Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of Slow Food USA, who was one of the speakers at the 2015 Food Tank Summit in partnership with The George Washington University.
Food Tank (FT): What will your message be at the Food Tank Summit?
Richard McCarthy (RM): To resist the echoes from the 20th century calling out for scale and efficiency, and to balance between joy and justice around food.
FT: How are you contributing to building a better food system?
RM: We are growing communities around the alternative food economy. These hubs serve as bases for supportive networks for everyone from field-to-fork, lake-to-plate. We support these local expressions of emblematic resistance, just as we provide guidance as to how best to build critical mass — most notably by addressing the centerpiece of our food system (the tyranny of cheap meat) and by growing the next generation of kids who run towards the good food by growing it, tasting it, and loving it via school gardens.
FT: What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in achieving your organization’s goals?
RM: The pace and pressures of industrial life thwart volunteerism, increase the risks for everyday people to make changes, obscure the externalities imbedded in our current food system, and banish many of us to rigid lives of lonely and homogenized consumerism.
FT: Who is your food hero and why?
(RM): British author Colin Ward for his book he wrote with David Crouch, The Allotment: Its Landscape and Culture. This book did so much to inspire the reinvention of community via growing food and well ahead of grand designs by philanthropy or government.
FT: In 140 characters or fewer, what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?
RM: To recognize that the elephant in the room is a cow.