Director of Communications and Outreach
Organization: A Greener World
Location: Pittsboro, NC
I’m excited to be a Castanea Fellow because… the challenges we face are urgent, all-
encompassing and demand that we work together, with everyone at the table.
What is the challenge your work addresses?
The biggest challenge is how to move forward together in creating a food system that doesn’t leave anyone behind. Food is an all-encompassing issue with tentacles that reach into all parts of our lives—in good and challenging ways. We need to look at our food in a comprehensive way that address everything it touches; not just the single sexy issue of the moment. Otherwise, we will end up with “solutions” that actually create new and unintended problems.
What strategies are you using to address the challenge?
I’m excited to work with my colleagues in our shared goals. I’m interested in looking at the ways we can move forward with a shared vision and concrete parameters to create a food system that
delivers for everyone.
I would love to see more transparency in the food system. We’ve focused on this issue through our work in the area of food labeling, which has a huge impact on how we humans interact with the world. Labels are sometimes overlooked, but they are the primary way we get information and make choices about our food. Good labeling empowers people to enact their values through the purchases they make—or don’t make. It also helps us to value farmers for their hard work and stewardship. And it allows us to reward practices that have a positive impact. I think this is vital as we work for equity, balance and healthy systems that benefit everyone, not just those who can afford it.
What does success look like to you?
We have been working with colleagues for a long time to be intentional about the language around antibiotics and livestock. For a long time, the loudest and most polarized voices have drowned out the nuanced, sensible solution of using antibiotics as they were intended—therapeutically. When we collectively limit our options to routine use (antibiotic abuse) vs. a complete prohibition (antibiotic-free), we deny the possibility of a system that uses antibiotics responsibly while improving public health, animal welfare and the environment. We’ve been working hard for more nuance around complex issues, and I think it’s working. When I see the phrase “without routine use” I know we’re helping to move the dialogue forward.