Author Archives: dianehatz

Celebrating 2015 with Change Food

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Change Food is proud to celebrate another year of educating and advocating for a more sustainable food system. July was the end of our 2014-2015 year and marks our second anniversary.  As the scope of Change Food’s impact expands, we are raising awareness, activating consumers and helping make the changes necessary so that healthy, delicious, safe food is accessible to all. Keep reading to learn what we’ve been up to this year.  And check out our recently redesigned and relaunched website!

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Make Changes in Your Community with Ali Berlow’s “The Food Activist Handbook”

Change Food believes that every individual plays a role in transforming our food system into one where healthy and sustainable food are accessible to all. And in recent years, thanks to leaders in the food movement, more and more people are learning about the realities of our current food system and our roles within it. However, you may be left wondering: what can I personally do to make an impact within my own community?

No matter how old you are, where you live, or how busy you may be, The Food Activist Handbook offers the information, tools, and resources for you to get involved. Author Ali Berlow offers practical advice that can be heeded by anyone, not just the wealthy or those with ample free time. The Food Activist Handbook is an inclusive, no-nonsense guide “to help you energize and organize your local food system and create better access to healthy food for everyone.” The way we eat determines the way we interact with the environment, the economy, our neighbors, and our own bodies. And we are all responsible for whether or not these interactions are healthy, beneficial, and progressive.

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The Food Activist Handbook makes it easy to spark real change in your community.

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Transforming Livelihoods with Ceres Community Project

Change Food is excited to put a spotlight on another Change Food community member – the Ceres Community Project and its founder, Cathryn Couch. For the past eight years, Ceres Community Project has revolutionized meal delivery service for vulnerable and underserved communities by providing 100% organic, sustainably raised meals to low income people and families struggling, as well as a nutritional education program that alters longterm eating habits for the better.

In preparing over 100,000 meals each year, Ceres is making real change in Northern California and across the country. In using local teen volunteers and adult volunteer supervisors in their gardens and kitchens, Ceres involves the communities they serve in the food making process in the most intimate of ways — literally growing it from the ground up and preparing it. The teen volunteers take on a mature amount of responsibility in maintaining their garden and kitchen sites, including managing compost systems and pollinator habitats, seed saving, food safety, menu design, and cooking and serving meals, creating an ultimate garden-to-table experience.

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Teen volunteers tend to crops at a Ceres Community Project garden, beginning the farm-to-table experience.

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Mouth-Watering Images of Monthly Produce Make Eating In-Season a Work of Art

Eating locally and in season is good for the planet, your local economy, and your body. “Locavore” chefs in the best restaurants around the world are adapting their menus to appeal to this sustainable and in-style way of eating (as foods taste better when they are appropriately ripe), influencing the consumption patterns of thousands and therefore the future of our food systems. All around, consuming foods produced within a one hundred mile radius from where you eat is a responsible way to interact with your environment.

Now it’s easy on the eyes as well. Artists Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin have done it again: the duo that brought us Food Maps, a series of photographs depicting the crops produced region by region around the world, has produced a new series of stunning images entitled Food Scans.

August’s range of juicy tomatoes (credit: Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin)

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Reading for Change! Make an Impact With Waste-Free Kitchen: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money by Wasting Less Food by Dana Gunders

Change Food welcomes you to the launch of our Reading for Change series! Here, we will be sharing reviews of some of our favorite food and farming-centered books each month. We kick off today by introducing Waste-Free Kitchen: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money by Wasting Less Food by Dana Gunders. In this new release, the author, a Change Food friend, provides us with practical and easy-to-follow strategies as to how to reduce food waste within our own homes. You may have seen Dana’s work featured on Dr. Oz, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, NPR, and many more media outlets — now, this knowledge is readily available for your reading pleasure.

Author Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council

Author Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council

According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, where Gunders resides as a Staff Scientist, the average American throws out about 25% of all their purchased food and beverages. For a family of four, this ends up being between $1,365 and $2,275 in wasted food each year. Imagine not only the money, but the opportunity cost in time spent shopping, as well as the sheer volume in produce we could save on a macro level if every household were more informed on how to conserve their groceries.

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A Last Hurrah for TEDxManhattan

by Kelly Mertz for Change Food
September 29, 2015

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In today’s digital age, it is easier than ever to learn about any topic that peaks your interest. Thanks to dedicated, passionate professionals like our very own Change Food Founder, Diane Hatz, series like TEDxManhattan make educating ourselves all the more accessible. You may have heard of TED Talks – educational lectures featuring experts on just about anything, with the goal of sparking insightful conversations. They’ve gained popularity in recent years, self-describing themselves as “Ideas Worth Sharing.” TEDx events are TED sponsored, but independently organized, and can feature live speakers and pre-recorded TED Talk videos alike.

Beginning in 2011, TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” hosted speakers from around the world on topics ranging from hunger, to sustainable farming initiatives, to gastronomy and to the connection between art and food, and beyond. Word spread, and between 2011 and 2015, TEDxManhattan just kept growing– from an initial 50 viewing parties in its inaugural year to over 170 in 2015. Furthermore, its reach was able to expand past the stage, eventually including events like tours of farms in Upstate New York and cooking classes for children in New York City. Ken Cook, founder and president of the Environmental Group, put it this way: “This institution, TEDxManhattan, has changed the food movement.” Continue reading

A Happy Oyster Season: Revitalizing Ecosystems and Communities

by Kelly Mertz for Change Food                                                                                                   September 10, 2015

Photo Courtesy of Samuel Alves Rosa

Photo Courtesy of Samuel Alves Rosa

For most of us, the passing of Labor Day represents the end of summer—a last call for beach days, vacations, and sweet summer produce. However, when one door closes, another one opens. On land, September brings a lush harvest of figs, pears, apples, eggplants, beets, green beans, cucumber, and so forth. In the water, and on the shores of Long Island in particular, September means oyster season, which runs through March. The mineral-rich mollusks are beginning to fatten themselves up to prepare for the brisk Northeastern winter, making their edible flesh meatier, more flavorful, and ready to be harvested and eaten by shellfish lovers around the world.

