Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with with Thomas Forster of EcoAgriculture Partners, who was one of the speakers at the 2015 Food Tank Summit in
Mr. Forster is a food and agriculture policy expert who has worked for over 20 years with government and non-governmental agencies to address policy changes to strengthen urban and rural linkages in food systems, especially in relation to school food, sustainable agriculture, and food and nutrition security. Since 2002 he has worked closely with legal experts and procurement professionals to secure legislative and administrative changes affecting public procurement in cities and institutions, and leveling the field for small to medium scale farmers and processors. He is the senior advisor for government affairs at School Food FOCUS and previously was policy director for the Community Food Security Coalition in Washington. In that capacity he led the effort to allow geographic preferences for school food and the authorization of what is now the USDA farm to school grant program. Recently he helped facilitate an international initiative to raise the profile of “city region food systems” and continues to work internationally as a fellow for city region landscapes with EcoAgriculture Partners in Washington. He is co-author of the report: City Regions as Landscapes for People, Food and Nature published in 2014 by EcoAgriculture Partners. Thomas lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches food policy and governance in the Food Studies Program of the New School for Public Engagement. Graduating from Reed College and the University of Oregon with degrees in philosophy, planning and design, Thomas also operated an organic farm for 15 years.