Nine Questions with Alex Borschow, Partner at Semillero Ventures, LLC
Food Tank, in partnership with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, is hosting the 1st Annual Chicago Food Tank Summit on November 16, 2016.
This event will feature more than 30 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policymakers, government officials, and students will come together for interactive panels, networking, and delicious food.
Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Alex Borschow, partner at Semillero Ventures, LLC, who will be speaking at the summit.
Food Tank (FT): What inspired you to get involved in food and agriculture?
Alex Borschow (AB): I always loved to eat and was fascinated about where food came from. However, what really got me into it was my interest and passion for environmental conservation. As I learned about the threats to conservation, one of the greatest ones was the unsustainable methods of food production. Thats when I decided I needed to get involved.
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
AB: Educating consumers about what's in their food, how it was made, and where it comes from. People everywhere are waking up to the wealth of new information about their food that is being shared across all kinds of media and platforms. Consumers are driving change in the system because they vote with their dollars.
FT: What innovations in agriculture and the food system are you most excited about?
AB: Application of technology to sustainable methods of production and not just for making industrialized and unsustainable processes more profitable. Also really excited about the potential for insects to be a revolutionary source of protein and food.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero that inspired you?
AB: Reading Jonathan Bloom's "American Wasteland", the incredible study of the food waste problem in America, completely changed my perspective and focus on the food system. It inspired me to work on developing a platform to bring together generators and consumers of food surplus. It let me to composting my waste at home. I became super conscious and aware of food waste at home and at restaurants.
FT: What drives you every day to fight for the bettering of our food system?
AB: I see food as the biggest challenge and opportunity facing our generation. I want my kids and grandkids to be able to visit the Amazon rainforest and not a soybean plantation or treeless clearing. I want them to be able to live in a world where food is a precious and respected asset.
FT: What’s the biggest problem within the food system our parents and grandparents didn't have to deal with?
AB: The industrial production of commodity agriculture, heavily reliant on chemicals and government subsidies.
FT: What’s the first, most pressing issue you’d like to see solved within the food system?
AB: Reduction or elimination of subsidies for unsustainable commodity crop agriculture, or equal support for sustainable and regenerative agriculture.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
AB: Know where your food comes from. Eat more plants. Don't waste.
FT: What’s one issue within the food system you’d like to see completely solved for the next generation?
AB: Reducing food waste. We produce more than enough food to feed people. We just waste so much of it.
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Sponsors for this year's Food Tank Summit in Chicago include: Almond Board of California, Annie’s Inc., Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, Blue Apron, Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Clif Bar & Company, Driscoll's, Elevation Burger, Farmer’s Fridge, Food and Environment Reporting Network, Inter Press Service (IPS), Niman Ranch, and Organic Valley. More to be announced soon.
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