Oysters are an integral part of the ecosystems of both the Long Island Sound and the Great South Bay, as they thrive on the hard sea floors and saltiness of these waters. As a main agricultural product of the region, oyster harvesting is a mainstay in the economies of Long Island’s coastal towns, begetting township names such as Oyster Bay. About 35 miles from New York City, Oyster Bay has been the home of the Oyster Festival since 1983, which last year drew a crowd of 215,000 people. So for the people, animals, and environment of Long Island, oysters are a big deal.

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A Make-Over for the Food Drive

by Brittney Edwards for Change Food                                                                                            September 2, 2015

August 15 2015 - Ralston Farm and other 256This month’s community connection in the Change Food network is Pat O’Neil, founder and CEO of Amp Your Good. Pat grew up in a small family restaurant business which doubled as their rural community’s informal soup kitchen.  His childhood lesson of the importance of getting high quality food to those facing tough times led to his development of Amp Your Good and crowd-feeding.

In celebration of Food Day 2015, Pat and Amp Your Good decided to give the tired, old food drive of canned and boxed donations a make-over.  Amp Your Good’s unique approach has reinvented this service from being strictly limited to non-perishable foods, into a food drive that accommodates and celebrates real food, calling it the REAL Food drive Campaign.

This campaign allows organizations to hold food drives that raise REAL Food as donations – fruits and vegetables, locally grown produce, whole meals, and other healthy foods. Organizations can set up and run their food drives directly through Amp Your Good’s crowd feeding website. Here people can purchase food to donate to their chosen organization, and Amp Your Good will deliver the food donations directly to the food pantry, shelter or soup kitchen the food drive is supporting. The method is simple for organizations and donors, while also enormously increasing the usual reach of food drives.

The implications of this new food drive go far beyond supporting food access and healthy food. Organizations hosting a REAL food drive will also know the food they’re donating is organic, locally grown, restaurant quality and other types of REAL food. The consequence of this is the REAL Food Drive supports other causes within the food movement, such as local farming, reducing food waste, and protecting the environment.

The REAL Food Drive Campaign will last from September 15th to November 25th with Food Day (October 24th) in the middle, giving everyone in the food movement a chance to share their love of food with those who need it most. To help spread the word and get more info, you can visit www.RealFoodDrive.org.
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Eating with Kids: Family Meals Matter

by Brittany Barton for Change Food
August 28, 2015

From the 2011 TEDx Manhattan event titled

From the 2011 TEDx Manhattan event titled “Changing The Way We Eat” held February 12, 2011 in NYC. Photo by Jason Houston.

As summer winds down, families gear up for the back to school routine. This means earlier mornings, shuttling kids to and from school, fitting in basketball practice, dance class, piano lessons, homework and time with friends. Each family is stretched for time and something critical is missing, family dinner.

August is Family Meals Month. In 2011, Laurie David presented at TEDxManhattan on the importance of healthy, family meals in a world where eating right has become increasingly difficult. The dinner table is where we learn our first lessons of civilized behavior. With kids spending more than seven hours per day on electronic devices, they are missing out on key lessons gleaned from human connection. Laurie mentions that entire families living under the same roof are leading separate lives under the influence of personal electronics.

Connected family time is moving toward extinction and children are suffering for it. Studies show a decreased risk in drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and depression when families share a meal at least three times per week.

The regular act of sitting down and eating together creates a safe, predictable time with ritualized access to one another. This is a time for real connection away from electronics where children learn values and manners. Continue reading

Celebrate the Peach!

August 22nd is National Eat a Peach Day. Each day of the calendar year is Nikiko_Masumoto_2015smlincreasingly being used to celebrate or to bring awareness to a variety of things: like Earth Day for major environmental issues, and World Breastfeeding Week for a critical international women’s right. In the food world, each day has also been selected for a food product; sometimes, even not-the-healthiest treats have their day. Today, healthful peaches are the stars.

At Change Food, peaches remind us of Nikiko Masumoto, a beginning, Asian-American peach farmer from the Central Valley of California. In March of 2015, she was a speaker at TEDxManhattan with her talk “Reigniting the Soul of Farming”. On stage, Nikiko delivered a powerful and inspiring account of her life as a farmer. In less than 15 minutes, she was able to transport viewers to her family’s famous farm, the Masumoto Family Farm, and inspire all her listeners to “remake our food system”. After watching her talk, it is impossible to eat a peach without appreciating not only the fruit’s juicy, sweet taste, but also the dedicated labor that farmers like her put in year-round to harvest and deliver healthy, flavorful peaches in the summer.

Nikiko_n_SRitz2015 copyLike most farmers in the Central Valley, Nikiko and her family are facing the challenge of growing produce in the face of a prolonged drought, and historically warmer temperatures. To help conserve water, the Masumotos decided to cut down on the irrigation of their peach orchards. The result so far has been both a blessing and a struggle: smaller peaches that are more flavorful.

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