Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Bernie Prince, Co-Executive Director of FRESHFARM, 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?
Bernie Prince (BP): I believe that supporting local farmers and producers is something everyone can do for their personal health, the future of farmland in their region, and the benefit of the planet.
FT: How are you contributing to building a better food system?
BP: FRESHFARM Markets set the standard for eating seasonally and locally with our producer-only farmers markets in 1997, which have grown to be the largest network of farmers markets in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. FRESHFARM was the first farmers market to be certified by U.S. Department of Agriculture to accept SNAP benefits in DC, and the second to do so in Maryland. Our FoodPrints educational program for elementary school students is a model for nutrition education, providing hands-on learning about healthy eating.
FT: What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in achieving your organization’s goals?
BP: Change takes time and funding.
FT: Who is your food hero and why?
BP: Peggy McGrath Rockefeller, who I knew in my work at American Farmland Trust. She showed me that everyone needs to care about the food we eat and the farmers who grow or raise it. Her farm is now Stone Barns, a wonderful tribute to her love of farmland and local food.
FT: In 140 characters or fewer, what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?
BP: Buy your food from local farmers and producers, and teach your children to grow and cook fresh, healthy foods.