Food for Thought: Q&A with Tj Tate
Published March 16, 2015
The National Aquarium is doubling-down on eco-friendly eating. Program director Tj Tate recently spoke with us about her goals for our initiative:
Why is it so important to eat sustainably?
Food security, plain and simple. We are a world growing in population by leaps and bounds. Think about it this way: We take care of our cars so that they will run to 200,000-plus miles. We go to the doctor so that our bodies stay strong and can push the limits of time. We watch our bank accounts so that we can pay our bills, take vacations and someday retire. We ensure that the things that matter are secure and sustaining. Food is no different. We have to plan and adapt real food strategies and become very smart when it comes to what we eat.
What was the inspiration behind the creation of this program?
The National Aquarium has thought leaders, scientists, communicators, and dedicated and loyal members. We are a destination for millions of people who love the ocean. The development of a seafood initiative is a natural and logical progression that in my estimation is a way of giving back to an area so steeped in seafood culture and history. People embrace seafood in this region—we should, and will, be the leader to hear their voices and answer their questions.
What kind of educational outreach will be involved?
The potential educational benefits to the program are limitless. We are already reaching to local chefs, seafood distributors and schools. We are planning a series of local and regional events that will teach the general public about not only this vast ecosystem in which they live but also how their actions have a direct impact on their seafood choices.
Will you be partnering with any organizations?
We are teaming up with Maryland Sea Grant on educational opportunities, aquariums throughout the country on national seafood efforts, Maryland DNR on fisheries issues, government agencies on seafood traceability standards, local watermen, chefs and environmental groups, to name a few.