Jack is an MSc Food Policy student.
What motivated you to pursue postgraduate study?
I grew up in a farming household, but I was never particularly encouraged to pursue agriculture.
However, while I was working abroad, I was challenged about what sort of farming my family did and how that related to the big challenges of our time, including climate change.
It was confronting but it made me think more deeply about food and farming.
These discoveries of the negative implications of conventional farming drove me to undertake the MSc Food Policy programme, providing an academic rigor to my curiosity.
This wide-ranging course located my family farm into a wider system and led me to understand the historic and economic drivers behind their production systems, creating a more productive space for debate with family and friends, as well as providing a foundation of knowledge for my work.
Why did you choose to study this course at City?
I chose City for the course, its reputation and its lecturers.
The course was exactly what I was looking for - a systems approach to food, farming, exploring the history and policy of why the food system is as it is. Tim Lang, the professor, is a legend within the sector and being taught by him, was a motivating factor.
Many people I admired who worked in the sphere had done this course and it came highly recommended.
What has been your favourite module on the course so far?
The political economy of food was my favourite module where we really dived into the vested interests and who benefits from the food system status quo, despite the huge negative externalities in terms of equity, our health and the environment.
Studying this with the expert guidance of the lecturers was a pleasure and fascinating. It taught me so much about my own family's context and it led me to understand that they were a victim of an exploitative food system that prioritises accumulating resources.
What opportunities have you had as part of your course so far?
As a journalist, my tutor has been very generous in connecting me to her contacts in the sector and one of these has become my mentor and they have provided excellent guidance and advice.
In general, this course has been excellent for networking in the industry.
Unfortunately, I was unable to take advantage of the clubs and societies offered by City, but I frequently used the library facilities, an excellent resource in the centre of London.
What are your career plans?
My current career plans are to continue working as a specialist freelance food and farming journalist in the meantime.
However, I am on the lookout for a full-time role within a small but growing sustainable food brand, as I would like to be part of a team building project.
City has prepared me for this by providing many contacts and sources for my journalism and knowledge of the food system that lets me see past the surface level.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue postgraduate study?
My advice would be to think about what you want to get out of the postgraduate degree as the course is quite flexible and suits those with a particular objective and interest - all while learning how other areas and unintended impacts might affect it.
Also, especially for those considering doing the course part-time alongside employment, bear in mind that you will need more time around the assignments.