Food Tank, in partnership with American University, is hosting the 2nd Annual Food Tank Summit in Washington, D.C. on April 20–21, 2016.
This two-day event will feature more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policymakers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including food waste, urban agriculture, family farmers, farm workers, and more.
Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Evan Lutz, CEO and Co-Founder of Hungry Harvest, a produce delivery company that rescues ugly fruits and vegetables. He will also be speaking at the summit.
Food Tank (FT): What inspired you to get involved in food and agriculture?
Evan Lutz (EL): My entire life, I’ve wanted to become an entrepreneur. I didn’t just want to start any business, but rather one that gave back and made a profit. I’ve also eaten healthy my entire life, and I’m passionate about empowering others through healthy eating.
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
EL: The United States wastes 6 billion pounds of produce every year. This is different than most food waste, however, because a majority of it is pre-consumer and even pre-retail. There’s a perfectly good product that needs to be rescued!
FT: What innovations in agriculture and the food system are you most excited about?
EL: Sustainable farming practices. We need to figure out how to scale sustainable farming so the price of non-GMO and organic crops can be competitive with conventionally-grown produce.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero that inspired you?
EL: Doug Rauch’s commitment to good food is inspiring. The fact that he’s willing to start a startup grocery store after the success of Trader Joe’s showcases why he’s a special individual.
FT: What drives you every day to fight for the bettering of our food system?
EL: At Hungry Harvest, we have fun while changing the planet. Every day, we’re excited to go to work to change the food system and get produce to those that really need it. More Americans than ever are food insecure, and it’s our mission to change that.
FT: What’s the biggest problem within the food system that our parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with?
EL: I think our former generations would slap us across the face if they saw how much food is going to waste. Never before in history have we ever wasted this much food. Many parents and grandparents came to this country with little in their pocket and taught us the value of stretching the dollar. I’m not sure where that message got lost.
FT: What’s the first, most pressing issue you’d like to see solved within the food system?
EL: We need to stop wasting food. We need to get growers, packing houses, and wholesalers on board with reducing food [that goes] to waste. Some, like Cooseman’s, are on board. We need more companies that are willing to say “enough is enough” and get with the program.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
EL: Eat the oldest food in your fridge. When you go out to eat, ask for a takeout box—it’s not that hard.
FT: What’s one issue within the food system you’d like to see completely solved for the next generation?
EL: Zero waste.
FT: What agricultural issue would you like for the next president of the United States to immediately address?
Interested participants who cannot join may also sign up for the livestream HERE.
Want to become a sponsor of the Food Tank Summit? Please click HERE.
Want to suggest a speaker for one of the Summits? Please click HERE.
Want to watch videos from last year’s Food Tank Summit? Please click HERE.
Sponsors for this year’s Food Tank Summit in Washington, D.C. include: Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, Chaia DC, Chipotle, Clif Bar, D.C. Government, Driscoll’s, Edible DC, Elevation Burger, Fair Trade USA, Food and Environment Reporting Network, Global Environmental Politics Program of the School of International Service, Greener Media, Inter Press Service, Leafware, Niman Ranch, Organic Valley, Panera Bread, and VegFund.
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