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 40 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, followed by a day of hands-on activities and opportunities for attendees.
Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Moon, President and CEO of The Global FoodBanking Network, who will be speaking at the summit.
Food Tank (FT): What inspired you to get involved in food and agriculture?
Lisa Moon (LM): My interest in food and agriculture began due to my interest in poverty. It seemed like a cruel irony that the majority of the world’s hungriest people were farmers. We are fortunate to live in an age when the food system more safe, abundant, and accessible than it has ever been, yet still nearly 800 million people go to bed hungry and 1 in 4 people are malnourished. I see hunger as one of the greatest challenges of our time, and transforming the food system as the chief way to end it.
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
LM: The focus on both improving the productivity and sustainability of agriculture over the past eight years has been inspiring. I hope that we can now improve food access with the same degree of gusto. This is a complicated endeavor, yet if we are successful, the food that farmers labor so intensely to grow can end up on the plates of those that need it most.
FT: What innovations in agriculture and the food system are you most excited about?
LM: The most exciting innovation in the agriculture and food system to me are efforts to support small, unconventional farmers, predominately women. These are some of the most disadvantaged growers in the world, yet they have the greatest potential. With access to better inputs, training, and markets, women can change their lives, the lives of their family members, and their communities. I believe empowering women growers will revolutionize our food system, and make countless gains in terms of economic growth.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero that inspired you?
LM: A food hero that inspired me is Catherine Bertini. Through her work at World Food Programme and on-going advocacy and support for food security, she has re-designed school-feeding programs to advance the nutrition of girls and boys, as well as their families.
FT: What drives you every day to fight for the bettering of our food system?
LM: The inequality in our food system is what drives my work daily. With infrastructure and technology, we can ensure that every person on earth has access to nutritious food. Yet we fall short of this goal. This can and should be changed.
FT: What’s the biggest problem within the food system our parents and grandparents didn't have to deal with?
LM: Our food system is more abundant than ever before, but it is also incredibly wasteful. This has environmental implications (for example, food waste in China emits more greenhouse gases than the entire US transportation sector). It is an enormous challenge for all those working in the food system to reduce waste at all points along the supply chain.
FT: What’s the first, most pressing issue you’d like to see solved within the food system?
LM: The most pressing issue I see is that there are still people that do not have access to nutritious meals on a daily basis. Before we can make gains in sustainability, fair wages, nutrition, and the like, we must ensure basic energy needs are being met.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
LM: Be conscious to ensure that all the food they purchase is consumed or donated to those in need.
FT: What’s one issue within the food system you’d like to see completely solved for the next generation?
LM: It would be a great accomplishment if we could end hunger, especially for those that depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
FT: What agricultural issue would you like for the next president of the United States to immediately address?
LM: The President of the United States can make an immediate impact by significantly increasing investments in agriculture and food research, with a focus on nutrition and sustainability. The US spending on health vs. agriculture research is 30:1, and we cannot expect to meet the demands of today’s or tomorrow’s food system without investment in science and in innovating best practices.
Want to become a sponsor of the Food Tank Summit? Please email Bernard at Bernard@foodtank.com.
Want to watch videos from previous Food Tank Summits? Please click HERE.
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.
Join the discussion using #FoodTank across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!