Tag Archives: organic food

TEDxManhattan Speaker Profile: Gary Hirshberg


Gary Hirshberg

As TEDxManhattan approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to introduce themselves by answering a few questions.  Today we feature Gary Hirshberg, Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer.

1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?

The case for mandatory federal labelling of genetically engineered foods.

2) Why do you feel this is important? 

The U.S. is alone among 61 countries including all of our major trading partners, the entire EU, Japan, Russia and even China in not mandating labelling of these new patented crops and ingredients. And yet in the twenty years since the FDA, under pressure from the chemical companies who own these patents, adopted voluntary guidelines that preclude such mandatory labelling, numerous health, economic and ecologic concerns have arisen from their increased usage. Mandatory labelling is the only means of enabling consumers to know whether they are purchasing and using these ingredients and to choose whether or not they wish to support and consume these products.  Polls show that over 91% of consumers, crossing all demographic and partisan lines, want to know.

3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now? 

Over the 30 years of growing my business from a humble start-up, I have experienced first-hand the economic and ecologic benefits of organic food production for all stakeholders.  Since stepping down as CEO of my company I have been actively involved in educating large numbers of citizens about these benefits and have been deeply engaged in trying to create a level playing field for governmental support of organic production.

4) Which other TEDxManhattan speakers are you excited about hearing?

Ann Cooper, Anna Lappé, Peter Lehner

5) Where can more information about your project be found?

JustLabelIt.org and Stonyfield.com

Gary Hirshberg is Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and Managing Director of Stonyfield Europe, with organic brands in Ireland, and France. Gary serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards including Applegate Farms, Honest Tea, Peak Organic Brewing, Late July, The Full Yield, SweetGreen, RAMp Sports, Glenisk, the Danone Communities Fund and the Danone Livelihoods Fund. He is the Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Chelsea’s Table Cafés, a natural and organic fast casual restaurant firm. In 2011, President Obama appointed Gary to serve on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. He is a Co-Chair of AGree, an agricultural policy initiative formed by the Ford, Gates, Kellogg, Rockefeller, Walton and other leading foundations. He is Chairman and a founding Partner of Just Label It, We Have the Right to Know, the national campaign to label genetically engineered foods, and is co-author of Label It Now – What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Foods. He is the author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World.
Gary has received nine honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA.

Previously, he was the Founder of Climate Counts, Director of the Rural Education Center, the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned and Executive Director of The New Alchemy Institute – a research and education center dedicated to organic farming, aquaculture, and renewable energy. Before that he was a water-pumping windmill specialist and an environmental education director with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He has also authored books on wind-power and organic gardening.

Change Food is a nonprofit whose mission is to connect and transform the food we eat, the people who produce it, and the world in which it is grown. To read and learn more, visit The Guide to Good Food blog. 

Celebrate Food Day with Dinner and Some Ed!

The Glynwood Institute’s Dinner and Some Ed
Are you looking for something to do for Food Day on October 24th?  How about joining The Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming at a potluck on the Glynwood Farm in Cold Spring, New York, from 6:00 – 9:00pm or hosting your own Dinner and Some Ed?

What is Dinner and Some Ed?
Dinner and Some Ed is an effort to raise awareness, and enjoyment, of local, sustainable food.  All you need to do is host a meal made from local, sustainable ingredients and show a few videos related to food and farming.  We recommend TED and TEDx videos, especially TEDxManhattan videos.

The dinner can be potluck style, where friends and family participate in making the meal by bringing one dish or beverage; the host can prepare the meal, or you could do a combination of the two.

You are not confined to dinner – your event could be a lunch, brunch, picnic, or breakfast.  The key is to have a computer or mobile device where you can watch the talks and delicious sustainable food to share with friends.

Why Host Dinner and Some Ed?
Like most dinner parties, there will be good friends, good food, and stimulating conversation.  What makes Dinner and Some Ed different is the video talk can serve as a catalyst for conversation, leading to the sharing of ideas and knowledge.

Radical changes in agricultural practices have contributed to climate change, air, water and soil pollution, abuse of antibiotics, animal cruelty, and widespread obesity.  Serving sustainable food is a way to examine these problems and possible solutions.

And the food simply tastes better!

What To Do
Use your imagination when creating your dinner.  Some suggestions include:

  • Choose four talks and watch one before sitting down to each course.  You can have a bit of fun matching the talk with the course by incorporating some aspect of the talk into your ingredient selection.  Over each course you and your guests can discuss the talks or your experience finding the ingredients and preparing the food.  Encourage your guests to make their dish with ingredients from their local farmers market.  Have them share which farms they bought their food from.
  • Encourage your guests to buy meat, cheese, milk, or eggs that are either certified organic, humanely raised, or antibiotic free.
  • Challenge your guests to make a meal from only local ingredients (sourced within 200 miles from where they live).  Ask them to bring the recipe to their dish along with where they sourced the food.  Give a prize to the dish with the most locally sourced ingredients or the ingredient sourced from the closest place.
  • Ask your guests to come with their favorite video and let them host that particular part of the meal and the video.  Have them explain why they chose that particular talk.
  • Take your guests to a farmers market and have them split up into four groups.  Give each group a certain amount of money, e.g., $20, and tell them to buy ingredients for a particular course.  The groups will then cook their part of the meal together and present to the rest of the guests.  Make it even more fun and ask them to name their dish also!

After your meal, post up a review of your event on the Dinner and Some Ed site.

Happy Food Day!

Change Food is a nonprofit whose mission is to connect and transform the food we eat, the people who produce it, and the world in which it is grown. To read and learn more, visit The Guide to Good Food blog. 

Shop Sustainable – Finding Food

When shopping for local, sustainable and/or organic food, there are several factors to take into account, including awareness, access, budget and time.

First, you need to know what to look for and to understand what local, sustainable and organic mean. Hopefully, the earlier Guide to Good Food posts have helped explain this.

In an ideal world, shopping sustainably would simply be a matter of learning about the issues and then finding your closest farmers’ market or local sustainable farm. But in reality, things aren’t always that simple. Once you’re aware of the issues and what the terms mean, and you’re motivated to buy sustainable food, you still have to go out and actually get it. And that can be challenging for some.

You need to find places to buy local sustainable food. As we mentioned last week, you can look for food in your millcityregular grocery store, a farmers’ market, you can join a CSA or food buying club, or you can shop at a co-operative or health food store.

Aside from your regular grocery store, how do you find these places? First, look in the Eat Well Guide, www.eatwellguide.org, where all you have to do is enter your zip code to find great tasting food in your area. In addition, you can also try Local Harvest, www.localharvest.org, for the similar information, as well as for reviews. If you’ve tried both of these guides but didn’t find anything close to you, don’t give up! Try looking in your local yellow pages (printed or online) under “health food” to find both stores and co-operative groceries.

Health food stores and co-ops are also a good place to find information on local farmers’ markets, CSAs, and food buying clubs, so don’t be afraid to stop by one and ask questions. You also might find some great food while you’re there! Many health food stores and co-ops also have bulletin boards for the public to post information, so make sure to check for one to see what other food-related events and programs are going on in your area.

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