Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Tom McDougall, of 4P Foods, 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?
Tom McDougall (TM): If we are going to change the food system, we need to be prepared to change everything. It took us the last 40 years to get deep into this mess – it may take the next 40 to get us out.
(FT): How are you contributing to building a better food system?
(TM): We use food as a tool for social justice. We’re building a community of conscious consumers who spend their food dollars with our local farming families, and by doing so, they are supporting both those local farms and our low-income neighbors. Together, we will use our microphone to shout from the rooftops that there is indeed a better way… we just all need to be part of it.
(FT): What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in achieving your organization’s goals?
(TM): Capacity. Educating our communities about what the problems are, how to tackle them, and then providing the tools to execute on those solutions requires a lot of capacity. We, like many others working to build a better food system, think that cross-organizational collaboration is going to be critical for us all to succeed in advancing these ideas.
(FT): Who is your food hero and why?
(TM): Karen Washington. She understands that the externalized costs of our broken food system are disproportionately paid for by those who are often the most at-risk. She has spent her life working tirelessly toward righting that wrong. She’s an inspiration, a leader, and a doer. To be fair though, anyone, anywhere, fighting an uphill battle in the face of our global industrial food system is a heroine and hero in my book.
(FT): In 140 characters or less what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?
(TM): Plant something. Anything. Help two others in your community do the same. Have them each help two more. Nurture, care, and watch “it” grow.