What is the Most Important Thing We Can All Do to Help Change the Food System?

What is the Most Important Thing We Can All Do to Help Change the Food System?
From foodtank.com, by Sarah Small

We are just one day away from the Food Tank Summit in partnership with The George Washington University on January 21-22!

The event is completely sold out with 75+ incredible speakers. You can view the complete agenda by clicking HERE. We invite you to watch the event on FoodTank.com via livestream which has been graciously donated by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN).

Recently, Food Tank asked many of the summit speakers to answer the question: “In 140 characters or less - what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?”

Read some of their answers below and we encourage you to submit your own responses on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and/or Facebook using #FoodTank. We will share several of the most creative and compelling answers throughout our entire network.

Also please feel free to share our speaker responses:

Chef Jose Andres, @chefjoseandres: “To eat today is a political statement. We vote with the food we choose to eat, and this is a power we need to use wisely and efficiently.”

Che Axum, University of the District of Columbia, @udc_edu: “Stop expanding agriculture’s footprint, close crop yield gaps, use resources much more efficiently, shift diets away from meat, reduce food waste and move toward a 'networked food system'.”

Laurie Benson, 1% for Women, @TossTheStone: “Through education and building awareness, we can help women find their voices and access the same resources available to their fathers, brothers and husbands, creating a better future for all.”

Jonathan Bloom, Author, American Wasteland, @wastedfood: “Connect with your food. Becoming a more educated eater tends to convert us into food activists (and make it much harder to waste food).”

Steve Brescia, Groundswell International, @groundswellint: “Support family farmers to spread agroecological farming, strengthen local food economies, and create enabling policies.”

Haley Burns, GWU Student, @GWTweets: “Walk the talk. If the story behind your food scares you, find something else to eat.”

Jean Buzby, U.S. Department of Agriculture, @jbuzby, @USDA_ERS: “We hope the Economic Research Service provides some of the needed information to individuals and policy makers wishing to address this issue and find solutions.”

Sarah Buzogany, City of Baltimore: “Build unlikely partnerships. Collaborate across the food system. Change agents can exist everywhere if you help cultivate them.”

Jahi Chappell, The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, @MJahi, @IATP: “We all have multiple backgrounds & identities; serve your community, but also be & build bridges between different local communities!”

Mike Curtin, DC Central Kitchen, @mikecurtindcck, @dcck: “Use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.”

Scott Davis, Panera Bread, @SDavisPnra, @panerabread: “Be aware of what you eat! What you eat is how you feel.”

Mia Dell, United Food and Commercial Workers, @UFCW: “We should agree that the problems are many and complex, and work together to find solutions that address them all.”

Dennis Dimick, National Geographic, @ddimick, @NatGeo: “The first thing each of us can do to help change the food system: Stop wasting food.”

Helen Dombalis, National Farm to School Network, @FarmtoSchool: “I truly believe that promoting farm to school programs is a key to changing the food system.”

Diana Donlon, Center for Food Safety, @coolfoods, @truefoodnow: “Find out the story behind your food. Methods of production have varying impacts on human & climate health; Organic is usually best choice.”

Barbara Ekwall, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, @UNFAO: “I would highlight governance as most important issue, meaning inclusive participation, empowerment, rule of law, transparency and accountability.”

Jordan Figueiredo, Feedback, @EndFoodWaste, @UglyFruitAndVeg: “The most important thing we can all do to help change the food system is to focus on the easiest way to mitigate climate change, hunger, and waste all at the same time, and that is to focus on preventing wasted food.”

John Fisk, Wallace Center at Winrock International, @ngfn, @pastureproject: “Make connections: Be a conscience consumer, speak on behalf of your beliefs, vote for a healthy food system, talk to your farmer, and stay connected to nature.”

Sam Fromartz, Food and Environment Reporting Network, @fromartz, @FERNnews: “To change the food system, we need to become knowledgeable, engaged and networked -- with good food on hand to fuel our work.”

Chandler Goule, National Farmers Union, @NFUDC: “Buy local when possible, learn where your food comes from (Country-of-Origin Labeling), and support farm bills.”

Eric Hansen, The National Young Farmers Coalition, @NYFCNYFC: “Help farmers feed their communities and manage student loan debt. Demand loan forgiveness for farmers! #FarmingIsPublicService”

Pamela Hess, Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, @ArcadiaFood: “Reject processed and fast food. Buy from great farmers. Cook from scratch. Insist Congress funds SNAP. Donate to Bonus Bucks programs.”

