Sriram Madhusoodanan

Sriram Madhusoodanan
Location: Boston, Massachusetts Cohort Start Year: 2016 Project Topic: Food Systems and Nutrition
Food Program Director
Corporate Accountability International
Securing food justice from seed to plate

From seed to plate, our food system is broken, and low-income communities and communities of color are the ones bearing the brunt of this breakdown. The biggest driver of this breakdown—the rotten core of our broken system—is McDonald’s, a corporation that makes a huge profit off of the health of our children and our communities. I’m honored to be part of the nation-wide campaign to challenging and end the harmful practices of McDonald’s in the service of fixing our broken food system and bringing food justice to our communities. I work in coalition with labor allies, community leaders, educators, and parents to curb McDonald’s political and economic might. For example, we are exposing the ways the corporation influences food policy via the powerful trade group, the National Restaurant Association. We’ve brought parents and educators together to end the exploitative marketing practice called McTeacher’s Nights. And we’re helping communities move local hospitals to end contracts with McDonald’s—so children aren’t being treated for diabetes on one floor and being served junk food on the next.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Get Junk Food out of Grade Schools
Our initiative aims to stop junk food corporations like McDonald’s from undermining children’s health through school-based marketing tactics. Instead, we will open the doors to alternative fundraisers—ones that protect children’s health and advance a culture of health. The explosion of the junk food industry is driving a health crisis that is making millions of children sick. As this industry expands, so does the global environmental and human rights footprint of these corporations and their suppliers (e.g., Big Ag). The junk food marketing to children is a cornerstone to this power; it contributes to multiple health crises and must be addressed.

My deep-rooted understanding on sustainable food and agriculture begins with my grandparent’s farm in South India where I was raised in a microcosm of a food system where the food we eat nourishes us, rather than makes us sick. These roots, infuse my abiding passion for working with people to have their voices heard and effect transformational change at every level—from the local to the international.