Timothy A. Wise, Senior Research Fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, is speaking at the inaugural Boston Food Tank Summit, “Investing in Discovery,” which will be held in collaboration with Tufts University and Oxfam America on April 1, 2017.
In addition to his work at Tufts University, Tim directs the Land and Food Rights Program at the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute. He is also currently working on a book, tentatively titled Feeding Illusions: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Future of Food, based on research conducted while he was on a fellowship from the Open Society Foundations.
Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Tim about his inspiration, current work, and the need to support local and sustainable agriculture.
Food Tank (FT): What originally inspired you to get involved in your work?
Tim Wise (TW): Travel and study in Latin America, and seeing the impressive dignity of the campesinos and their hard life.
FT: What makes you continue to want to be involved in this kind of work?
TW: The urgent need to reshape our agricultural and food systems to ensure the land and food rights of the most vulnerable, particularly in the face of growing agribusiness power over the food system.
FT: Who inspired you as a kid?
TW: Salvador Allende, Paulo Freire, Arthur Ashe
FT: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to fix the food system?
TW: Creating the critical mass, socially, politically, and intellectually, to tip the balance toward a transition to more sustainable and equitable food systems.
FT: Can you share a story about a food hero who inspired you?
TW: Frances Moore Lappe, with whom I now work, and her colleagues at Food First set the standard for accessible and inspiring writing and analysis of food, agriculture, and the struggle for living democracy.
FT: What’s the most pressing issue in food and agriculture that you’d like to see solved?
TW: The unhealthy influence of agribusiness over food and agricultural policies, at home and abroad.
FT: What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?
TW: Support local and sustainable agriculture, not only to put one’s dollars where they are needed but also to create a better connection to where our food comes from.
FT: What advice can you give to President Trump and the U.S. Congress on food and agriculture?
TW: Reshape U.S. trade policy in a way that doesn’t just put “America first” but recognizes the land and food rights of the rural poor in the developing world.
Click here to purchase tickets to Food Tank’s inaugural Boston Summit.