Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), who will be speaking at the summit.
Food Tank (FT): What inspired you to get involved in food and agriculture?
Chellie Pingree (CP): I’ve been an organic farmer for about 40 years. I was first inspired to start farming by the back-to-the-land movement in the 1970s.
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
CP: The food system needs to be rebalanced to focus more on smaller, sustainable agriculture.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero that inspired you?
CP: In my early days of farming, I had a well-worn copy of Helen and Scott Nearing’s book, The Good Life.
FT: What drives you every day to fight for the bettering of our food system?
CP: A better food system will make healthy, affordable food more accessible for all families and help expand local economies.
FT: What’s the biggest problem within the food system our parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with?
CP: I think our grandparents might not have recognized some of what is considered “food” these days, because it is so highly processed.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
CP: I think it’s important to keep in mind that our food system is the people who make it up—from farmers to consumers—but also the policy that is put in place at the national, state, and local levels. Good food policy leads to good food!
FT: What agricultural issue would you like for the next president of the United States to immediately address?
CP: We should start with making sure the candidates for president talk about food in the campaigns. When Americans start voting based on the food policies of candidates, the food system will start to change more rapidly.
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