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The City Food Lecture and the Next Generation

Recognising the importance of developing the next generation of industry leaders, the City Food Lecture has for many years supported and accommodated a selected number of students from the leading agri-food universities. We organise a specific student programme during the day before joining in the main event. This programme has given students the opportunity to meet senior representatives from many of the major food-sector business to experience their operations from an insider’s perspective. 


Sadly, this year the event will not be held in the venerable surroundings of the Guildhall in London due to COVID restrictions but will instead be streamed as a virtual event. This fundamental change has nonetheless enabled us to extend the opportunity to even more students than before and via the virtual platform, provide a brilliant interactive and personalised gathering. We are delighted to be partnering with the Chief Advisors from the National Farmers Union Food and Farming Group who will be hosting the Future Generation Forum session.  The invited students will be given the opportunity to discuss food security and sustainability issues relevant to their areas of expertise which range from combinable crops to environmental change. Philip Hambling, Head of Food & Farming, NFU will lead the session.

National Farmers Union Food and Farming Group

Philip Hambling - Head of Food and Farming

Christine McDowell - Acting Chief Food Chain Advisor

Anthony Hopkins Chief Combinable Crops Adviser

Aimee Mahoney – Chief Poultry Adviser

Lee Abbey - Chief Adviser Horticulture & Potatoes

Catherine McLaughlin – Chief Animal Health and Welfare Adviser

James Osman - Chief Dairy Adviser

Jack Watts – Chief Combinable Crops Adviser

John Royle – Chief Livestock Adviser

Up to ten universities will be attending the new style ’visit’, offering up to 100 students the opportunity to take part in this flagship event alongside 10 of McDonalds ‘Progressive Young Farmers’

Gemma Langley

Bronagh Dempster

Sophie Thompson

Rebecca Hawthorne

A Harper Adams University undergraduate, studying Agriculture BSc . Currently on the dairy placement as a McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer. The uniqueness of this placement programme has meant my agricultural knowledge, surrounding the dairy industry and supply chain, has developed greatly whilst gaining essential practical and business skills.

A degree student studying Agricultural Technology with Professional Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. Currently on the egg placement as a McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer. The programme has given me the opportunity to become immersed in supply chain operations and agricultural activities. The scheme also provides a vital insight into the impressive and extensive supply chain of McDonald’s. 

A student at Queen’s University, Belfast undertaking an Honour’s degree in Agricultural Technology with Professional Studies. Currently, completing the 12-month poultry placement as a McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer. The McDonald’s programme has provided me with an exceptional opportunity to work through all the fundamental stages of their chicken supply chain, from the growing through to the processing of poultry.

A student at Newcastle University doing an undergraduate in Agriculture. I am on the Pork placement for the McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer Programme and have spent the last few months working with one of McDonald’s suppliers on farm. I am now working on a project centred around improving the carbon footprint and sustainability of the pork supply chain.

David Dillon

Cecile Coles

Brian McNaughton

Sarah Howseman

A student at University College Dublin studying towards a BA in Economics and Politics with a keen interest in all things farming. Currently completing the twelve-month beef placement  as part of the McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer Programme. As part of my role, my time is split between getting hands on practical experience on a demonstration farm in County Galway, as well as working on environmental sustainability projects such as aiming to reduce soy in our beef supply chains.

An undergraduate student studying Agriculture and Livestock Science at the University of Nottingham. I am currently undertaking the Beef placement as part of the McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer Programme.  This placement year so far has provided me with experience through the whole beef supply chain from farm to fork.

A student studying Agricultural Technology at Queens University Belfast. I am currently on the dairy placement as part of the McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer Programme. I have just completed a four-and-a-half month stint at the processing site where I learned all about the manufacturing and processing of dairy products. I am now transitioning to County Kerry where I will be working on a 250 cow dairy farm.

A third year degree student studying Agriculture with Crop Management Student at Harper Adams University. Currently on placement with McDonald’s as part of their Progressive Young Farmer Programme working within the potato supply. The programme has given me the opportunity to gain an insight into the McDonald’s supply chain.