Viola King Forbes


As a Geographer, I’m used to sitting between worlds. Growing up, I always found it hard to choose which subject I was most interested in, and always had lots of hobbies from sports and hiking, to filmmaking and art. It always baffled me that a love of nature and activity, and a love of culture seemed to sit at opposite ends of some sort of non-existent spectrum for some. Food, for me, became a platform for challenging this outdated Cartesian binary as an area where national identity, personal stories, artistry and innovation could be met with concerns around health, biodiversity, technology and climate change. It is an area that never ceases to interest or excite me, be it making patisserie, or considering the wicked problem of our unsustainable food system.



During my undergraduate Geography degree at Oxford, I became interested in sustainable food systems and the research-policy nexus. My undergraduate research looked at farmers’ experiences of changing their production practices but because of the pandemic, I had to carry out my research remotely. Feeling the lack of tangible experience, I worked on a farm the following autumn to gain some practical experience in the field (no pun intended).

This experience, combined with my wider concern for the state of our environment and our planetary future means I both care about how to improve global agriculture, but also am truly interested in the individual human stories that are often missed when working on interconnected, global problems. Hence, I am particularly interested in Anthropocene narratives, and how our food system reflects our relationship with our environment.


  • Coordinator, HESTIA FST Project, University of Oxford
  • Coordinator, LEAP Project, University of Oxford
  • Manager, Future of Food Network, University of Oxford
  • Organic Farmworker
  • Strategist, Inaugural Oxford Climate Alumni Network Team


  • Incoming MPhil student, Anthropocene Studies, University of Cambridge
  • BA (Hons) Geography, University of Oxford


Young woman with long fair hair, smiling. head and shoulders only