Let’s Talk About Food is thrilled to kick-off this year’s Let’s Talk About Food Festival with a Vote With Your Fork rally with Food Policy Action on Friday, September 26th!
There will be live music from the local band, Grey Season, and some notable speakers including Ken Cook, the Chairman of the Board of Food Policy Action, US Rep Chellie Pingree, Chef and Founder of Wholesome Wave, Michel Nischan, and Chef Barton Seaver.
They’ll be on hand to discuss why we should consider candidates’ votes on food and farming legislation when casting our ballots. Advocating for good food policies and electing food policy leaders across the country are the best ways to get to the heart of many issues facing our food system today.
Meet the Speakers:
Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group (EWG), is one of the environmental community’s most prominent and effective critics of U.S. farm and food policy and a leading voice on federal chemicals and pesticides law.
Cook’s early work at EWG culminated in the landmark 1996 Food Quality Protection Act that for the first time required the EPA to consider the dietary risks of pesticides in food on children’s health.
Cook is also the founder and board chairman of Food Policy Action – a non-profit organization devoted to holding members of Congress accountable for their votes on food policy. Its core initiative is the National Food Policy Scorecard, which assigns a score to each member of Congress based on his or her voting record on thirty-two food issues put up before the legislature. These range from supporting organically grown produce, to fighting for conservation, to supporting local and regional food systems.
He’s authored dozens of articles, opinion pieces and reports on environmental, public health and agricultural topics and, in 2011, was named by journalist and food movement icon Michael Pollan as one of the “world’s 7 most powerful foodies.”
Chef Barton Seaver is Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. He is also a National Geographic Society Fellow and Sustainability Fellow in Residence at the New England Aquarium. Seaver is the author of, “For Cod and Country,” “Where There’s Smoke,” and the forthcoming National Geographic books, “Foods for Health” and “NatGeo Kids Cookbook.”
Barton Seaver has been at the helm of some of Washington, DC’s most acclaimed restaurants. He brought the idea of sustainable seafood to DC at Hook restaurant in Georgetown. After Hook, he opened Blue Ridge restaurant, where he was named as Esquire’s 2009 Chef of the Year. As a chef Seaver’s restaurant career has always focused on sustainability, helping establishments garner eco-friendly recognition from publications like Bon Appetit.
His focus now is on larger issues of ocean sustainability as it relates to eating in order to link the environmental community with real-life, delicious applications of an eco-friendly ethic. He was recently named a Fellow with the Blue Ocean Institute and works with the Ocean Now program at the National Geographic Society to influence the practices of large corporations and consumers alike toward a more responsible and sustainable sourcing ethic. Seaver is an appointed member of the Mayor’s Council on Nutrition in Washington, DC, where he is helping to craft a wellness policy for District residents.
Michel Nischan is an award-winning chef, a leader in the sustainable food movement, and president and co-founder of Wholesome Wave — a nonprofit organization that creates nationwide programs that support small and mid-sized local farmers and makes fresh, healthy, locally grown foods available to all people, regardless of income.
As the son of farmers, Nischan grew up with an admiration for sustainable agriculture and those who work the land. From his mother, he inherited an appreciation for where food comes from and a love of cooking with fresh, wholesome, locally grown meat and produce.
In his more than 30 years in the industry, Nischan has been consistently recognized for excellence as a chef, restaurateur and author and is widely known for his passion in the sustainable foods movement. He has won two James Beard awards, been named the IACP Humanitarian of the Year (2011) and written three celebrated cookbooks.
Nischan serves on the boards of the Amazon Conservation Team, the James Beard Foundation, The Rodale Institute and Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. He is also the owner of Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant, located next to the Westport County Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree
Chellie Pingree was elected to Congress from Maine’s 1st Congressional District—the first woman elected to Congress from that District. It also marked the first time in American history that women made up the majority of a state’s Congressional Delegation.
Pingree has worked hard throughout her life – as a mother, farmer, small business owner, and in politics. She has led successful efforts to protect the environment, increase corporate accountability, protect workers, promote a women’s right to choose, and provide support of Maine’s small businesses. Serving as a member of the Agriculture Committee in Congress, Pingree has been working in an around farms for the last 40 years. As someone who owns a small organic farm and a restaurant featuring locally grown food, she values local and sustainable farming. Her focus is reforming farm policy with interests of sustainable farmers and consumers in mind.
Pingree wrote the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act—a comprehensive package of reforms to agriculture policy that will expand opportunities for local and regional farmers and make it easier for consumers to have access to healthy foods. Many of the provisions of Pingree’s bill were included in the Farm Bill, which was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
Prior to her election to Congress, Pingree served as the National President and CEO of Common Cause, a non-partisan citizen activist group whose mission is to help citizens make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.