Sometimes in some ways ‘silence is golden’ but especially in these times, breaking the norms of polite silence is essential. Stepping up, speaking out and breaking the silence is a public petition that Marion Nestle has pushed throughout her career as author, blogger, professor and respected influencer of food policy. She is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public health (emerita) at New York University, visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell and host of the Food Politics Blog. Marion sees that the Covid pandemic crisis reveals issues such as the fate of today’s packing plant workers that need to be engaged–breaking silence. The price paid for speaking up may include occasionally being trolled on Twitter as @marionnestle experiences, but that’s “just politics” to be endured for needed progress. www.foodpolitics.com
The global pandemic crisis is an important reminder of just how essential are the farmers and workers at every stage, all the way from Farm to Table. Fortunately these “essential” members of the food system are also resilient, able to adjust quickly to difficult conditions. Their stories and examples of the food system’s resilience are being shared on Civil Eats and in this episode of Farm To Table Talk, in a conversation with the visionary Founder and Editor in Chief of Civil Eats, Naomi Starkman. www.CivilEats.com
Farmers want to do the best they can. That can mean much more than just better yields and better prices for their commodity to include social and environmental impacts. It’s not just altruistic to do the right things for the land, farm workers and the environment, since food manufacturers and retailers want to source from farms they can highlight to their own increasingly discerning customers. Woolf Farming has been going down this road for years and has recently found another way to step up their commitment by becoming a “B Corp”. B stands for social and environmental benefits. Stuart Woolf explains that adding the effort and expense of incorporating B Corp standards into their family company keeps them on the preferred supplier list for their own customers who are setting similar standards for themselves. It’s not just “greenwashing” as detractors might claim, but for the Woolf’s it is an earnest commitment to do the right thing and increase the odds that the farm will still be thriving 100 years from now. www.woolffarming.com
Tomato Products Wellness Council is a Farm To Table Talk sponsor, www.tomatowellness.com
Can organic farming be a solution to our toughest challenges? The California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) contend that it is and they have research from over 300 scientific studies to back up that claim, in a “Roadmap to an Organic California”. Rebekah Weber, Policy Director of CCOF says Organic systems sequester carbon, stimulate local economies and protect consumer health. Listen to the podcast conversation then: Read the Benefits Report online. Download a PDF of the Policy Report.
In these days some want to become farmers and some farmers are grateful if they can just stay afloat. Yet over the long haul farmers are growers so they grow food and they often need to grow their own business either horizontally (with more land) or vertically moving upstream to the ultimate consumers. Matt Billings is a 4th generation almond farmer in Kern County California who has put their boat in the vertical stream. They grow, process, market and export almonds. Now they have created and are marketing an organic almond milk yogurt, AYO. It’s a big step for farmers and ranchers to move up stream, but for many it’s the only way they are going to earn a better share of the consumers food dollar. When travel is again possible, Matt will take their AYO almond milk yogurt and their farm story to retailers–wearing his old farm boots in case they overlook that while he is there to sell almond milk yogurt, he is a proud, authentic ‘farm-to-spoon’ farmer. www.ayoyogurt.com
The pandemic of 2020 portends a world of food insecurity, unless it leads to farming and food distribution innovations putting consumers in closer communications with a wider variety of new small-scale farmers to compliment re-focused traditional agriculture. Coming from the crisis can be “gardens of eden” reducing hunger and poverty with just abundance of food and viable farmers. transforming communities as they support their own families and spark economic growth in rural America. Heifer USA a non-profit farm in the Oauachita Mountains of Arkansas, is providing hands on learning and accecess to livestock and horticulture experts to farmers in the Mid South and across the US to grow regenerative farming enterprises. Donna Kilpatrick is the Ranch Manager and Land Steward of Heifer Ranch. She explains how to pursue a regenerative mission and what’s at stake when the world could run out of adequate farm land in 50 or 60 years. An important partner in solving today’s marketing challenge for small scale farmers is the Grass Roots Cooperative that processes and delivers meat from the member farmers through an E-commerce platform. It’s a creation of new players and new solutions for the persistent problems of food safety, security, justice, taste and economic viability.
https://www.heifer.org/about-us/our-history/index.html | https://www.facebook.com/heiferinternational/ www.instagram.com/heiferusa www.grassrootscoop.com/
Being successful at farming is hard enough without a Pandemic. Now on top of the regular challenges of planning, planting, growing, watering, harvesting and marketing crops, farmers today have to take extra steps to keep their family and workforce safe from the Covid-19 virus. Aaron Barcellos, partner in the family farm, A-Bar Ag Enterprise, knows that in addition to providing gloves, masks, staggered schedules and equipment modifications for protective barriers, the farm team still must be safe both at the farm and in their time away from the farm so they don’t catch and spread the virus. Cropping plans have also been disrupted as exports have dried up and food service has almost disappeared. Through all of this it is more important than ever to acknowledge food security and to care about how and where are food is grown.
What are we really hungry for? In Hungry, Eve Turow-Paul guides us through today’s global food and lifestyle culture and looks at the connections between top trends, how we find well-being, the impacts of the Digital Age and the COVID-19 Pandemic. How isthe Digital Age redefining people’s needs and desires? How does “foodie” culture, along with other lifestyle trends, provide an answer to our rising rates of stress, loneliness, anxiety, and depression? Why do so many wish they were farmers? An author, mother and thought leader on the food system, Eve Turow-Paul explains these trends and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to food, people and culture in her new book, Hungry and with Farm To Table Talk. www.eveturowpaul.com
“Left a good job in the City” is a familiar refrain to listeners of Farm To Table Talk. When a Pediatrician in Chicago moves to Vermont to start a grass fed beef farm, it’s a new verse to that song. Dr. Sheila Patinkin, runs a Wagyu cattle farm in Vermont where she sells to Michelin star restaurants, local steakhouses, pubs and ski resorts and – increasingly due to the pandemic demolishing most of those businesses – directly to the consumer via her year old online platform. She is a former doctor with a background in genetics who has spent a decade plus dedicated to growing and bettering the Wagyu beef cattle breed in the US. Her journey transcends medicine to running a 1790s Vermont Farm, focusing on genetics and the new frontier of high end marbling and selling Wagyu to breeders, restaurants and direct to consumers (with maple syrup on the side). Wagyu is an old breed of cattle and being raised by a new breed of E Farmers. Max Patinkin in San Francisco joins his Mom, Dr. Sheila Pantinkin in Vermont to take us down this important new road between consumers and the modern old farm.
The pandemic of 2020 has led to the closing of most restaurants, except for carry out and delivery. We do what we have to do, but we miss our favorite restaurants. Like most other restaurants Farm To Fork Restauant, Mulvaneys B&L had to close their doors and lay off their staff. Unlike most restaurants they almost immediately started looking for ways they could get back to what they do best, supporting local farmers and making meals for the public— especially for the needy, senior shut ins and school age kids who were missing meals because their school closed. Along with other like-minded leading Chefs they decided to get back in the kitchen and prepare meals for those most in need — creating “Family Meal”, a chef-driven initiative to mobilize restaurants as micro-commissaries to create meals for people in need. In a depressed restaurant industry, their action is encouraging. To share how they are again making family meals and making a difference in their community, we have table talk with Chef Patrick Mulvaney. To everyone who’s asks, “How can I help?” You can click here to donate to the Family Meal Initiative: https://bit.ly/2xzvOpY Every $20 raised through this campaign pays for one “Meal Kit” designed to feed up to four people or feed one person for up to four days. #saverestaurants #familymeals #SacramentoProud #SacramentoStrong