Start it Up: A Report from Food+Tech Connect’s Hack//Dining Hackathon

Last weekend, nearly 200 participants inhabited the Manhattan workshop space General Assembly for a weekend-long marathon of hacking solutions to the dilemmas facing dining today. Called Hack//Dining NYC, the event was the latest in the series of hackathons hosted by Food+Tech Connect, founded by Danielle Gould. Previous hackathons have focused on Meat (Hack / Meat) or the Farm Bill (Farm Bill Hackathon). Through these and other events, Food+Tech Connect has garnered a following from both the tech and food communities eager to find more advanced ways to address today’s food system challenges. Read more

Fresh Picks: Two Books Explore the Edible Wild

When I was in high school, a science teacher took questions from the room about what factors contributed to the demise of grass lawns. When someone raised a hand and said, “weeds,” she let out a shrill laugh and wrote on the chalkboard: “Weeds = Plants Where People Don’t Want Them.” Years later, attending an edible foraging tour of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with “Wildman” Steve Brill, I asked our guide why hedge mustard isn’t harvested wild like ramps in the spring. He didn’t so much as laugh, but let out a frustrated exclamation: “Because people don’t think of it as food.” Read more

More Than a CSA: Good Eggs Comes to Brooklyn

For the last few years, we’ve seen dozens of apps, Web stores, and online delivery services aiming to serve a single mission: Making local, responsibly-produced food more accessible and convenient. From farmers’ market finders to sustainability ratings, technology has proven to be a vast, unchartered playing ground for practical answers in the growing good food-aware consumer base. But the challenges–depending on the areas of distribution–are almost as diverse as the offerings that can be brought by these tools. Tackling one city at a time, the San Francisco-based company Good Eggs is placing its eggs on its software model for its newest target: Brooklyn.  Read more

Can Big Food Do Good? Report from the Food Book Fair’s Food Systems Panel

At a panel on food systems at the Food Book Fair in New York City last weekend, nutrition and food expert Marion Nestle proved a force with which to be reckoned. Her co-panelists included Jared Koch, founder of Clean Plates, and Nate Appleman, the celebrated chef who is currently head of the culinary team for Chipotle. The chain has been recognized for their efforts to serve locally-sourced and responsibly grown produce and meat, against the grain of the conventional food system. Moderator Evelyn Kim asked a question which dominated most of the discussion: Can big food corporations do good? Read more