Five Questions with World Wildlife Fund’s Aaron McNevin

From by Michael Halper
Five Questions with World Wildlife Fund’s Aaron McNevin

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 Aaron McNevin, of the World Wildlife Fund, who will be speaking at the summit.

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

Aaron McNevin (AM): Market leverage on overseas production will diminish in coming years. We need approaches that make business sense to producers and conserve the natural resources they have come to rely on for their livelihoods.

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

AM: Moving beyond the single engagement intervention. One-on-one interventions in communities are not adding up to the reduction of food-derived impacts necessary to retain the ability to nourish a world. WWF’s approach is transform food production such that environmental sustainability is a precompetitive issue in the marketplace. Further, by linking the major negative impacts of production to both near and long-term business viability, we prove the business case for improved performance against the key measures of environmental performance.

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

AM: The tolerance for poor producer performance through non-credible certification, and the notion that practices and effort are the same as results.

FT: Who is your food hero and why?

AM: Dr. Scott Nichols. Scott is a scientist that took the time to understand the demands that aquaculture has on wild ocean fisheries. He recognized that aquaculture will not be a viable option if we continue to rely on wild fish to feed farm-raised fish. Salmon aquaculture can require 4-8 kg of wild caught fish per kg of farmed salmon. Scott and his team developed a mainstream protein alternative based on yeast that reduced the demand for wild fish for salmon by 75%. These technological leaps in the mainstream are an absolute necessity, and it takes people with vision, skills, and will to make these advances a reality.

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

AM: We need to purchase seafood products that are certified through the Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

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.