Ten Questions with Monica Eng, Food and Health Reporter at WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio
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 Monica Eng, Food and Health Reporter at WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio, who will be speaking at the summit.
Food Tank (FT): What inspired you to get involved in food and agriculture?
Monica Eng (ME): I drifted into it when I was covering dining and cooking and dove fully into it when I switched to the watchdog investigative desk of the Chicago Tribune.
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
ME: The Farm Bill, consumer education, and choices.
FT: What innovations in agriculture and the food system are you most excited about?
ME: The U.S. Department of Agriculture deciding to get on the food waste reduction train. And the shifts (even if slight) in funding some specialty crops and supporting programs to encourage healthier eating.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero that inspired you?
ME: Ken Dunn at the Resource Center who has been doing urban farming, composting, and recycling for decades.
FT: What drives you every day to fight for the bettering of our food system?
ME: I have kids who are going to need food, clean water, healthy soil, and clean air long after I’m gone.
FT: What’s the biggest problem within the food system our parents and grandparents didn't have to deal with?
ME: So much junk food marketing and reliance on processed foods.
FT: What’s the first, most pressing issue you’d like to see solved within the food system?
ME: Changing perceptions and habits around healthful foods.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
ME: Plant a little garden. Learn the taste of fresh food. Appreciate the work that goes into it. Teach yourself and someone else how to cook it.
FT: What’s one issue within the food system you’d like to see completely solved for the next generation?
ME: Changing how we structure the school food system. It affects so many vulnerable kids, and instead of using it as a tool to put them on a healthy path, we’ve done just the opposite.
FT: What agricultural issue would you like for the next president of the United States to immediately address?
ME: Shifting the subsidy equation to favor foods that will heal our kids and people, rather than those that will increase obesity, inflammation, and all the disease that follows.
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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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