National Geographic Events

Speakers Bureau

Barton Seaver Chef, Conservationist

Photo: Seaver throws salmon remains back

Photograph by Mark Rutherford of Wild River Guides

Photo: Barton Seaver
Photograph by Katie Stoops

“There’s this scientific approach to sustainability. And then there’s a human one. You start talking about fish, and it’s automatically some empirical formula, which takes a Ph.D. to understand. I’m not trying to save the fish. I’m trying to save dinner.”—Barton Seaver quoted in The Washington Post

Barton Seaver is working to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other—through dinner. As the Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard School of Public Health, his work is unified by the belief that food is a crucial way for us to connect with the ecosystems, people, and cultures of our world. His projects will aim to highlight the important connection between environmental resiliency and human health while ensuring the profitability of local food producers. Complementary to his role at Harvard, the New England Aquarium named Barton their first Sustainability Fellow in Residence to help relate the Aquarium’s conservation messages with our dinner plates.

As a National Geographic Fellow, Seaver has worked with National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative to create the Seafood Decision Guide. The guide compiles sustainability, Omega-3, and mercury data in an interactive manner to help consumers make seafood choices that are best for both personal and environmental health. He is also helping the State Department with their diplomacy abroad as a member of the American Chef Corps.

A celebrated chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Seaver has cooked in cities all over the world and was named “Chef of the Year” by Esquire magazine in 2009. After graduation Seaver found work in southern Spain at a small family restaurant. Their casual, ingredient-based cooking style proved to be an important influence in his perception of food as an essential part of community. When the off-season arrived, Seaver hopped on a boat to Morocco and landed in the small seaside village of Essaouira. There, he took part in generations-old fishing methods, becoming a part of a community whose survival was directly linked to the oceans. This experience showed him that sustainability is not just an ecological but also a humanitarian matter.

His book For Cod and Country (Sterling, Spring 2011) is a book of recipes that inspires ocean conservation through the experience that we all share—dinner. Seaver’s second cookbook, Where There’s Smoke, will be released in April 2013.


Popular Presentation

Delicious Is the New Environmentalism
Learn how environmental issues translate through the lens of dinner into everyday cultural concerns such as health, jobs and community. The compelling narrative of conservation is a story of responsible consumption. Seaver shares insight into how sustainable food is not just about what products we use, but just as importantly, how we use them.

Learn More About Barton
Barton Seaver’s Website
Ocean Hero: Barton Seaver
Boston Herald Q&A With Barton Seaver
Washington Post Profile
Huffington Post Profile
NG Traveler: One on One: A Fisher of Men
Seafood Decision Guide

Photo: Lionfish by Raymond Pauly, National Geographic My Shot

Listen to Radio Interview With Barton Seaver

Boyd Matson Interviews Barton Seaver for NG Weekend Radio Show

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