Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History has officially opened its newest exhibit, Our Global Kitchen. The exhibition, which leads museum visitors on a meandering path from farm to fork, is a much-anticipated one for us at GRACE; the foundation lent support for the Growing and Transportation sections, as well as web and educational materials, so we were keen to get an early look. Read more
On Thursday, Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill signed an agreement to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program. Chipotle joins the ranks of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Whole Foods and Subway as the 11th company to join the Program, which improves working conditions for farmworkers in a few major ways. Not only does it provide a wage increase (the famous penny-a-pound) but it also includes a code of conduct that allows workers a voice in matters concerning health and safety, worker-to-worker trainings around the protections included under the code, a complaint resolution procedure that protects workers from retaliation and a third-party audit system to ensure compliance from growers. Read more
Recently, I attended an event at New York City’s famous James Beard House that took me back to Yellowstone National Park.
Around this time last summer, I was on a tour boat on Lake Yellowstone with my family, where we learned that lake trout, a non-native species introduced around 1995 (presumably by an angler), had grown extremely problematic for the ecosystem of the lake–in particular, for the prized cutthroat trout, which is easily preyed upon and out-competed by the larger lake trout. Read more
Like many of the women I admire most, Joan Gussow has a bit of an edge to her. One gets the impression that she doesn’t gladly suffer fools. But as an avid gardener and longtime professor of nutrition at Columbia University’s Teachers College, she is also a world-class nurturer and a mentor to many, including Michael Pollan, whose quote on the back of Joan’s latest book, Growing, Older, reads:
Once in a while, I think I’ve had an original thought, then I look and read around and realize Joan said it first.
Joan is also a practice in dichotomy–though she bemoans new media for its “misinformation pollution” and is known best for her expertise in that old-timey tradition of subsistence farming (though on an extremely small scale), she is also an unrepentantly radical thinker and the first person I ever heard speak coherently about nanotechnology. Read more
This weekend (Friday, February 19 through Monday, February 21) the University of Oregon at Eugene is hosting a Food Justice conference, where Civil Eats’ editor Naomi Starkman and I will join Friends of Family Farmers’ Megan Fehrman on a panel on New Media and Food Activism, moderated by Michelle Branch. (Those who can make it to Eugene, you should – it promises to be a fantastic event, with keynotes from Vandana Shiva and Fred Kirschenmann, a staged reading of the play Salmon is Everything, a First Foods/Indigenous food politics panel and a FOOD: Art Exhibition.) Read more
Two weeks ago, my coworker Karen and I left the office a little early and walked across Manhattan to the Trader Joe’s store in Chelsea, where a small group had gathered making signs and chatting. Among them were members of the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a grassroots group working to improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers. Over the course of about 45 minutes, dozens more people filled the sidewalk in front of the store, including labor activists from the Jewish Labor Committee, Just Harvest USA and the Farmworker Solidarity Alliance, as well as local youths and a handful of musicians from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.
Trader Joe’s, along with Publix, Kroger, and Dutch-held Ahold grocery chains (which include Giant, Stop & Shop, Martin’s and Peapod), are the most recent targets of CIW’s Fair Food Campaign. Over the last nine years the Coalition, together with partner organizations like the Student/Farmworker Alliance, has managed, through well-organized consumer campaigns and sometimes boycotts, to convince some of the food industry’s largest corporations (including Taco Bell/Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Subway, Whole Foods and Compass) to agree to the tenets of Fair Food: an extra penny a pound for tomatoes (nearly doubling the wages for pickers, who’ve not seen a raise since the mid-1970s), a labor Code of Conduct, greater transparency in the supply chain and incentives for growers that respect human rights. Read more