Welcome, John Mark Lampley!

September 15, 2022 Updated: January 18, 2024

Lovin’ Spoonfuls recently added a new Greater Boston-based Food Rescue Coordinator (FRC) to our team. Get to know John Mark Lampley in this Q&A.

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls? 

Today, by car. Most of this week by some combination of bus, tram, and carpool companionship. Isn’t it remarkable the network of systems to arrive at places and goals on a daily basis?

In previous positions (like when I was cultivating native grasses on the Boston Harbor Islands), I was arriving places by boat– so I definitely appreciate the more terrestrial approach. Regardless: boat, train, tram, aeroplane, automobile, bike, or stroll, I’m always on my way to making connections in my community.

Tell us about your background! How did you become interested in food rescue?

About my desktop background, (what a funny question to ask,) I’ve had the same background since college—an illustrated quote from Bill Watterson saying, “we all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.”

Before this year, I had never heard of food rescue. Now that I’m in my current role, I’ve started telling others about food rescue – including people like me who never knew it existed.

What’s a food-related subject you’re learning about right now?

I’m learning a lot this year about foraging. I have a background in plant ecology and have just been amazed at the amount of plant varieties found throughout the northeast that are edible, nutritious, flavorful, and more. I’ve read that plants are our original teachers, and I’ve been increasingly curious about what I can learn in relationship with all the green leafy individuals in my life. 

Learning names, practicing recognition (botanists would say identification), listening. It’s all so fun and helps me feel deeply connected to the world where I live. Go try a sprig of purslane or peppergrass and tell me it’s not a good time!

Do your friends/family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes? 

Somebody I care deeply about told me once that I am a ‘quality’ cook. No bells or whistles, mostly vegetarian fare and an assortment of breads and baked goods. It’s an inoffensive level of sufficiency—enough to nourish others and myself, and not so great as to intimidate anyone or take home speaking engagements.

What would we find in your fridge now? 

That’s a rather personal question, don’t we think? Kidding, kidding.

If you were sneaky enough to look and see for yourself, I’d just ask that you leave me some of the farm squash soup and spicy cornbread that I made yesterday. It was delicious, and after all the work I put into cleaning up afterward, I’d like at least another bite.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory? 

I’m picturing my grandmother cooking macaroni and cheese and mixed vegetables for our family. There’s a corned beef or something. I remember the specialty cheeses and shaved parmesans that she would buy from the Fresh Market. Something about that felt very special to me. 

I don’t think the consensus in our family was that Mammette was an especially talented cook. She learned how to do it later in life. But she did what she had to do to make everyone comfortable around the table. We were lucky enough to do that every week—something I pine for in modern life. 

Food, ritual, connection. If this is something that we are missing, there really is no way to substitute it for anything else.

Who are your heroes/inspirations?

I think my muse probably looks something like a three-way conversation between Wendell Berry, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Alexis Nikole Nelson.

Learn more about John Mark and the other members of Team Lovin’ on our staff page.

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