Jason Huffman, Politico, @JsonHuffman, @politico, @morning_ag: “Educate the public about where their food comes from and how much it takes to get it to their table.”

Saru Jarayaman, Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, @sarujayaraman: “Eliminating the tipped minimum wage for tipped workers.”

Ivy Ken, GWU Urban Sustainability, @GWTweets: “Get large corporations out of the food system.”

Brian Lipinski, World Resources Institute, @WorldResources: “Our food system can only change through everyone doing their part; smart individual choices need to be joined by larger societal shifts.”

Jeremy Lowery, ROC United DC, @jeremiahlowery1, @ROCDC: “Do your research and eat at restaurants and shop at businesses that have good workers' rights policies.”

Richard McCarthy, Slow Food USA, @RichardSlowFood, @SlowFoodUSA: “Recognize that the elephant in the room is a cow.”

Tom McDougall, 4P Foods, @4PFoods: “Plant something. Anything. Help two others in your community do the same. Have them each help two more. Nurture, care, and watch “it” grow.”

Aaron McNevin, World Wildlife Fund, @WWFUS:  “In the developed world, we need to purchase seafood products that are certified through the Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.”

Brad Nelson, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, @chefnb, @Marriott: “Use less, see more, share stories, engage with food with purpose for tomorrow.”

Jose Oliva, Food Chain Workers Alliance, @foodandlabor, @foodchainworker: “Run for office, win, become the government to transform our food system from one that puts profits before people and the planet to one that puts our health, environment, agriculture and labor first to avoid the collapse of our planetary ecosystems.”

Tom Pesek, International Fund for Agricultural Development, @tompesek, @IFADNews: “As a global community, we can increase awareness that the future of global food security depends on small farms and smallholder farmers.”

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, @chelliepingree: “Tell your elected leaders how important sustainable, affordable, locally produced food is to you.”

Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora, @restaurantnora: “Take a moment to think about how the food got to your plate.”

Bernie Prince, FRESHFARM Markets, @freshfarmmktsdc: “Buy your food from local farmers and producers and teach your children to grow and cook fresh, healthy foods.”

Vicky Rateau, Oxfam America, @vrateau, @OxfamAmerica: “What does a fair food system look like? The right to food is realized. This includes stopping land grabs, investment in farmers, & responsible use of natural resources.”

Vicki Robin, Author, Blessing the Hands That Feed Us, @vicki_robin: “Buy, cook & share food from local farmers; by changing habits, menus & policies we restore our bodies & food systems to health”

Jessica Rosen, Forum for the Future, @feedjess, @Forum4theFuture, @forumfood: “There is no one thing, but being more conscious eaters, consumers, and citizens more generally will go a long way.”

Frank Sesno, Planet Forward, @franksesno, @planet_forward: “Better information means better food, nutrition, and access. Grow well, eat well.”

Liz Shuler, National AFL-CIO, @LizShuler, @AFLCIO: “Recognize the importance of workers who grow, harvest, process, distribute & prepare our food. Food quality relies on their dignity & safety.”

Ben Simon, Food Recovery Network, @foodrecovery: "Tell one college student to bring Food Recovery Network to their campus to feed people, not landfills"

Coach Mark Smallwood, Rodale Institute, @rodaleinstitute: “Read the science. Help spread the vision of an Organic Planet. Work to make it a reality.”

Megan Stasz, Grocery Manufacturers Association, @MStasz, @GroceryMakers: “A sustainable food system depends on all of us. Working together as consumers, businesses, & NGOs we can reduce waste and drive innovation.”

Roger Thurow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, @rogerthurow, @ChicagoCouncil: “Raise the clamor, spread the outrage, be an inspiration.”

Shen Tong, Food-X, @shentong, @foodXhealth: “We need to empower the little guys in food to make big changes in the way we eat.”

Baldemar Velasquez, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, @SupportFLOC: “Spread the word and grow the movement for self-determination of the oppressed. Hasta la victoria!”

Luca Virginio, Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation, @BarillaCFN:  “Sign up to the Milan Charter for EXPO 2015, a global deal to fix our broken food system. It’s time to take action, now!”

Also, while the Food Tank Summit is completely sold out we still have a few tickets left for our special reception tomorrow night with Chef Jose Andres, Washington Post’s Joe Yonan, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and more at Farmers Fishers Bakers restaurant. You can purchase them by clicking HERE.

Please take a moment to share what your answer is at #FoodTank. Watch the Summit live HERE. Attend our reception tomorrow night HERE. And ask questions to speakers live by emailing questions@foodtank.com.

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