Category Archives: Change Food

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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A Fond Farewell to TEDxManhattan

By Brittany Barton for Change Food

November 4, 2015

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Five years. 90 speakers. 7.2 million YouTube views. 494 viewing parties. 8 million people impacted. TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” resonated across the world and made great strides for an improved food system. The five influential one-day events held from 2011 to 2015 were a nationally-recognized brand and a sought-after platform for individuals and organizations doing innovative work in sustainable food and farming. It provided innovators with an opportunity to raise their profile and reach far beyond their existing audiences. TEDxManhattan has had a significant impact, acting as a catalyst for new opportunities, spurring media coverage of new projects and leading to dynamic partnerships.

After five years of significant successes, TEDxManhattan has officially retired and we bid it a fond farewell. The impact of each event will live on in the projects, collaborations and new events made possible by TEDxManhattan.

We wanted to take an opportunity to thank and honor all of the speakers, participants, viewing party organizers, sponsors, volunteers and all those who attended the event. TEDxManhattan was all of us combined.


THE CONNECTIONS

More than anything, TEDxManhattan was about the people. It was about the connections, collaborations and friendships the events made possible. The selected speakers were given an opportunity to present their project or idea to a captive audience and each person walked away with a community of champions ready to support them.

And for some it completely changed their lives. Some speakers were new to the food movement and had never been exposed to such a receptive audience. Veteran food activists were ready and willing to lend their expertise. Below we’ve highlighted only a few of the incredible partnerships made possible by TEDxManhattan.

Audience member Susan Haar organized the Harvard Food Law Conference that has led to students organizing regionally and in other groups. She says, “I really want to say it never would have happened without (Diane Hatz) and TEDxManhattan. In one day you completely woke me up to the possibility of changing the food system and the urgency to do so.” The Harvard conference energized everyone in attendance and next steps proposed by students are already in the works – including a website, an alumni network, sharing of administrative resources for starting a student food law society, sharing of ideas for topics of student notes, cross-network projects, and an annual meeting.

Susan was introduced to 2015 TEDxManhattan speaker, Michele Merkel, Co-director of Food & Water Justice and invited her to be the keynote speaker for the Harvard Food Law Conference. It gave Michele’s justice program great exposure and also a view into the future of the legal efforts in the food movement.

Michele’s 2015 TEDxManhattan talk, “Using the legal system to fight factory farms” spurred a Food & Water Watch alert, and over 13,000 people took action against the EPA, asking them to reinstate the rule to create an inventory of CAFOs. This occurred within days of her video release.  Continue reading

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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Eat Your Turkey and Save the Planet Too

By: Brittany Barton for Change Food
November 18, 2015

Family and friends are gathered around the table, ready to indulge in the Thanksgiving feast. The turkey is looking especially plump this year, and pies with intricate lattice-work line the dessert buffet. Vegetables are present too, although many are hiding in creamy casseroles. Thanksgiving is pinned as the ultimate food holiday, where we celebrate a bountiful harvest and eat one too many slices of pie. Since we are celebrating food, it is the perfect time to consider the effects our meal is having on our environment. What is the real cost of your Thanksgiving meal?

This Thanksgiving, have a meal that positively impacts the good food movement. We have an overwhelming number of choices in today’s food market and it’s the choice you make that will either make or break a healthy food system.

FOOD CHOICES

TEDxManhattan speaker Stefanie Sacks says, “Start to question the foods you choose for you and your loved ones.” Green bean casserole is a good example. This dish is traditionally made with canned green beans and canned soup. These two products are shipped hundreds or thousands of miles, made from non-organic sources and sealed in a BPA-lined can; translating to carbon pollution, pesticides and health risks associated from BPA.

Thanksgiving table photo by David Trainer courtesy of flickr

Thanksgiving table photo by David Trainer courtesy of flickr

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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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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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Reunited and It Feels So Good!

2015-06-21 07.07.32Steve Ritz, El Capitan of Green Bronx Machine stopped by Masumoto Family Farm to get a tour from fellow TEDxManhattan speaker Nikiko Masumoto.

Steve is a South Bronx educator who believes that students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn and earn a better one. A Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teach Prize and the 2015 TEDxManhattan Award recipient, Steve is now focusing his energy on building the National Health and Wellness Center at PS 55. Learn more about Steve and see his inspiring talk here.

Nikiko Masumoto is a farmer, artist and creator. Born in the Central Valley of California, Nikiko spent her childhood slurping over-ripe peaches on the Masumoto Family Farm where she still works to this day. Her passion for arts and activism is woven with her love of the land and dreams of a sustainable future. See her full talk that had the TEDxManhattan audience in tears here.

Masumoto Family FarmA very special thank you to Steve and Nikiko for sharing these breathtaking photos. Check out all of the photos here!

Facing Factory Farms Salon Recap

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On June 16th, 2015, Change Food reunited with TEDxManhattan 2015 speakers Michele Merkel of Food & Water Justice and Kendra Kimbirauskas of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project in New York City to host the Facing Factory Farms Salon. Joined by a diverse group of attendees, we sought to accomplish three goals:

  1. Generate actionable ideas on how to fight the growing presence of factory farming in the U.S.
  2. Discuss how to involve urban residents and students in fighting factory farming and other food issues.
  3. Use this Salon as a template for other interested individuals to create their own event around a food issue.

After showing Kendra and Michele’s talks, each speaker gave a brief update (below) on their work.

Despite Kendra Kimbirauskas’ work as an anti-factory farm organizer and the growing number of people increasing their involvement and education on the issue, factory farms continue to expand, affecting more and more communities . CAFOs dramatically degrade the land, and excessive waste and poor containment severely contaminate water sources. Further, AgGag laws make it illegal to take photos and document animal cruelty on CAFOs, making it difficult to expose factory farming practices.

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First Round of TEDxManhattan 2015 Speakers Announced

Union Square Hospitality Group CEO and Founder Danny Meyer, NYC Coalition Against Hunger Executive Director Joel Berg and Food Tank co-Founder and President Danielle Nierenberg are among those who will take the stage at TEDxManhattan, “Changing the Way We Eat,” on March 7, 2015, in New York City.   See the full list of confirmed speakers in the recent press release.

Offstage at TEDxManhattan: David Binkle

David Binkle, Director of Food Services at Los Angeles Unified School District, was interviewed offstage at TEDxManhattan 2014 about obstacles to changing the way kids eat.  Hear what he had to say, or watch his full talk.