Interview with Diane Hatz, Executive Director, Change Food

by Cameron St. Germain

Diane Hatz, Executive Director, Change Food

Diane Hatz is a nonprofit social entrepreneur who educates and raises awareness about food and farming. As Founder/Executive Director of Change Food, she advises, consults and develops creative projects to motivate people to take action to change the food system. She also works to find ways to help individuals and groups within the field collaborate, connect and work more effectively. She currently organizes the Change Food Fest, and founded and runs the Change Food Video Library.

Previously, Diane co-founded and directed The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming.  Diane also worked at the GRACE Communications Foundation for 12 years, where she founded and directed the hugely successful consumer education program Sustainable Table; was executive producer of The Meatrix movies, critically acclaimed, award-winning animated films on factory farming; and was the founder and director of the online sustainable food directory the Eat Well Guide.

Where you grew up: Delaware

Where you live now:  East Village, NYC

Background and education: M.A. Creative Writing, B.S. Business/Marketing, Minor Philosophy

Food policy/food as medicine hero: Dr. Robert Graham

One word to describe our food system: broken

One word to describe our healthcare system: ripoff

Your favorite food: peaches (only local and in season!)

Your breakfast this morning: oatmeal, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, dash of Catskills maple syrup (all organic)

Your last meal on earth: Veggie lasagna (ah, gluten free of course) with tons of melted local grassfed cheese and garlic bread, with a fresh, local mixed green salad

Must-have healing food/ingredient: Too many!  Right now, Turmeric

Food policy, health, food as medicine book, website(s) social media/blog must-follow/read: Anything from FRESH Medicine

Your elevator pitch for food as medicine?  There is irrefutable evidence that whole foods can not only keep you healthier but can help you heal from various ailments. So rather than masking symptoms with pharmaceuticals, why not incorporate more whole foods into your diet.  You’ll not only feel better, you can keep yourself from getting sick in the first place. And you can take control of your own healthcare.

Which widespread nutritional misconceptions worry you the most? That fat is bad.  Also, that people don’t understand how prevalent sugar is in food and how bad it is for you.

What do you see as the next step for food as medicine?  To become more mainstream – more speakers, books, and general awareness needs to happen from a grassroots level, just like the sustainable food movement did starting 20-30 years ago.  The public needs to put pressure on business and government for anything to change, which means we need to educate consumers more.

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