“The difference between you and the hungry is not production levels; it’s money. There are no hungry people with money; there isn’t a shortage of food, nor is there a distribution problem. There is an I-don’t-have-the-land-and-resources-to-produce-my-own-food, nor-can-I-afford-to-buy-food problem.”
– Mark Bittman
Last week the NY Times hosted a major conference at Stone Barns Center for Agriculture: NY Times Food For Tomorrow. The focus of the gathering was to discuss two major issues: how to feed a growing population of the world’s poor and how to reverse poor eating habits in the developed world. Over the course of 2 days, a number of academics, journalists, food advocates, company executives, chefs and farmers convened to take part in various panel discussions, presentations and networking events. Topics included “Can Sustainable Scale — and How?”, “What to Do About Food Loss and Food Waste”, “How Can World Leaders Be Convinced to Change the Food System?” and “The Role of the Chef Outside the Kitchen”.
Some of the speakers were:
Sam Kass (Executive Director, Let’s Move)
Michael Pollan (Author/Professor of Journalism, UC Berkeley)
Marion Nestle (Professor of Nutrition, NYU)
Mario Batali (Chef, Del Posto, NYC)
Danielle Nierenberg (President, Food Tank)
Raj Patel (Activist, Author of Stuffed and Starved)
Doug Rauch (Founder of Daily Table and CEO of Conscious Capitalism)
Seth Watkins (Owner, Pinhook Farm)
Jack Sinclair (Executive VP, Grocery Divion, Walmart Stores)
Mark Bittman (Opinion and Food Columnist, NY Times)
When the list of speakers was first announced in early October, there was some criticism as there were no farmers included, however the list was expanded a few weeks later to rectify people’s concerns.
Overall, the event attracted a lot of media and especially social media attention. I know I was a little overwhelmed with the volume of tweets showing up with the hashtag #NYTFFT. Civil Eats (@civileats), Danielle Nierenberg (@food_tank, @DaniNierenberg), Edible Manhattan (@EdibleManhattan) and Stone Barns (@StoneBarns) were fascinating and informative feeds to follow.
If you missed out on the live action, full recordings of each session are now available on the conference website.
One of the videos I would highly recommend watching is the Mark Bittman Opening Keynote speech for the first day of the conference: How to Change the Food System and Feed the Nine Billion. You can also read his Op-Ed “Don’t Ask How to Feed the 9 Billion” in last week’s NY Times.
Thought provoking information for the very real issues the world is currently facing with food access and food security.
“The recipe for sustainable agriculture isn’t growth and scale but knowledge and innovation”
– Danielle Nierenberg