Ten Questions with Spike Mendelsohn, Chairman of the D.C. Food Policy Council

Ten Questions with Spike Mendelsohn, Chairman of the D.C. Food Policy Council
Staff Writer
From foodtank.com, by Lani Furbank

Food Tank, in partnership with American University, is hosting the 2nd Annual Food Tank Summit in Washington, D.C. on April 20–21, 2016. 

This two-day event will feature more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policymakers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including food waste, urban agriculture, family farmers, farm workers, and more. 

Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Spike Mendelsohn, Chef and Chairman of the D.C. Food Policy Council, who will be speaking at the summit.

Food Tank (FT): What inspired you to get involved in food and agriculture?

Spike Mendelsohn (SM): The more I grow in this business, the more I learn about it. Agriculture and our farmers are so essential to providing healthy foods. We need to make sure that we are taking care of those that are taking care of us. 

FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?

SM: I think developing food policy councils state-by-state is really important. It allows all facets of the food system an opportunity to work together and have a bigger impact. It also allows us to study the progress of the developing food systems.

FT: What innovations in agriculture and the food system are you most excited about?

SM: There are so many, but my visit to Milan for the Expo, which was a food and agriculture theme, exposed me to a lot of very innovative ways of farming in urban areas.

FT: Can you share a story about a food hero that inspired you?

SM: Michel Nischan's passion for the food system and healthy eating is very inspiring. Spending a weekend at his Chef Action Network boot camp was incredible. Listening to him speak really helped all of the chefs there to understand the role we play and to use our voices and platforms to influence positive change. 

FT: What drives you every day to fight for the bettering of our food system?

SM: My travels abroad to areas where food is depleted and opportunity is just as scare as food is what inspires me to do my part.

FT: What’s the biggest problem within the food system our parents and grandparents didn't have to deal with?

SM: The confusion with GMOs, what they are, and what they really mean to us.

FT: What’s the first, most pressing issue you’d like to see solved within the food system?

SM: Let's get affordable food to the food deserts. Everyone should have the opportunity to shop for affordable, nutritious, and seasonal food for themselves and their family. Also, let's get back to putting our farmers back at the forefront of our food system.

FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

SM: Cook dinner for a group of friends or family at least once a week.

FT: What’s one issue within the food system you’d like to see completely solved for the next generation?

SM: That's a loaded question…it takes time. Food is fickle. Everyone needs to continue to do their part and that's as much as I can ask for.

FT: What agricultural issue would you like for the next president of the United States to immediately address?

SM: Food waste is compromising food security. So many agricultural issues are important, but let's at least not waste the food we do produce.

To find out more about the event, see the full list of speakers, and purchase tickets, please click HERE. Interested participants who cannot join can also sign up for the livestream HERE.

To join us at Food Tank's São Paulo, Brazil Summit in September 2016, please click HERE. To join us at Food Tank's Sacramento, CA Summit on September 22–23, 2016, please click HERE. To join us at Food Tank's Chicago, IL Summit on November 16–17, 2016, please click HERE

Want to become a sponsor of the Food Tank Summit? Please click HERE

Want to suggest a speaker for one of the Summits? Please click HERE

Want to watch videos from last year's Food Tank Summit? Please click HERE

Sponsors for this year's Food Tank Summit in Washington, D.C. include: Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, Chaia DC, Chipotle, Clif Bar, D.C. Government, Driscoll's, Edible DC, Elevation Burger, Fair Trade USA, Food and Environment Reporting Network, Global Environmental Politics Program of the School of International Service, Greener Media, Inter Press Service, Leafware, Niman Ranch, Organic Valley, Panera Bread, and VegFund. 

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