Five Questions with Haley Burns, Food Justice Leader at the George Washington University

Five Questions with Haley Burns, Food Justice Leader at the George Washington University

Food Tank, in partnership with the George Washington University, is hosting the 1st Annual Food Tank Summit in Washington D.C. on January 21-22, 2015.

This two-day event will feature more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, 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 Haley Burns, a senior at the George Washington University (GW) who serves on the eboard of the GW Food Justice Alliance and provides leadership to the GW Urban Food Task Force, the GlobeMed GW chapter, and the GroW Garden. She will be speaking at the summit.

Food Tank (FT): What will your message be at the Food Tank Summit?

Haley Burns (HB): I'll be discussing the benefits of community gardens and urban farms in bettering the food system.

FT: How are you contributing to building a better food system?

HB: Not only are my personal eating habits defined by everything I preach (making sure to know where my food comes from and not purchasing things that I don't agree with), but I also encourage others to do so, using the GW GroW Garden as an example for a better system and as a way to teach people through tangible experiences with the soil.

FT: What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in achieving your organization's goals?

HB: One of the biggest obstacles faced in a university setting is generational leadership and commitment. It's hard to find people to continue what we've been working on both on a week-to-week volunteer basis and a year-to-year leadership basis. Sometimes it's frustrating because everything we've worked so hard on could be discontinued next year if no one takes initiative.

FT: Who is your food hero and why?

HB: Alice Waters. I think that there are two crucial components to fixing the food system that Alice Waters addresses very well: kids and cooking.

FT: In 140 characters or less, what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?

HB: Walk the talk. If the story behind your food scares you, find something else to eat.

The event is SOLD OUT, but interested participants can sign up for the live-stream HERE. Or JOIN US for dinner and a reception to celebrate Food Tank's two-year anniversary on January 21st at 5:30pm EST. This event will also sell out fast, REGISTER NOW.