelihoods are inextricably connected to the ocean.”

Metcalfe’s books include Humans in Our Food (2021); Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating (2019); and Meat, Commerce and the City: The London Food Market, 1800-1855 (2012).

Metcalfe is the founder and former director of Food+City, a nonprofit in Austin, Texas, that supported innovation in the food supply chain. She received her bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of Michigan and master’s and doctoral degrees from Boston University in history, with a concentration in modern European food history.

Founded in 1928, the Belfast Garden Club promotes the knowledge and love of gardening, the protection of native flora and fauna, and the importance of civic beautification. For more information on the club and its programmes, visit

London Herald