This event happened in the past (2019 edition)

Balloon Debate: Can Veganism Save the Planet?

This is an event from the 2019 edition

A fun, fierce and fascinating evening of debate on one of the inflammatory questions of our time: will veganism save the planet? Six players are floating above Norwich in a punctured hot air balloon, which is sinking fast. By sheer wit, eloquence and mastery of the chosen topic, they must persuade you, the mob, that they should remain in the balloon and not be ejected to save height. Who will survive? The answer is in your hands. So, pay attention, listen hard and be on guard for added jeopardy. With green campaigner Rupert Read, restauranteur Loui Blake, Simon Fairlie (author of Meat: A Benign Extravagance), Hodmedod’s founder Josiah Meldrum, Rebecca Mayhew of Old Hall Farm, Prof Tim Jickells of UEA, and chaired by Lucy Farrant.

About Rupert Read

Rupert Read is a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. He is author of seven books on a range of subjects and specialises particularly in Wittgenstein, philosophy of film, and environmental philosophy. Rupert previously chaired the Green House think tank, and is a former Green Party of England and Wales councillor, spokesperson, European parliamentary candidate and national parliamentary candidate. Recently Rupert has become a spokesperson for the Extinction Rebellion protest movement. This has included debates with government ministers and backbenchers on national television and radio; as well as meetings with senior politicians from across the political spectrum.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

About Loui Blake

Loui BlakeLoui Blake is an award-winning marketer & entrepreneur, founder of the UK’s largest plant-based restaurant Erpingham House, and London restaurant group Kalifornia Kitchen.

He is an international public speaker & passionate advocate of a vegan lifestyle, speaking on the topics of veganism & entrepreneurship.


Website | Twitter | Instagram


About Rebecca Mayhew

Rebecca MayhewRebecca worked for 10 years as a rural Chartered Surveyor, but now works with her husband on the family’s farm in south Norfolk. The farm is being transformed from intensive arable and indoor pigs to a cow with calf dairy with Jersey cows, rare breed beef cattle and pigs. The arable land is being put down to species rich pasture, and plans for silviculture are in the offing! The farm also offers a farm shop, butchery and café and the main ethos is about encouraging people to reconnect with food production and agriculture.


About Josiah Meldrum

Josiah Meldrum is a co-founder of Hodmedod, a Suffolk company whose aim is to encourage us to grow and eat a wider range of pulses, grains and seeds. Hodmedod grew out of the Norwich Resilient Food Project which asked whether the city could feed itself from its hinterland and, if so, how diets and farming might need to change. The answer was yes, but only with a greater diversity of crops on farms and on plates; Hodmedod was established in 2012 to demonstrate how that could happen with arable production and now works with a network of UK farms.

Hodmedod website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


About Prof Tim Jickells

Tim JickellsProfessor Tim Jickells is an Emeritus Professor of environmental science at the University of East Anglia.

His research and teaching focusses on the way carbon and nitrogen cycle on the planet, how this is affected by human activity and the consequences for the Earth system.



About Simon Fairlie

Simon Fairlie worked for 20 years variously as an agricultural labourer, vineworker, shepherd, builder and stonemason before being ensnared by the computer in 1990. He was a co-editor of The Ecologist magazine for four years, before joining a community farm in 1994 where he managed the cows, pigs and a working horse for ten years. He is now a co-editor of The Land magazine, runs a micro dairy in Dorset, and imports scythes from Austria. He is the author of Meat: A Benign Extravagance (Permanent Publications 2010).


Sunday 27 October
Venure: Norwich Arts Centre
Cost: Pay What You Can Afford £4 concessions / £6 / £9 / £12
Age: 14+
Book: / 660352