Press release

Wellcome Trust launches The Crunch

The Crunch, a new Wellcome Trust initiative to get the nation talking about our food, our health and our planet, launched last night.

The year of free activities, experiences and discussions will inspire people to think about our relationships with food and consider how what we eat connects to our wellbeing and the environment. It will give everyone, from school children to farmers to families, the chance to discover cutting-edge research and to have their say on how we can create a recipe for a happier, healthier future.

The Crunch was created by the Wellcome Trust and will be delivered through schools, science centres and other networks around the UK who will run events in their local areas.

Activities will include:

  • every primary, secondary school and college in the UK will receive a free resource kit containing lesson notes, science equipment and short plays from Easter 2016
  • key science centres across the UK will be facilitating interactive food and drink experiences for families, aiming to reach over 100,000 people. This will be accompanied by a new digital game 'Hungry City'
  • 'Chew it over', free interactive workshops for adults combining theatre and in-depth discussion, will tour the country performing and creating provocative new drama based on the opinions and contribution of the audience
  • working with BBC micro:bit The Crunch will ask Year Seven students to share their behaviours and opinions on food, health and the planet using a pocket-sized codeable computer.

Food has a major impact on our wellbeing; on a global scale, through its contribution to trends such as climate change and deforestation, and at a household level, through its effects on our bodies. But it is not always easy to understand how these global and local issues intertwine. To help make global concerns relevant at a local level, the Wellcome Trust has enlisted a network of over 500 'ambassadors' who will bring The Crunch to their own local communities. This diverse group of volunteers including chefs, researchers, farmers and health practitioners will draw on their own experience and passion to take conversations about food to class rooms, work places, town halls and living rooms up and down the country.

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society at the Wellcome Trust, commented: "We know how important the food we eat is for our own wellbeing, but it's easy to overlook the impact it has on our long-term health and the health of the planet. We are committed to improving our understanding of the connections between food, health and the environment. That means investing in research and working with policy makers and industry to support evidence-based change, but equally important is exploring what these issues mean for us all in our day-to-day lives. Through The Crunch, we will empower people across the UK to learn more about how global issues impact on them and their local communities, and encourage conversations about our food, our planet and our health."

Activities for families and adults will begin in May 2016. All of the events created by The Crunch are free and open to everyone.

The Crunch is part of a broader programme of work by the Wellcome Trust announced in 2015 which aims to improve understanding of the links between environment and health and support evidence-based policies and practice that will protect people and the planet.

For more information go to The Crunch.