Richard McCarthy is the Founder and former Executive Director of Market Umbrella in New Orleans, and the former Executive Director of Slow Food USA.
Richard McCarthy grew up in New Orleans. After studying political science at the London School of Economics, he returned to put ideas into action. In 1995, he developed the practitioners’ think tank, Market Umbrella, to cultivate public markets for public good. He developed the Crescent City Farmers Market as the organization’s primary base of operations. Innovations include: a workers’ cooperative with public housing residents; the nation’s first farmers market health incentive pilots (that led to the development of the USDA GusNIP program); an international research fellowship to measure the human, social and financial capital in markets; and many critical recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. In all of his work, two important themes prevail: To facilitate trusting relations between urban and rural communities; and to instigate lasting social change by creating opportunities for behavior change to come first. Ideas follow.
McCarthy’s work became increasingly global through partnerships with the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, Project for Public Spaces, and Slow Food. In 2013, he left New Orleans to direct Slow Food USA for six-years. He currently leads Slow Food International’s efforts to reduce meat consumption, as a member of its international governing body, together with Meatless Monday. He has addressed audiences all over the planet, published chapters in two books, and has produced short films and radio programs. He currently sails under the name, Think Like Pirates.