Written by Cameron Stacey

This April, Spring General Assembly comes to Newcastle! As well as providing a chance for Medsin members across the country to come together and have their say on the direction of the network, we’ve put together a series of workshops, talks and a great social for the Saturday, which I’m really excited to be able to tell you about here!

The theme of the weekend will be Food For Thought – an exploration of the complicated and fascinating relationship between food and health, both locally and globally. At Newcastle we’re so interested and passionate about this. It’s an issue that connects us all – everyone loves to eat! – and we’re bombarded with conflicting information about what’s the right way to eat for us and the planet. Making these decisions every day is inescapable, so it’s important to stay informed about how our choices can influence the health of ourselves and others. We hope to use this weekend to inspire and educate around this area, whilst having fun and enjoying some delicious and ethical food ourselves!

There’s so much great content lined up for Saturday’s streams, to explore the issues from a range of perspectives. We are so excited to have Professor Roy Taylor (as seen on the Hairy Bikers), who will be discussing his pioneering research into a low calorie diet that reverses the pathology of type 2 diabetes. I personally can’t wait for Dr Liz Evans’ workshop exploring the complex relationship between the media, body image and eating behaviours. We’ll also have the fantastic Healthy Planet giving a workshop on climate change and food, and the renowned bioethicist Jan Deckers exploring the ethics of animal product consumption. We’ll also be inspired by local social enterprises that use food to engage with communities, such as Food Nation and the Real Junk Food Project. And we’ve structured the weekend so that everybody attending can come to every workshop – no difficult decisions for you!

Naturally a weekend about food wouldn’t be complete without some fantastic meals. We’ll all see how food can be used for good on Saturday, where our lunch will be provided by Crisis Café Newcastle – an inspirational social enterprise who provide a route into work for homeless people and ex-offenders.

We’re very excited for our Saturday social too! After the final talk of the day, there’ll be a walking tour available for those who are keen to have a look round the Toon, taking in sights like Grey’s Monument and the famous bridges down at Quayside. We’ll all meet again at Blackfriar’s Cinema – an independent cinema in the trendy Ouseburn area – for a screening of I, Daniel Blake. Aptly set in Newcastle, the film is definitely worth its hype and beautifully looks at lots of the issues we’ll have explored that day. In the cinema, there’ll be fantastic food provided by Harissa, a local Mediterranean restaurant who invest their profits into community projects. And after the film, Ouseburn is crawling with great bars, and there’s always the option of the famous Geordie night out for those who are so inclined!

I hope you’re as excited for the weekend as we are here in Newcastle. You can buy tickets here with discounts available for distant branches, or keep updated by joining our Facebook event!

 See you soon.

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