Farm-to-fork food resilience

Conference on sustainable futures in the curry house trade

Aston University, Birmingham

9:30am 7th September 2022


Our Commissioner Sue Pritchard will be speaking at a conference hosted at Aston University in Birmingham.

Curry houses are a much-loved feature of the UK’s hospitality sector. But Bangladeshi business owners are facing challenges that often feel insurmountable. Up until recent years, their trade has provided a modicum of security for a community that faces multiple disadvantages. Urgent action is required if this much-loved British institution is to survive.

This landmark conference – co-designed and organised by Bangladeshi business owners, public agencies, and research organisations – sets the scene, highlighting the challenges facing the sector and changing nature of competition, alongside inspiring examples of innovation and strength in the face of multiple moments of national/global crisis.

Speakers include a range of Bangladeshi restaurateurs and:

  • Sue Pritchard, Chief Executive, Food Farming and Countryside Commission
  • Ian McLaughlan, Director, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP)
  • Sarah Pullen, Food System Lead, Birmingham City Council
  • Johur Uddin, Director, Skills Link
  • Monder Ram, Director, Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME)
  • Tim Butcher, Chief Economist and Deputy Secretary, Low Pay Commission
  • Dr Imelda McCarthy, Senior Research Fellow, CREME

The aim is to foster the development of sustainable business models through bringing a broad base of stakeholders into the conversation. We will be:

  • Hearing directly from Bangladeshi business owners on the challenges they face and their responses to times of crisis.
  • Working together on ways for Bangladeshi caterers to develop stronger businesses that are financially viable, ethical, and environmentally conscious, with the structural backing to support.
  • Locating this community’s specific challenges in the context of global challenges facing the food system – and hearing their ideas for addressing them.


09:30-09:45: Opening and Welcome Speeches

09:45-10:45: Session 1 Setting the scene

10:45-11:00: Break

11:00-12:00: Session 2 Lived experience: Moments of breakdown

12:00-13:00 - Lunch Break

13:30-14:30: Session 3 Lived experience: Creative responses to times of crises

14:30-14:45 - Break

14:45-15:45: Session 4 Together we are stronger

15:45-16:00: Closing reflections

Organisers – Bangladeshi caterers themselves will organise this event, supported by the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME) at Aston University, Birmingham City Council, the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, and the Low Pay Commission.