Welcome speaker

Mairi Gougeon

Mairi Gougeon is the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands in the Scottish Government, with responsibilities for agriculture, fishers and aquaculture, animal welfare, food and drink supply and carbon-neutral islands, among other things.

Mairi Gougeon’s full list or responsibilities and biography.

Keynote speakers

Lotte Holm

Professor Lotte Holm, University of Copenhagen

Lotte Holm has a track record of excellent interdisciplinary research in everyday eating patterns, what remains stable and what changes, how food consumption practices adapt to economic hardships, or are linked to dietary health and obesity

Lotte Holm’s research profile

Professor Geoff Simm

Professor Geoff Simm, University of Edinburgh (replacing Dr van der Burg)

Geoff Simm is Chair of Global Agriculture and Food Security and Director of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems at the University of Edinburgh. The Academy is an interdisciplinary hub of researchers, teachers and students working on food systems for healthy people and a healthy planet.

Geoff’s background is in research, education, industry and policy engagement on sustainable farm animal breeding and sustainable agri-food systems. He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems website 


Simone van der Burg

Dr Simone van der Burg, Wageningen University (cancelled)

We are sorry to report that Dr van Der Burg will be unable to travel to Edinburgh for the conference. Her keynote slot will be covered by Professor Geoff Simm. 

Simone van der Burg is affiliated to Wageningen University and Research as senior researcher and programme leader in ethics and responsible research and innovation. The goal of her research is to contribute to the societal acceptability of innovation, by broadening the reflection of innovators on the societal end ethical impacts it may have during the innovation process. At the moment her projects focus on the exploration of ethical aspects of research and development of IoT, (self-learning) robots and digital twins for farming. Projects include Internet of Food and Farm2020 (IOF2020), Smart Agrihubs and AgROBOfood. She is also co-founder and associate editor of the Journal of Responsible Innovation.

Simone van der Burg’s research profile

Professor Bruce Whitelaw

Professor Bruce Whitelaw, University of Edinburgh

Bruce Whitelaw’s academic career started by working on the then novel idea of producing human pharmaceutical proteins in animal bioreactors. He subsequently held research position at the BBRSC’s Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research, and then Roslin Institute. Currently Bruce is Director of The Roslin Institute and Professor of Animal Biotechnology at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, both University of Edinburgh. Having pioneered the use of lentivirus vectors for transgene delivery, he is currently establishing robust methodology for genome editing in livestock. Bruce actively seeks to apply this technology to develop innovative biotechnological solutions to combat infectious disease in animals and to accelerate development of new treatments of human disease.

Bruce Whitelaw’s research profile

Plenary panellists: Transforming the Food System

Joe Bailey

Joe Bailey, RSPCA Assured

Joe Bailey has been Head of Farming for RSPCA Assured for seven years. RSPCA is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the world’s largest and oldest animal welfare charity established in 1824. RSPCA Assured is the RSPCA’s farm animal welfare and food and labelling scheme. If farmers meet  all the RSPCA standards then the RSPCA Assured label can go on their product. The aim of this scheme is to improve farm animal welfare widely across the industry. RSPCA Assured foods are widely available in UK supermarkets.

Joe has extensive experience in animal welfare and for raising awareness and standards globally. She is a Director of GAWA (Global Animal Welfare Assurance Alliance) and on the Board of One Welfare Phoenix. Among other awards she won ‘Inspiring Communicator’ in 2017 and undertook a Nuffield Scholarship in  2012 studying ‘The Welfare of Man and Beasts’.

David Finlay

David Finlay, The Ethical Dairy

David and Wilma Finlay run the Ethical Dairy in South West Scotland. Theirs is a certified 100% pasture-fed, agro-ecological, PWAB (production without anti-biotic) family farm. They have 130 cross-bred (Swedish Red, Holstein and Montbeliard) dairy cows and produce traditional unpasteurised cheese, and ice cream.  Rather than separating cows and calves within a day of birth as is the industry norm, they have innovatively allowed their dairy cows to rear their calves for 5-6 months. During this time they milk the cows just once a day. Twenty five years of soil organic matter records indicates carbon sequestration well in excess of 5t carbon/ha/yr. They also have a visitor centre which sells their own products, they provide food tourism experiences such as ice cream making workshops, in-depth ‘macro and micro-biology of the farm’ tours and have an extensive network of nature trails for visitors to explore.

Visit the Ethical Dairy website

Anne-Marie Neeteson

Anne-Marie Neeteson, Aviagen Group

Anne-Marie Neeteson, Global Vice President of Welfare, Sustainability & Compliance for Aviagen Group of poultry breeders, has a long term involvement in sustainable livestock breeding and is passionate about the importance of welfare to Aviagen and the future of the global poultry industry. She is chair of the Working Group on Animal Health and Welfare of the International Poultry Council, and she was recently honoured with the British Poultry Council Special Merit Award which recognised her work in promoting the causes of animal welfare and sustainable development at a global level.

Visit the Aviagen website


Photo of Andrew Whitley

Andrew Whitley, Scotland the Bread

Andrew Whitley developed an organic smallholding and artisan bakery in Cumbria in the 1970s. He exposed the deficiencies of industrial loaves in his award-winning book Bread Matters, and was credited with ‘changing the way we think about bread’, going on to co-found the Real Bread Campaign in 2008. From 2010-20 Andrew grew a small organic agroforestry project in the Scottish Borders, began researching historic and evolutionary cereal varieties and challenging the local grain chain’s indifference to public health, climate breakdown and food injustice. In 2016 he founded Scotland The Bread, a community benefit society and charity based in Fife which proposes a Scottish grain and bread supply that is diverse, healthy, equitable, locally-controlled and sustainable. In 2021 his Flour to the People project won the Innovation category in the BBC Food & Farming Awards.

Visit the Scotland the Bread website