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10 Most Important Things We Can Do to Change the Food System

Food Tank, the food think tank, will hold its first annual summit from Jan. 21-22 with 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field, including researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, students and writers. Leading up to the event, Food Tank asked its speakers: What is the most important thing we can all do to change the food system?

Richard McCarthy's advice: "Recognize that the elephant in the room is a cow."
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Here are 10 of the top responses:

José Andrés, president of Think Food Group, which seeks to change the world through the power of food: "To eat today is a political statement. We vote with the food we choose to eat, and this is a power we need to use wisely and efficiently."

Ben Simon of Food Recovery Network, which prevents food in college dining halls from being wasted by donating the excess to those in need: "Tell one college student to bring Food Recovery Network to their campus to feed people, not landfills."

Tom McDougall of 4P Foods, which distributes locally sourced food in the Washington DC area: “Plant something. Anything. Help two others in your community do the same. Have them each help two more. Nurture, care and watch 'it' grow.”

Barbara Ekwall of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization: "With more than 805 million people suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition in a world that produces more than enough food for all, more attention needs to be paid to how society is organized. To start with, we should focus on the poorest groups and make agriculture, trade, health, education and other policy areas work for them."

Coach Mark Smallwood of the Rodale Institute, which has been a pioneer in organic farming since 1947: "Read the science. Help spread the vision of an Organic Planet. Work to make it a reality."

Richard McCarthy of Slow Food USA, which promotes good, clean and fair food for all: "Recognize that the elephant in the room is a cow."

Brian Halweil of Edible Manhattan, a publication dedicated to local and seasonal food: "Build your diet around a diversity of small food and drink producers."

John Fisk of Winrock International, which works around the world to empower the disadvantaged while sustaining natural resources: "Make connections: Be a conscience consumer, speak on behalf of your beliefs, vote for a healthy food system, talk to your farmer, and stay connected to nature."

Baldemar Velasquez, President of Farm Labor Organizing Committee, a labor union representing migrant farm workers: "Spread the word and grow the movement for self-determination of the oppressed."

Thomas Forster of EcoAgriculture Partners, which promotes agriculture and development as a source of conservation: "Go beyond food fashion to what transforms how we are fed, past fossil fuel-based industrial food to bio-based agroecologically grown food."

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Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.

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"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.

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Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.

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Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.