Nicole McCann is Food Campaigns Director for Green America. Nicole oversees and acts as a spokesperson for the GMO Inside campaign, and has been interviewed and quoted by a variety of print and broadcast media outlets, including The Guardian
, Food Navigator
, Food Business News
and The Examiner
. She received her master’s degree in global environmental policy with a focus on sustainable food systems from American University. She has worked in the areas of plant-based nutrition, campaigning, community organizing, research and programs supporting sustainable food systems for 10 years. She conducted her graduate thesis research in the Eastern Coastal Plains region of North Carolina studying the impact of corporate industrial hog farming on the environment, local economics and state politics.
How did you first get involved in the green industry?
I came to my current position in a roundabout way. I was studying fashion merchandising in undergrad and started learning about the negative impact on the environment, as well as worker exploitation. That led me to working within the fair-trade sector and reducing my consumption. I was already vegetarian at that point, on my way to 100% plant based. Eventually, my interests in environmental issues of fashion and food led me to where I am now, working to create a just and sustainable food system at an organization that works to grow the green economy, including working or fair trade and labor issues.
What interests you most about being green?
Being green is a holistic lifestyle. I use every opportunity to learn new ways to deepen my green. For example, learning how to green my retirement funds was my latest endeavor. I am interested in making sure I’m doing everything in my power to mitigate climate change for the next generation. We are never finished. Each day brings a new opportunity to go a little greener.
What is your biggest “green” pet peeve?
Corn-based compostable plastic. First, it is made from GE corn. The other major purchaser of GE corn is the animal feed sector that maintains the factory farm system. Second, this “compostable” plastic needs to be sent to an industrial compost facility. Though more places are adding compost bins, most places that use these products don’t. Consumers (and businesses) are unaware that these products cannot go into a regular recycling bin, and that they do not break down easily in a landfill. If places use this product, they should offer composting and held educate the consumer.
What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry?
I am excited to see companies moving to non-GMO on the path to organic, and consumers looking for these labels. We are reaching a tipping point. Big Food that has gotten a carte blanche
for decades to produce food products that do not make the environment or us healthier. Consumers are standing up and demanding that companies make changes, and the companies are listening.