Waste Not, Want Not: Food and Thrift from Early Modernity to the Present

Thursday 12th and Friday 13th September 2019 University of Cambridge

Click here to view the programme.


This day-and-a-half conference brought together academics and professionals from the interdisciplinary field of food studies and food sustainability research to reflect on attitudes towards food preservation and food waste from early modernity to the present. The title reflects an ongoing historiographical effort to better understand consuming behaviours through time. Topics included food preservation, food rationing, the management of food waste or efforts to reduce it, as well as its moral, religious, and political implications. The programme was also designed to open up a dialogue between scholars of the past and policy makers, and served as a platform for the discussion of more sustainable food practices in the present and future.

Keynote Speakers

Dept of Science & Technology Studies, University College London Folger Institute, Washington

This conference was generously funded by Cambridge AHRC DTP. Organised by: Eleanor Barnett, Katrina Moseley, Philippa Carter, Lucy Havard, and Kylie Chiu Yee Lui


The Conference took place at the Faculty of English, on the Sidgwick Site, University of Cambridge

We are grateful to Christ’s College for providing discounted accommodation to delegates.


Tea/coffee, snacks, and lunch were provided on both days. We have took steps to remove single use plastics, and to provide sustainable food options. For this reason we served vegetarian food. For more information on the University’s sustainable food policy see here. [Incidentally, this has recently reached the news: https://www.cam.ac.uk/news/removing-beef-and-lamb-from-menu-dramatically-reduces-food-related-carbon-emissions-at-cambridge]

A wine reception was provided at the end of the first day, at St John’s College.